The Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund campaign is now underway, a time when we ask our readers to turn their thoughts to supporting local nonprofit agencies and services that care for those in need year-round.
It's also a timely effort.
"Although the economy has rebounded, many still aren't benefiting from the surge and need our help," said Gina Channell, president and publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly.
"Too many still don't have job stability and lack basic health care, or rising costs have made health care unaffordable," she added. "The nonprofits the Holiday Fund supports can help them."
This year's Holiday Fund recipients that will share equally in fund contributions are:
Agape Villages Foster Family Agency
Statistics tell us that 46% of foster youths don't graduate from high school and half of all homeless youths were at one time in the foster care system.
That's why the Agape Villages Foster Family Agency has been named a recipient of contributions to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.
Agape Villages has been around for over 55 years, finding loving homes for abused and neglected children throughout 14 counties in Northern California, including here in Alameda County.
"At Agape, we aim to beat the odds by providing a loving and stable environment for these children," said Jennifer Oxe, Agape's community engagement director.
Axis Community Health
Axis Community Health is a community health center that serves more than 14,000 Tri-Valley residents from five sites in Pleasanton and Livermore. Services include primary medical care for all ages, mental health counseling, drug and alcohol recovery services, and a WIC nutrition program.
Axis has served the Tri-Valley since 1972, and is the sole provider of these essential services for those who have no other resources.
“The Holiday Fund support is an essential part of Axis’s budget,” said Sue Compton, Axis chief executive officer. “We rely on these contributions to stretch our resources to provide more medical visits for vulnerable members of our community, and, this year, support from the Holiday Fund will cover some of the costs of the medical visits that we provide for Tri-Valley children of all ages.”
Another beneficiary of the Holiday Fund is Hope Hospice, an organization that for more than 35 years has provided personalized end-of- life care to families in the Tri-Valley and surrounding communities. A community-led, nonprofit organization, Hope Hospice offers services regardless of insurance, income status, nation of origin or religion.
Although the holiday season is typically filled with merriment, celebrations and longstanding traditions, many people and families who have lost a loved one feel lost, alone and overcome with sadness and anxiety. Hope Hospice offers help to individuals in finding ways to take care of themselves during this time through counseling and seminars that provide practical ideas, strategies and helpful tips that can make a difference during the holiday season.
Grief support staff members say that these feelings are normal and very common, especially during the first year of death.
"Just seeing festive decorations at the mall or reading holiday recipes in the newspaper can trigger a variety of emotions," said Lee Ann Morgan, Hope Hospice's director of grief support. "People often tell us that they feel fatigued or have low energy. Others have described their feelings as a 'hollow feeling' in their stomach. Many have expressed a sense of guilt, regret or anger."
The Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund supports Hope Hospice, including working with the organization on a seminar that will discuss strategies for coping during the holidays. It will be held from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Hope Hospice Grief Support Center, 6377 Clark Ave. in Dublin.
An acronym for Resources Education Activities Community and Housing for special adults of the Tri-Valley, REACH uses funds collected through the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund to enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.
It uses these resources to support education programs, for activities and to provide housing opportunities. It has nine homes in the Tri-Valley serving 26 people with disabilities that range from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to autism, with some being more impaired than others.
REACH expanded several years ago to provide a more holistic approach to its services, and now also addresses fitness, social and educational opportunities for the special needs community, as well as continuing its initial focus of providing housing in the local community.
Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation
Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation is again on the Holiday Fund's list of beneficiaries. Funds that go to this organization help provide Tri-Valley cancer patients with the benefit of complementary therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy.
The organization is supported entirely by generous donations, including those from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.
Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley
Also benefiting from the Holiday Fund this year will be Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, an independent, nonprofit agency serving seniors over 60 in the communities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol.
The group was established in 1981 as a "Friendly Visitor" volunteer program serving 35 seniors. It has since grown to include programs that annually serve more than 5,600 seniors in the Tri-Valley area, and this year is expanding its one-stop resource shop to meet these needs.
"We are so thankful to be part of the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund," said Marlene Petersen, executive director. "These funds contribute to helping seniors go through the process of changes one goes through with age, such as the loss of a loved one, friends, the ability to drive and hear well, and many other meaningful experiences we often take for granted."
Another Holiday Fund recipient is Sunflower Hill, an organization working to create a sustainable residential community for individuals with special needs.
