Digital Inclusion Week at St. Anthony’s

  St. Anthony’s played it’s part in San Francisco’s Digital Inclusion Week this year with a full program of activities to get our homeless and low income neighbors comfortable with tech. We repaired our guests’ broken devices and computers, with support from our friends at The Stride Center, fixing and tuning-up tech from phones to desktop towers. We held ‘Introduction to Smartphone’ classes throughout the day where guests – especially seniors – were able to learn about the basic functions of their devices. Participants received lots of 1:1 attention in a friendly low-key environment – which is essential to becoming comfortable with using new tech. We also hosted Techtonica – who specialize in getting underserved populations into tech – who delivered introductory classes on Python for guests who already had basic computer skills. In all 111 of our low income neighbors were helped during the day. The events were run by St. Anthony’s pioneering Tenderloin Tech Lab which provides access to technology, and technology training, year round. Learn more about how the Tenderloin Tech Lab helps low income San Franciscans by watching this video....

Day 16: International Women’s Day Volunteer Event

The proportion of women using St. Anthony’s services is increasing. A recent survey found that more than 25% of guests in our dining room are women (up from only 12% in 2011). So on International Women’s Day this year our volunteers made a special effort to make sure all of our women guests felt appreciated and cared for. Our Free Clothing Program hosted a women-only event for those in need — providing essential clothing items, such as jackets, shirts and underwear. Guests were able to browse and pick out clothing pieces that worked for their body types. Volunteer “personal shoppers” were available to help find specific sizes and styles, making the experience similar to shopping in a store. Volunteers decorated the clothing program office to look like a cozy boutique by hanging up hand-crafted artwork and streamers throughout. Many of our guests, volunteers, and staff wore red to show their support for women’s rights. Professional makeup artists volunteered their time to share grooming and makeup tips with guests which are crucial for boosting their confidence and self-esteem. Many San Franciscans lack easy access to fresh, clean clothes, and this prevent people from staying warm, keeping clean and feeling confident. Being able to rely on St. Anthony’s for clothing when needed is a huge help to women, men and children in need. We can only provide these services with the support of our wonderful volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer at an event like this why not follow us on Twitter @StAnthonySF to learn when the next one is happening?  ...

Day 15: Valentine’s Volunteering at St. Anthony’s

St. Anthony’s guests received a special treat on Valentine’s Day this year after volunteers old and new came together to celebrate our community and create a little Valentine’s magic. We find out more on Day 16 of National Volunteering Month. 60 Volunteers, working in teams, spent the morning assembling two thousand “hug and kiss” gift bags, each of which has a personal note, a warm, hand-knit scarf (as the hug), chocolate (as the kiss), and a ribbon to tie it all together. The gifts were personally given to each dining room guests as a small way of raising spirits and helping all of our neighbors feel valued and engaged with life in the City. “The event was special because it brought together the whole community,” said organizer Dolores Gould, “and it truly made it a special Valentine’s Day for our guests.”...

Day 14: Volunteers get into the Christmas Spirit

Christmas Day last year started before dawn for a particularly hardy group of volunteers. Wanting to make Christmas a more special and more personal experience for our guests, they lovingly assembled individual gift bags for distribution in the dining room later that day. Each gift bag also included a warm, hand-knit scarf or hat. Knowing that our volunteers will go the extra mile for our guests – and put themselves to real inconvenience – makes us feel humbled and proud. Their special effort made all the difference to our guests at Christmas and throughout the year. To learn about fun volunteer opportunities like this why not follow us on Twitter @StAnthonySF...

Day 10: Dedication and Determination

On Day 10 of National Volunteering Month we discover the dedication of our volunteers and their determination to continue looking after our guests even when obstacles appear in their path. Here Jessie Brierley recounts a story illustrating this commitment. It was early on a Wednesday morning when I received a call from Mary about her mother, Teresa, one of our long-time volunteers in the Dining Room. Mary usually drives Teresa to
her volunteer shifts, but couldn’t that day. She explained that her mother, who is in her 80s, values her weekly volunteer shift so much that she refuses to miss it, even if her ride isn’t available. “My mom feels a strong obligation to the people she serves at St. Anthony’s,” Mary explained. “She loves serving the guests in the Dining Room because she knows that they need her, and being there to serve them is a big part of what keeps her going.” I couldn’t help but think how right Teresa is. The service provided to our guests, the way that makes our volunteers feel, all embodies the power of human connection; the heart of what St. Anthony’s is all about. When Mary called to tell her mother that
 she would have to miss her shift, Teresa
was adamant that she would find a way to get to St. Anthony’s, even if it meant taking public transit. “My mom is too frail to take Muni by herself, and if I don’t find her a
ride, she will try to take a bus despite what I say.” Mary was calling with the hope that she would find another volunteer that lives in...