Archive for February, 2009
by Doug Huggala
by Alina Trowbridge
You’ve run out of ideas. You’ve run out of time. You have time to shop, but not time to think. Is there such a thing as knowing someone too long? Relationships grow richer as years pass, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to presents.
Your idealistic friend, family member, honorary aunt or uncle may appreciate a a gift to St. Anthony Foundation in his or her honor. We’ve just had beautiful new cards designed; they open up almost like a present.
Does your loved one live or have they ever lived in San Francisco? Do they worry about poor people, hungry people, underfunded veterans, seniors alone in the world? Are they thinking of someone struggling with an addiction or a psychiatric disability?
A gift to St. Anthony’s may have more meaning for them than anything you can find in a store.
It’s simple. Make a donation by mail or on line. Include the name and address of the person being honored and the occasion you’re honoring: birthday, graduation, anniversary. You get a letter acknowledging your gift. Your loved one gets the card shown here, informing them that you’ve give a gift on the occasion they are celebrating.
Money can’t buy love, but love can transform money into health, hope, and human dignity. And that can transform lives.
by Matt Eggers
This month St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic joined the ranks of some of the leading healthcare innovators in the country by going paperless. A transition several years in the works, the Clinic finally made the dramatic leap from old-school paper records to a new fully electronic medical records system. The new system won’t just save space, it will revolutionize the way we care for our uninsured poor and homeless patients.
With less of an administrative burden, doctors will now have more time to provide direct care. Quality of care will improve, as the new system includes immediate access to information that helps doctors make accurate clinical decisions, at the point of care. And, we are now able to share important patient data across the citywide network of health clinics and hospitals in real-time, which will improve care for patients who move often and seek care from multiple sites.
The new electronic medical records system couldn’t have come to fruition at a better time, as in our new facility we are poised to offer more patient visits than ever. I’m anticipating that these exciting innovations will help us meet the challenge of not only caring for more patients, but providing the best possible care to those most in need.
I went thrift shopping for a coat this weekend, and ended up with 2 track jackets. The store reminded me of St. Anthony’s clothing and housewares program, where clients can get free warm clothing in a store like environment, and be treated with respect.
But what I should have bought was a hoodie. Hoodies are great, they are comfortable and comforting and these days come in all kinds of fly designs, and when it gets cold you can pull the hood over your head and keep your neck and ears warm. Maybe thats why St. Francis’ habit had a hoodie. Thats why our guests appreciated the hoodies that The Hoodie People collected for St. Anthony’s during their holiday drive. And thats why we appreciate The Hoodie People.
Over the last 9 years, the St. Anthony Dining Room has gone from serving processed and packaged foods to serving fresh, local, and organic. This was not an overnight change, but with two very focused and determined staff members, Director Cissie and Manager Michael, the Dining Room at St. Anthony has gotten just the face-lift it needed. “San Francisco’s hungry are not just hungry for food, but also hungry for nutrition, improved health, and hungry to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Cissie. Now, instead of ordering packaged foods, St Anthony’s looks to the SF Food Bank and local farmer’s markets for fresh and nutritious produce. We begin this final week of February with sweet and sour pork, served as usual with rice and fresh vegetables, a delicious Asian inspired meal. Pineapple, a major ingredient in the sweet and sour sauce, is a fantastic source for Vitamin C and is also low in sodium and fat. In celebration of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the Dining Room will be serving traditional Jambalaya, a French and Spanish influenced dish with origins in the South, more specifically Louisiana. After the festivities, vegetarian Tuscan bean stew, is sure to satisfy our religious guests on Ash Wednesday, as Catholic tradition requires many meatless feasts throughout the season of Lent.
Feb 23 Sweet & Sour Pork: With rice and vegetables
Feb 24 Mardi Gras Jambalaya: Chicken and smoked sausage
Feb 25 Ash Wednesday Tuscan Bean Stew: White beans and vegetables
Feb 26 Chilaquiles: Chorizo, tortillas, and egg baked in chili sauce, topped with cheese
Feb 27 Fettuccini Alfredo: Cheese sauce over pasta
Feb 28 Chef’s Choice
Please check back for weekly installments of On The Menu!
by Colleen Rivecca
St. Anthony Foundation advocates for public policies that will promote nutrition and healthy eating for all, regardless of income. We were very excited that two of the anti-hunger bills that we’ve supported for years were signed into law in 2008.
New Anti-Hunger Bills
AB 433 removes the asset test for Food Stamp applicants. This means that low-income families with savings or retirement accounts worth more than $2,000 will no longer be denied Food Stamps. The passage of this bill is timely: since the bill was signed this fall, California’s unemployment rate has climbed steadlily. AB 433 will help newly-unemployed families afford food without depleting their savings.
AB 2300 is an important step forward in helping reduce paperwork burdens on low-income families. AB 2300 allows families who are already enrolled in Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program) to enroll their children (and maintain enrollment) in free school meals without additional paperwork.
More work ahead in 2009
During this economic downturn, a lot of political energy will be spent on figuring out how to stimulate the economy. Economists of all stripes believe that increasing access to Food Stamps is one of the most effective ways to do this. Not only do Food Stamps allow struggling families to put nutritious food on the table, they create a multiplier effect in local economies, with each dollar of food stamps generating $1.84 in economic activity. This economic activity not only helps grocers and growers, but also state and local governments.
Join us for Hunger Action Day!
St. Anthony Foundation will be working with anti-hunger groups from across the state to urge our Sacramento legislators to help improve access to the Food Stamp program by:
- Simplifying the food stamp application process.
