Holiday Spirit

A rendering of the new Mountain View shelter. Courtesy LifeMoves.

Posted December 24, 2020

LifeMoves assists unhoused students and their families

by Nacole Barth-Ellis

It's easy to label 2020 a year to forget, with nothing but heartbreak and hardship. But things are growing more positive with each day for Heilala and her family. She and her six family members were living in one bedroom of a friend's home. When the friend decided to sell the house, Heilala, a high school senior, and her family became homeless.

Heilala said having a roof over their heads, "a home" at Haven Family House in Menlo Park, was life-changing, especially when the family was forced to quarantine for 14 days due to COVID-19. But being homeless significantly impacted her school performance. Heilala said she didn't confide with her classmates about her living situation, but did share with her teachers and school counselors about the challenges she and her family were facing. "I struggled a lot with balancing my own needs, my family, and school. My only focus was on the fact that we were homeless. I lacked the motivation to even try at school and so I fell behind," Heilala admitted.

COVID-19 has increased anxiety among both our oldest and youngest LifeMoves clients. Moving to a remote learning format while adhering to social distance protocols has required creative solutions to ensure students are not left behind academically. Many parents are struggling with how to help their children who are learning remotely, and it's especially challenging for students who have special needs or if there is a language barrier. All LifeMoves family shelters have Children's Services Coordinators (CSCs), who are essentially case managers for the children in our shelters. Since the shelter-in-place order was mandated in March, our CSCs have been providing extra services to ensure all school-aged children in our shelters have everything they need for remote learning.

Students at all six LifeMoves family shelters have personal computers and improved internet access for remote learning. With many children from the same family often taking classes at the same time, headphones are critically important to focus on individual lessons. Common spaces at LifeMoves shelters have been repurposed to accommodate student learners on-site.

LifeMoves is one of the beneficiaries of The Almanac's Holiday Fund. Because The Almanac and its partner the Silicon Valley Community Foundation cover all the administrative costs, every dollar raised goes directly to this year's 10 nonprofit organizations. Donations to the Holiday Fund can be made at almanacnews.com/holiday_fund.

Heilala attributes the unwavering support her family found at Haven Family House with helping her graduate from a local high school this spring, though she was sad not have been able to participate in a traditional graduation ceremony. On the advice of her CSC, Heilala is continuing her education at College of San Mateo.

She credits the encouragement she received from the CSCs and LifeMoves' student therapist for helping her persevere. "Once confused, scared and alone, I now feel more comfortable, grateful, well-supported and willing to pay it all forward," Heilala said.

LifeMoves plans to help even more families like Heilala's in 2021. A new shelter in Mountain View is slated to open later this winter and will serve 12 families and 88 individuals. The first new shelter in Santa Clara County in many years, the space will provide 10 times the number of year-round shelter beds available in Mountain View. For more information on this project, visit lifemoves.org/homekey.

LifeMoves' mission, since 1987, has been to provide interim housing and supportive services for homeless families and individuals to rapidly return to stable housing and self-sufficiency. Over the course of a year, we provide food, clothing, customized case management, and 240,000 nights of shelter all provided at no charge to our clients. On any given night, we house more than 1,200 individuals, about one-third of whom are children.

LifeMoves operates 24 shelters and service sites within San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. To learn more about LifeMoves, visit lifemoves.org or call 650-685-5880.

Make a donation
2021 Recipient Agency

Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula
Provides after-school academic support, enrichment, and mentoring for 1,800 low-income K-12 youth at nine locations across Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City.

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.

Health Connected
Serves over 5,000 students and their families each year through comprehensive sexual health education programs. Students learn to have ongoing communication with parents and to make informed decisions that will apply to their lives, now and in the future.

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

Literacy Partners
Supports literacy programs and projects through fundraising and community awareness. Helps community members enhance their reading, writing and related skills and education to improve their economic, professional and personal wellbeing.

Ravenswood Family Health Center
Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinic in East Palo Alto. Of the more than 17,000 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 by voluntary contributions and community grants, St. Anthony's is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers take-home bags of food, as well as emergency food and clothing assistance.

St. Francis Center
Helps low-income, working families become self-supporting members of the community by providing long-term solutions through educational programs for children and parents, as well as after-school programing at Siena Youth Centers. St. Francis Center also provides housing, food and clothing services to address short-term needs.

StarVista
Serves more than 32,000 people throughout San Mateo County, including children, young people and families, with counseling, prevention, early intervention, education, and residential programs. StarVista also provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services including a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline, an alcohol and drug helpline, and a parent support hotline.

