Holiday Fund: Helping families in need | December 19, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - December 19, 2012

Holiday Fund: Helping families in need

Gifts to the Almanac's Holiday Fund benefit the St. Francis Center and nine other community organizations.

By Sue Mitchell, board member, St. Francis Center.

The St. Francis Center in Redwood City is a nonprofit organization helping families in need to live in dignity and become self-supporting members of the community. Since 1986, the Center has provided women and children with a hospitable place to receive support and guidance. Our original food and clothing program has grown to include immigration services, laundry and shower facilities, fresh produce from our community garden, 32 low-income housing units, and personal counseling.

The St. Francis Center is proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our Siena Youth Center. Our new neighborhood gym offers after-school tutoring and mentorship to the at-risk kids in our community. Led by Program Director Rafael Avendano, the youth engage in healthy activities such as soccer, flag football, basketball, volleyball and fitness training, as well as field trips, nutritious cooking classes, and Sheriff's league sponsored activities.

The Siena Youth Center has been host to community seminars regarding the Dreamer's Act. And, yes, we offer adult Zumba classes.

Serving the poor takes many hands. Our 122 volunteers help bag groceries, stock shelves, sort and hang clothes, organize our clothing "store," tutor our Holy Family School students, and teach ESL and GED curriculum to adults. We couldn't survive without the support of these warm, giving people ... people like you.

With more than 2,600 people to feed, and 25,000 bags of clothing to re-home each year, the St. Francis Center is especially grateful to the many organizations and individuals who donated Thanksgiving turkeys to the 900 families we served in November alone.

The St. Francis Center is gearing up for our annual Holiday Toy Program, to be held at the Siena Youth Center on Dec. 18 and 19.. Five hundred low-income families will receive brand new toys and accessories including dolls, trucks, hair accessories, scarves and mittens, make-up, sporting goods, pajamas, electronics and more. That equates to a daunting 2,500 items, made even more challenging as our largest donor is unable to support our program this year — a 1,200 toy deficit! Please consider dropping off a toy donation to the Center this holiday season.

The St. Francis Center and the Siena Youth Center look forward to serving our community once again in 2013 with "Compassion ... not Judgment." The St. Francis Center is located at 151 Buckingham Ave. in Redwood City. Please call us at (650) 365-7829, or email us at

Visit for more information. Blessings to you and your family.


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