- Enacting reforms that will allow more low income single adults to access Food Stamps.
- Making it possible for more persons in drug/alcohol recovery programs to access Food Stamps and decrease the likelihood of recidivism.
Hunger Action Day will be on Wednesday May 20, 2009. If you’d like to join St. Anthony Foundation in advocating for anti-hunger legislation at Hunger Action Day, contact Colleen Rivecca at email@example.com.
by Shaun Osburn
Ohayo, San Francisco! Konichiwa from Tokyo, Japan! The picture to the left is of me at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Like many spiritual communities found in large U.S. cities, the Sensoji Temple has a long history of caring for the less fortunate. The Sensoji Welfare institution was opened in 1958 and for over 50 years its many programs have evolved to include free legal aid, medical care and educational classes for those out of work.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
It’s nice to know that even though Tokyo, a city as rich as San Francisco, has communities of faith looking after its poor and homeless residents.
It would seem that this spirit of compassion is universal.
Nearly five years after the Mayor Gavin Newsom’s release of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, the majority of San Francisco’s homeless population is still out in the rain. Mayor Newsom created a 33-member council of advocates, legislators and service providers to advise the most effective strategy to end chronic homelessness, and guide his policy-making in the areas of homelessness.
“The plan produced by the Ten-Year Planning Council is both a blueprint and a bold step toward a new and revolutionary way to break the cycle of chronic homelessness,” concluded Newsom, in his office’s press release following the release of the plan in June 2004.
It unfortunately appears this blueprint has been collecting dust, and lays the ground work for a home the homeless will never see.
The plan’s central strategy is a housing first model. The “Housing First” model emphasizes immediate placement of the individual in permanent housing, where they have access to services, on site, necessary to stabilize the individuals and keep them housed.
A few key statistics found in the Ten-Year Plan:
The cost to provide one chronically homeless person permanent, supportive housing, with treatment and care is nearly one-fourth of the cost to care for the same person using Emergency Room services and/or incarceration costs San Francisco. ($16,000/year versus $61,000/year.)
San Francisco has the highest per capita rate of homelessness of any major American city.
7,000 homeless people live in SF at a given time. Some estimates put the number as high as 15,000.
There are 1,623 homeless kids in the San Francisco school system.
Up to 20% of homeless people have full-time jobs; 30% of adults in homeless families have full-time jobs. (The National Coalition for the Homeless)
52% of Bay Area cities said more mental health services is the most effective way to reduce homelessness. (U.S. Conference of Mayors 2007 Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness)
With the looming budget crisis and drastic cuts threatening the already starved social service programs, many of the programs required for this plan to work are facing devastating funding reductions, if not complete elimination. The 2009 bi-annual city-wide homeless count was conducted January 27; the results of this count will perhaps shed light on what progress has been made.
We kick this week off with the celebration of Presidents Day, originally known as Washington’s Birthday, which was also the first Federal holiday created to honor an American citizen. With a new President on board, Americans can expect the changes they’ve been waiting and wishing for. President Obama has given people without hope something to look forward too, here in the Tenderloin and at St. Anthony’s that is exactly what our guests need. The President’s Day meal is a glorious Spanish slow-roasted bean stew called Fabada. This dish is from the Asturian region of Spain and is traditionally served with cider. Various chicken dishes round out the weekend; however, don’t miss Tony’s Potatoes on Tuesday, they embody comfort food at its best, with melty hot cheese and delicious peas.
Feb 16 Presidents Day Fabada: Bean and sausage stew with pimento, saffron, and Asturian cider
Feb 17 Tony’s Potatoes: Baked potato with ham, peas, carrots and cream sauce, topped with cheese
Feb 18 Hot Turkey Sandwich: Braised turkey with gravy served with bread and mixed bean salad
Feb 19 Red Thai Curried Pork: With vegetables and rice
Feb 20 Chicken Marengo: Chicken braised with tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives, served over noodles
Feb 21 Chicken Apple Sausage and Potatoes
Feb 22 Chicken Orzo and Feta: Seasoned with oregano, lemon, and mint
Please check back for weekly installments of On The Menu!
Recently, C.W. Nevius posed the age-old ‘chicken or the egg’ question in his twice weekly column. As so many people do, he wonders, why is it that there is such a concentration of homeless services in the Tenderloin?
“The question is,” Nevius asks, “Do the homeless and low-income people flock to the Tenderloin because there are so many services, or have the charitable groups been drawn to the neighborhood because so many residents need help?”
As with any questions regarding social services, the answer depends on the person’s beliefs of who “deserves” services. At St. Anthony Foundation, we firmly believe in each person’s right to eat, to have affordable health care, warm clothing, to have shelter and to have the opportunities to build employment skills, and find community to overcome addiction.
As service providers city-wide brace for impact of the budget crisis, it is becoming clearer that privately funded non-profits will fiscally weather the storm, but more and more of the clients who sought help from city services will be turning to us for help.
What tragically some people see as the “easy work” of feeding the hungry, mentioned in Nevius’ article, what they are missing is that the children and young adults who partake in service-learning will have a deeper understanding of the issues of homelessness and poverty. That direct experiential learning will more greatly impact youth than any fifth period lecture on the economy, and they will carry those stories to the family members, and friends, continuing the dialogue.
It is through volunteering, through service-learning and education and that greater issues of homelessness and poverty are understood and approached with insight. Not through columns written outside looking in, questioning whether or not we might scare the tourists.
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