Giving Thanks on Golden Gate Spreads Hope This Holiday Season
November 23, 2023
When dignitaries, donors, volunteers, dedicated St. Anthony’s team members, and, most importantly, our cherished guests converge on the same block, magic happens – our 2nd annual Giving Thanks on Golden Gate block party! This remarkable event, which takes place annually on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, stands as the height of the holiday season in the Tenderloin neighborhood. This gathering happens nowhere else in the city. It unites the most diverse community in San Francisco in gratitude for the contributions each of us makes and enriches the multi-dimensional fabric of our neighborhood.
Warmth abounded not just in spirit but in the tangible form of hats, scarves, socks, and gloves, some lovingly crafted by the diligent Pacifica Stitchers. Our Police Chief Bill Scott and Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson, and officers in brass, served hot chocolate, candy canes, and cookies. Supervisor Asha Safaí brought his family to lend a hand. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who provided 40 bikes raffled off to lucky recipients, drew neighbors in and added to the excitement. There was face painting, photo booths, holiday card stations, arts and crafts for kids, and an army of dedicated volunteers who also worked tirelessly to assemble blankets and thousands of hygiene kits days before the event.
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Sally Haims aptly noted, “It’s important for us to be here and to show that we not only care but also offer services that can elevate individuals from instability and homelessness toward more stable, thriving lives.”
We heard heartfelt words from esteemed city officials, including Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi who, while holding her hand to her heart, passionately exclaimed, “This is our tradition, this is our blessing, this is what we love to do.” Senator Scott Wiener, Supervisor Matt Dorsey, and City Attorney David Chiu also came to share some words and celebrate with us and the people we serve. The Giants organization, including our favorite team member Lou Seal (followed in close second by Giants outfielder Austin Slater), brought extra excitement, posing for pictures with our delighted guests.
Community members were empowered to raise their voices to City Hall in support of our Golden Gate Greenway initiative, envisioning the permanent closure of the block as a canvas for endless possibilities to enrich the community between Leavenworth and Jones.
At St. Anthony’s, we overflow with gratitude for all who attended this extraordinary event, which allowed us to converge as one. It is a testament to our commitment to treat every person with dignity and respect. This one-of-kind gathering is a day and place where there is no judgment, and we collectively recognize the inherent value in every San Franciscan, reinforcing our shared identity. “What we’re doing here on the Greenway really represents how we come together as a community at a time when our world is being torn apart,” remarked City Attorney David Chiu.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated Season of Hope sponsors, Waymo, Canva, Kaiser Permanente, and San Francisco Giants who not only provided financial support but also joined as volunteers to make this event a big success. Thank you to our annual event supporters: Tim and Rhanda Dunn, Deloitte, BiRite Food Distributors, Turner Construction, The Toboni Group, and Trillium Asset Management. The recognition of André Woods is well-deserved for juggling the needs of our guests, team members, VIPs, and media – all at once! Our maintenance and operations team were instrumental in helping prepare for the event. And special commendation goes to our exceptional events team, Erin McLaughlin and Janet Ryan, who orchestrated every detail, right down to reminding everyone to always wear sunscreen.