Upward Scholars
Upward Scholars empowers low-income adults by providing them with financial support, tutoring, and other assistance so they can continue their education, get higher-paying jobs, and serve as role models and advocates for their children.


As of Jan. 12, 2020
170 donors have contributed $261,427
to the Almanac Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld

26 Anonymous131,473
Paul Welander50
Jim Lewis*
James E. Esposto*
Dorothy Saxe*
Roger & Pat Witte200
Sybille Katz*
Erika L Crowley*
Mark and Karen Weitzel*
Barbara Jacobson150
Bruce Whitson200
Vicky Rundorff*
Michael & Lenore Roberts150
Robert & Barbara Simpson*
Dorothy Kennedy*
Andrea G. Julian500
Kathy & Bob Mueller100
George & Mary Norbeck50
Jerry & Shirley Carlson250
Lorraine Macchello100
Lucy Reid-Krensky200
Penny & Greg Gallo500
Jaggers Family5,000
Gisela Brugger1,000
Douglas Adams*
Ronald Clazie50
Richard Duda200
Dan Hilberman100
Marcia Makino & Rod Perkins*
Betsy & Horace Nash500
Douglas Keare Jr. & Jill Morgan1,500
Ross & Elizabeth McDougall300
Paul Perret500
Bob Williams & Carol Mayer Marshall500
Joan Lane1,000
George Mader100
Shirley & John Reiter300
Eliot & Cris Terborgh*
Bob & Barbara Ells500
Joe & Julie Zier150
Kathy & Smith McKeithen*
Bill & Nancy Ellsworth*
Diane & Dave Toole100
Leon & Abby Campbell100
Robert Mullen250
Marc & Mary Ann Saunders*
Ann Hillman1,000
Barbara Kinsey300
Claiborne Jones200
D. Robin Toews25
John Woods500
Valerie Van Sickle100
Joyce Pharriss500
Mary Pless500
Susan Russell100
Robin Ferris25
Deborah Hage10
Bill Wohler419
Mary Cooper125
Susan Kritzik250
Richard Thesing1,000
Jim Sharp100
Karen Alden350
Marieanne Cullen50
Sally Freyberg200
Catherine Siegel300
Carolyn Davis100
Joan Rubin100
Kayleen Miller100
Betty Meissner200
Sid Chen & Sandra Lee Chen*
Heather Watson100
Kathy & Bob Feldman200
Katherine Bryant*
Clay & Nita Judd*
E.R. & B.L. Dodd150
Robert & Connie Loarie*
John A. Galen100
Bob & Mary Dodge200
Catherine A Cerny*
Bob & Marna Page*
Diane & Martin Brandt500
Timothy C. Wright3,000
Laura Hofstadter & Leonard Shar500
Mayling Dixon100
Sandy Shapero500
John Donald100
Sue-Viole Mcmahon-Bishop75
Peter Rudd50
Dorothy Fuller-Polash500
William & Patricia Critzer1,000
Leslie Airola & Hy Murveit500
Avilla Family 60
Don Lowry & Lynore Tillim100
Margaret Melaney300
Sabelman Family250
Tate Family10,000
Terri D. Bullock Family5,000
Kevin Novak & Hannah Gilula1,000
Betsy & Frank Stockdale500
Connie & Bob Lurie*
Liz McDougall300
Margaret & Jamis MacNiven100
Allison Butler & Richard Peers2,000
The Brennan Family500
Barbara & Bill Binder*
Cynthia Dusel-Bacon & Charles Bacon200
Donald Kirtley150
George Fisher500
Jeffrey & Diane Garver1,000
Hannah Sowerwine100
Barbara Fullerton200
Janet Cook500
Mendelsohn Family10,000
Jelani Kejon200
Lynne Fovinci100
Bruce & Ann Willard1,000
Melanie Austin*
The Frank Sammanns50
Nancy Federspiel600
David Reneau100
Linda Craig250
David Dickinson1,000
Kathryn Stivers1,000
Gail & Susan Prickett500
Don & Catherine Coluzzi*
Noble & Lorraine Hancock500
Carol A. Kemper200
Kenneth Ashford180
Elizabeth Bosman100
In Memory Of

Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard100
Annie Strem*
Scott Carey1,000
Robert Oliver*
Bill Land*
Jean Zonner100
Frank & Celine Halet500
In Honor Of

Nancy Stevens*
Mar & PoPo Russ*
Businesses & Organizations

Menlo Park Firefighters' Association500
Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation10,000
Griffin & Sons Construction150
Narrative Histories200
Hewlett Foundation8,750
Packard Foundation15,000


Changes or corrections to listings may be made by contacting Kali Shiloh at [email protected]