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Blog | Keep up with the latest at St. Anthony’s

Update on California anti-poverty legislation

May is an exciting month for state-level advocacy for policies affecting low-income and homeless Californians. St. Anthony’s is tracking California legislation to:

  • Improve public assistance programs like SSI/SSP, CalFresh, and CalWORKs
  • Expand funding for affordable housing in California
  • Support low-income working Californians
  • Address the human rights of homeless Californians
  • Address housing and health needs of incarcerated Californians
  • Expand MediCal and health insurance coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status

read more…

Training for a New Life: John’s Story of Struggle & Triumph

"The best therapy for me is to look out across the street where I see the hustlers. I can see me from yesterday. I'm here for a difference. Period."

“The best therapy for me is to look out across the street where I see the hustlers. I can see me from yesterday. I’m here for a difference. Period.”

On a sunny day in February, a long line of guests streamed through the doors of St. Anthony’s new Dining Room, eagerly awaiting a hearty meal of oven roasted chicken cacciatore. One floor below, residents of St. Anthony’s Fr. Alfred Center for addiction recovery were prepping for the next day’s meal of red beans and rice. Every day, these residents participate in St. Anthony’s Job Training Program, feeding thousands of low-income San Franciscans while learning valuable skills and earning their Food Handler Certification for California.

On this particular morning, hundreds of containers of Organic Girl lettuce were stacked neatly on a stainless steel counter. John, a participant in the Job Training Program, was rattling off numbers, eyeing the stacks of lettuce and estimating how many barrels he would need for 3,000 single serving portions.

St. Anthony’s Job Training Program introduces participants like John to the challenges of working in a fast paced, restaurant-like environment while simultaneously addressing the roller coaster of emotions that come with battling addiction.

Scribbling on the outside of the box, he jotted down a few numbers and murmured, “6 cases, 50 boxes, 20 containers, 3 barrels…I need 110 containers of lettuce.”

Behind him, Eric, a graduate of the program, now a prep chef, glanced around the spacious kitchen at pallets of onions, carrots, pears, apples, and racks of donated Valentine’s Day desserts stacked 10 feet high.

“Today’s prep is light. We’ll start with the lettuce, move on to dice 50 pounds of peppers and zucchini, 2,000 onions, 360 pounds of cornbread, and 600 tortilla shells.”

read more…

A Story About Jane

This is a story about a guest in Guest Jane - Dining Roomour Dining Room who I met recently. What she had to say during our brief conversation opened my eyes to what life is like as a homeless woman on the streets of San Francisco. 

Jane has walked around San Francisco, picking flowers as she goes, putting them around her hat for years now after deciding that living on the streets was better than staying in an abusive environment at home. The flowers are a way to help keep her looking “bright” and “fresh” even when she hasn’t showered in days. They help to mask the bad odors that suffocate particular neighborhoods. “The sweet aroma of the flowers constantly swirls around me, helping me forget where I am.”

Most days, the only time Jane eats is when she is at St. Anthony’s because she can eat until she’s full. “I stuff myself here so that I can save the little bits of money I make panhandling to buy a nice cup of coffee at Starbucks,” Jane told me. Sadly, my mind immediately jumped to judgment, but she interrupted my critical thoughts as she continued. “When I get there, I go into the restroom and splash some water on my face and smooth out my hair enough to look somewhat presentable. Then I get a coffee and I sit there, soaking up each minute, because it’s the only time I get to feel like a normal person again.” read more…

Angel’s Story: Why We Need A Right to Rest in California

Angel McLain testifies before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee about why California needs the Right to Rest.

Angel McLain testifies about the need for a Right to Rest in California.

“I was treated like dirt.  No consideration.  Like a piece of garbage that you would discard.  Irrelevant and unimportant.  They had no sense of compassion.”  Angel McLain on her experience being homeless

Last Tuesday, St. Anthony’s joined advocates from across the state at a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.  The Committee was hearing a bill, SB 608 (Liu) that would decriminalize rest: sitting, sleeping, and lying down.  Unfortunately, laws that make rest in public space a criminal activity are prevalent across California.  A recent report from UC Berkeley School of Law studied 58 California cities that collectively make up 75% of the state’s homeless population.  They found that every city they studied used local laws that criminalize sitting, standing, sleeping, or resting in public spaces as a response to homelessness.

Personal testimony is often more powerful than even the most thoroughly researched statistics.  Angel McLain, a formerly homeless woman, shared her story about being criminalized for sleeping or resting while homeless in the East Bay.  (Watch her testify here.)  She spoke about the indignity of being criminalized for being homeless and she also mentioned that the criminal history that she “earned” as a result of being homeless kept her from qualifying from affordable housing.  She currently lives in a hotel where she pays $800 of her $889 monthly income for rent.