It's a Pleasanton-based nonprofit organization that benefits from contributions made to the Weekly's Holiday Fund. Founded in 2012 by local community leaders and parents of children with special needs, it seeks to develop residential communities similar to senior living facilities as well as vocational programs and activities.
Nationwide, there are more than 5 million individuals with special needs like autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy and 17,000 people alone in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Due to lack of housing options and affordability, more than 80% of adults end up living with their parents their entire lives.
Sunflower Hill seeks to change that paradigm by creating an enriched, safe and secure residential community that affords life-long living options. In Livermore, a new community on First Street is in the final stages of city review. If approved, it would offer 44 affordable units at 30%-50% of the area median income.
Another beneficiary of Holiday Fund contributions is the Tri-Valley YMCA, which recently moved its facilities from Dublin to more spacious quarters at 5000 Pleasanton Ave. The Y promotes healthy living and fosters a sense of social responsibility.
The nonprofit's first-ever Family Wellness Center in the Tri-Valley offers a variety of services, including expanded mental health programs for children, teens and families, educational and support groups, workshops and therapy sessions.
"It's a valuable community resource open to all families, allowing many people to get all types of services," said the Y's executive director Kelly Dulka.
Using contributions made from the Holiday Fund, the Tri-Valley Y will help many families improve their health and well-being.
Another recipient of the Holiday Fund is the ValleyCare Charitable Foundation (VCCF), a part of Stanford Health at ValleyCare.
The foundation raises funds to support Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare. The funds raised by VCCF support a wide variety of initiatives that enhance patient care and help meet the growing needs of the Tri-Valley communities. Its fundraising focus is local, with monies supporting state-of-the-art healthcare technology, facilities, various clinical programs and services at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare.
Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare combines the expertise of local physicians with the innovative strength of Stanford Health Care. It provides the Tri-Valley with exceptional, patient-centered community medicine, coupled with specialized Stanford Medicine programs to deliver a full continuum of care. As a not-for-profit organization, Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare reinvests any surplus into new services, facilities, and community health programs.
Its Clinical Programs include cancer services, cardiology services & cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes education, emergency services, health library & Ryan Comer Cancer Resource Center, imaging and lab services, intensive care unit/critical care unit, Joint Replacement Institute, labor and delivery, occupational health, pediatrics (including neonatal intensive care unit), physical therapy & sports medicine at LifeStyleRx Wellness Center, senior behavioral health services (Legends Program), skilled nursing, spine program, urgent care, weight management & bariatric surgery, and more.
Gifts to ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, such as those from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, help ensure that Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare will continue to deliver the highest-quality care to all who seek our help, now and for generations to come.
Valley Humane Society
Pleasanton-based Valley Humane Society creates a brighter future for cats and dogs by encouraging and strengthening the bond between people and pets. The organization rescues and rehabilitates companion animals, champions responsible caretaking, shares pets' soothing affections with people in need of comfort and supports and preserves existing pet-guardian relationships.
Valley Humane Society has worked to save and improve the lives of Tri-Valley companion animals since 1987. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, its programs and services are made possible by the generosity of private donors, including those received from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund. It receives no government funds, tax dollars or money from national humane organizations.
Valley Humane Society takes in homeless cats and dogs from municipal shelters, provides age-appropriate vaccinations, necessary medical treatments, including spay/neuter surgeries, and then finds them new loving forever homes. Volunteers assist with a majority of the animal care, including providing foster homes for animals who need a little extra TLC.
At Valley Humane Society, rescuing animals starts with helping those who care for them. It also believes in the power of pets to inspire, comfort, teach, heal and unify. That's why its programs reach beyond rescue and pet adoption. VHS strengthens the bond between people and pets by teaching responsible pet care, cultivating respect for animals and sharing the unconditional love that pets offer.
== Again this year, the Weekly is partnering with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which will handle all finances related to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund. This will allow donors to take advantage of a tax deduction for the dollars they contribute through the foundation's 501(c)(3) status to the fullest extent of the law.==
Also, the Pleasanton Weekly will handle all costs of the campaign. That means that every dollar will go directly to these nine nonprofits with no administrative expenses.
How to Give:
Contributions should be directed to:
Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund
c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation
2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300
Mountain View, California 94040
Checks should be made payable to Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
There is also an opportunity to donate through PayPal online at www.siliconvalleycf.org/pleasantonweeklyholidayfund/
All donations will be acknowledged shortly after being received.