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Editorial: A good year for Holiday Fund

 

Total contributions to the Almanac's Holiday Fund were $138,678 this year, up slightly from 2009 and a solid show of support from Almanac readers, despite the recession that continues to grip the region.

Perhaps reflecting the economic trend, the number of donors slipped this year to 189 from over 200 last year, although total contributions were up, helped by a larger gift from the Rotary Club of Menlo Park.

The funds will be dispersed equally to 10 local nonprofit agencies that feed the hungry and house the homeless, as well as provide assistance in many other ways. Each agency will receive a $13,867 check from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, to be used to fulfill their mission.

The Holiday Fund, in its 18th year, continues to receive generous donations from the Hewlett, Packard and Rotary Club of Menlo Park foundations, which together contributed $42,893 this year. Assistance from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes it possible for every dollar contributed to the Holiday Fund to be passed directly to the nonprofit agencies. No fees or other charges are taken out by the Almanac or the foundation.

Here are the nonprofit agencies that will receive checks for $13,867.81 this year:

Bold>Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

Provides after-school academic support and enrichment activities for 1,000 youth each day, ages 6 to 18. Operates clubhouses in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood, East Palo Alto and Redwood City, and after-school programs at schools in these communities designed to extend the learning day and supplement the school's curriculum.

Ecumenical Hunger Program

Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, special children's programs and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 1,500 households.

Ravenswood Family Health Center

Provides primary medical care, behavioral health services 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 22,700 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured.

St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room

Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week in a social and friendly atmosphere to anyone in need. Funded entirely by contributions from the community, St. Anthony's is the largest soup kitchen between San Francisco and San Jose. It offers groceries to take home and distributes clothing to families.

Second Harvest Food Bank

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed nearly 46 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to more than 231,000 people each month through more than 700 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Shelter Network

Provides short-term shelter and transitional housing services to more than 3,700 adults and children each year. Offers programs for families and individuals to become self-sufficient and return to permanent housing.

Youth and Family Enrichment Services

Provides many 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.

Project Read-Menlo Park

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 volunteer tutors assisted more than 300 students.

The Art of Yoga Project

Offers incarcerated teenage girls a rehabilitation program of yoga and creative arts to instill greater self-awareness, self-respect and self-control. The project serves over 500 girls annually at four local sites, including San Mateo County's juvenile detention centers.

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 some 2,000 people each month with such services as low-income housing, food and clothing, shower and laundry, counseling, community garden, and education.

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