In the end, SB 608 was withheld from a vote.  Since the committee members did not vote on the bill, it is not officially “dead”, but remains in committee and can be revisited next year.  To stay updated on our advocacy efforts, including our work on housing and homelessness, health care, work and income, and hunger, sign up to receive our advocacy email alerts.

Hunger Action Day Training April 29!

Join St. Anthony's for our training for Hunger Action Day, April 29 2015 at 2:15 pm at 150 Golden Gate Ave.

It’s that time of the year – time to get ready for Hunger Action Day!

Hunger Action Day is an annual advocacy day in Sacramento where we come together to talk to our elected officials about hunger in California and how to address it.  Anyone who is interested in anti-hunger advocacy is welcome to attend.  We hope to have participants from across the St. Anthony’s community: our staff, guests, volunteers, donors, and neighbors.

This year, we’ll be talking to our elected officials about the following anti-hunger issues:

  • The need for a state budget that addresses hunger and poverty in California.
  • Increasing grants for SSI/SSP recipients (low-income seniors and people with disabilities) so that they can better afford basic necessities like food, housing, clothing, and hygiene items.
  • Improving the CalFresh (food stamps) and CalWORKs (welfare to work) programs so that everyone who is eligible can receive assistance.
  • Increasing funding for the state emergency food assistance program.
  • Addressing local laws in California that make it illegal to share or distribute food in public spaces.

If you’re interested in joining us, please register for our Hunger Action Day training, which will be on Wednesday April 29 at 2:15 pm at 150 Golden Gate Avenue.  If you are unable to make the training but still want to join us for Hunger Action Day on May 13, please email Skyler McNulty, Social ACTion Program Coordinator, or call her at 415-592-2786.

 

 

Bay Area Broadcaster and St. Anthony’s Supporter Lon Simmons Passes at 91

Lon SimmonsThose who’ve read all the kind and great things said about Lon Simmons, the former broadcaster for the Giants, A’s, and 49ers will not be surprised to know that his compassion and goodness was expressed each month through a generous donation to support the work of St. Anthony’s.

Lon took care of all of us who couldn’t get to the game and listened over the airwaves. For decades and right up to the present, he made sure that the poorest among us also listened to the game after having shared a nutritious meal in our Dining Room.

Read more about the life of Lon in SFGate.

 

Toiletries for the Tenderloin

TGD GuestIt’s hard for many to imagine not having the little, everyday things like a toothbrush or soap, but many of the guests at St. Anthony’s go without such basic toiletries all too often. This can lead to low self-esteem and may increase the risk of health issues. Everyone deserves the basics to feel human, so we need your help.

By donating unused, travel-sized toiletries we can put together “emergency hygiene kits” or “birthday bags” for people in need. Get creative, host a “bubble bash” or make it a competition to see how many hygiene items your organization can raise. Think about going one week without brushing your teeth. Put a smile on someone’s face, donate today!  read more…

Full Circle Crew

Vicki B. 2Vicki B started volunteering at St. Anthony’s in September of 2008, but she knew well before that that she wanted to! Vicki, just like her father before her, carries a special devotion to St. Anthony. When Vicki retired from her teaching career, she put on her apron in the St. Anthony’s Dining Room. When she first started, the Dining Room was still in its original location at 45 Jones Street—the transformed underground garage where volunteers like Vicki helped to serve more than 38 million meals by the time we moved into our temporary location, 150 Golden Gate in Feb of 2012. Two and a half years later in the fall of 2014, Vicki moved with us again to serve our dear guests out of the new St. Anthony’s Dining Room at 121 Golden Gate.

Vicki’s one of the “full circle crew”—45 Jones, to 150 Golden Gate, and back right above the original— to 121 Golden Gate. Vicki was kind enough to give me a few moments of her time away from the serving line to share some of her thoughts about volunteering in the Dining Room.
“When I first started, my family was a little concerned about the neighborhood, but they’ve learned from me that the people are wonderful…’There but for the grace of God go I…’ I wanted to give back, to do a little something. And it makes us (volunteers) happy to help! I’ve done everything—bussing, bringing the trays…My favorite is to be on the serving line: seeing the people, their smiles…”

read more…

Philanthropy in Footie Pajamas

St. Anthony's Baby JacobAt a grand total of one year old, Baby Jacob is already supporting San Franciscans in need through tough times.

For his first birthday party, friends & family were asked to bring boxes of cereal to help St. Anthony’s pantry provide food to our homeless & low-income neighbors.

Cheers to Jacob’s parents for kicking off his 2nd year with this thoughtful gift to our guests.

Check out the kind words from Jacob’s new fans on our Facebook page.


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St. Anthony Foundation | 150 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 | info@stanthonysf.org