Almanac

Viewpoint - February 13, 2013

Editorial: Holiday Fund shines on 20th year

As they have for the last 20 years, residents of the Almanac's circulation area opened their hearts and their bank accounts and contributed over $100,000 to the Holiday Fund.

More than 100 donors, including the Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation contributed a total of $162,537, which means each nonprofit agency will receive $16,253.

Started in 1993 with the idea of helping to support the numerous nonprofit agencies in the community, the Holiday Fund has raised more than $3 million over the last 20 years to fund programs that help local residents who are down on their luck.

The Holiday Fund is grateful for the longstanding support of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which processes all donations and writes the checks that will be presented to the nonprofit agencies at a small ceremony later this month. No fees or other charges are taken out by the Almanac or the foundation, so that every dollar contributed goes directly to the recipient agencies that work for our community. Here are the nonprofits that each will receive a check for $16,253:

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

Provides after-school and academic support and activities for 3,200 young people, 6 to 18, at clubhouses in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City, and offers programs at Flood and Belle Haven schools in Menlo Park, Hoover Community School in Redwood City, and McNair School in East Palo Alto.

Ecumenical Hunger Program

Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 2,000 households.

Project Read

Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one-on-one or in small groups to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work and in the community. In 2007-08, a total of 120 tutors assisted more than 300 students.

St. Francis Center

Provides services for families in need with the goal of helping them to live in dignity and become self-supporting community members. The center assists 2,400 people each month with such services as low-income housing, food and clothing, shower and laundry, counseling, community garden, and education.

Ravenswood Family Health Center

Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. It also operates a mobile clinic at school sites. Of the 16,500 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured, and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room

Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week to people in need who walk through the doors. Funded entirely by voluntary contributions, St. Anthony's is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers emergency food and clothing assistance.

Second Harvest Food Bank

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 30 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to some 162,000 people each month through more than 700 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

InnVision Shelter Network

Provides shelter/housing and supportive services across 18 sites in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula. Serves thousands of homeless families and individuals annually on their path back to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

JobTrain

Provides training and job placement for people with the biggest problems, including returning parolees, long-term unemployed, homeless, welfare clients, marginalized youth, and those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

StarVista (formerly Youth and Family Enrichment Services)

Provides 22 programs to help people who struggle with substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health, and relationship and communications issues. Helps strengthen youth, families, and individuals to overcome challenges through counseling, education, and residential services.

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