This morning on the way to work, I caught Dave Iverson's Forum on our NPR station. The topic of the show was San Francisco's homeless school children.
I've got to say, the show really opened my eyes. Please, go listen. There are more than 2,000 homeless school children in San Francisco. I can't even fathom the impact that homelessness has on children. Many of them are with their parents, living on the street or in a shelter. The challenge of getting to school every day means that many miss 2 or 3 days of school a week. They are often exhausted because they have trouble sleeping in shelters or without their own home and bed to sleep in. Because the classroom is safe and warm, the children often fall asleep at their desks. When these children say that they are tired and hungry, it's because they have not slept for days, and they may not have eaten that day.
According to Compass Family Services, "right now there are more homeless children in the United States than at any other time since the Great Depression."
Could you join me in taking a step to do something about this problem? Below are a few agencies that help children. Some accept money, need volunteers, or will accept a gently worn coat. These agencies are mostly local to the SF area, but you can find ones near you by looking up "homeless shelter" or "food bank" in Google.
Berkeley Food & Housing Project - provides services and food to the homeless in Berkeley
Compass Family Services - dedicated to helping the homeless in San Francisco
Homeless Youth Services in Oakland
One Warm Coat -accepts donations of new or gently worn coats, there are drop off locations across the US
Ritter Center of Marin - Provides assistance to the homeless and working poor in Marin County
Second Harvest Food Bank - San Mateo and Santa Clara County food bank
Shelter Network - San Mateo county based homeless shelter.
Tomorrow we will be donating coats to One Warm Coat, which has a drop off point at "Breakfast with Santa." It feels like the least we can do before we sit down to a pancake breakfast and tell Santa what we want with a full belly.