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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Chefs on the Rise Raffle!

We have some exciting news!

This year’s #ChefsOnTheRise top fundraiser has thoughtfully decided to support our mission even further by donating BACK the winning prize to help raise more funds to help our neighbors in need.

That’s right, the 30″ Arteflame Grill generously donated by our Summit Sponsor, CafĂ© Services, Inc. could now be yours! It could be the perfect early Christmas present for the chef in your life and as a bonus – it doubles as a fire pit!

NOW through November 12, 2020, you can purchase a raffle ticket at $10 or 3 for $25 for your chance to win this Arteflame Grill! The best part of all you’ll be helping to provide meals with every dollar donated.

Don’t miss your chance, head on over to chefsontherise.givesmart.com!

Saturday, August 22, 2020


Washington, D.C. - August 22, 2020 - (Ponder America's Homeless) -- U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $898,778 and four Per Diem Only (PDO) grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for community organizations to assist homeless veterans in West Virginia. This funding is made available through the VA’s Grant Per Diem (GPD) program and will provide transitional housing and supportive services for homeless veterans with the goal of helping homeless veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels, and obtain greater self-determination.

“Our veterans in West Virginia deserve our full support, especially those who have fallen on hard times,” said Senator Capito. “GPD grants from the VA allow organizations to receive the optimal amount of funding needed, providing them the ability to offer resources to more veterans. It is important that we give our veterans the tools they need get back on their feet and find stability within their communities. I will continue to advocate for more funding to strengthen the lives of veterans across our state.”

“It is simply unacceptable that many of our brave Veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country do not have a roof over their head at night,” said Senator Manchin. “This funding will help organizations across West Virginia support these national heroes and provide them with the basic needs they are entitled to. It’s the least we can do for their unwavering service and sacrifice. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight to make sure our Veterans have the support they need and fought for.”

According to the VA, the GPD program has provided veterans who are homeless with community-based transitional housing and supportive services since 1994. The number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has declined by 50 percent since 2010 — resulting from the GPD program and other VA efforts.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Socks for the Homeless

The Ponder is campaigning for donations in order to provide Socks for the Homeless.

$2.00 will buy Three pairs of socks for a homeless person.

It's not much. And, it is something that the homeless REALLY appreciate!

All socks will be delivered to the Randy Sam's Homeless Shelter for distribution!

Thank you!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Woman Barricaded Inside Oakland Motel Leaves Peacefully After 16-Hour Protest

Source: KQED

Stefani EchevarrĂ­a-Fenn had chained herself to security bars outside a window at the Palms Motel in Oakland to protest the lack of hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness. Supporters glued the door shut and used furniture to block the entrance.

She and supporters have been paying to house 14 homeless people in hotels for the past few weeks, including many who are older and have serious health conditions. But their money was running out, and they want the city of Oakland to step in.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Walmart and Sam’s Club “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign Supports Feeding America Network to Help Provide Food to Communities in Need

The Hunger Site
Washington, D.C. - April 16, 2020 - (Ponder America's Homeless) -- One in nine people face hunger in America, including more than 11 million children. Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, estimates that an additional 17.1 million people could face hunger in the next six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures, rising unemployment and rising poverty due to quarantine and stay-at-home orders have impacted everyone, especially people already at risk of hunger.

With Feeding America estimating $1.4 billion in additional resources needed over the next six months to provide enough food for our neighbors facing hunger, food banks need community support now more than ever. The “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign provides everyone with an opportunity to help.

In its seventh year, the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign will run online and in-store through May 11, 2020. There are two ways to participate – donating on Feeding America’s website or purchasing a participating item in-store or online.

  • Donate at www.FeedingAmerica.org/Walmart.
  • For every participating product purchased at U.S. Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs or on Walmart.com and SamsClub.com during the campaign, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits. See specially marked packages for full details.

  • “Every day, the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks is on the ground helping children, families, and seniors who face hunger. During this pandemic, food banks will continue to distribute food to our neighbors in need,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “Walmart and Sam’s Club have been unwavering partners in the fight to end hunger. We are deeply thankful for their ongoing support during this unprecedented time.”

    Walmart kickstarted the campaign with a $3 million donation to Feeding America and member food banks. Each Walmart and Sam’s Club will partner with at least one local Feeding America food bank, and the 22 participating suppliers include: Bush Brothers & Company, Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Conagra Brands, Crazy Richard’s, Ferrara Candy Company, General Mills, Great Value, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Materne North America, Monster Energy, Mott’s, Nestle Waters, Ocean’s Halo, PepsiCo, Post Consumer Brands, Soylent, The Coca-Cola Company, The Clorox Company and Unilever. The Walmart Foundation recently gave an additional $5 million to Feeding America to help support communities and individuals facing hunger during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ has been a way for Walmart and Sam’s Club to partner with our suppliers and customers to help bring food to the people who need it most,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy for Walmart.org. “It’s been an important effort every year, but this one is especially critical given the current demand on food banks. With millions of Americans worrying about how they will feed their families right now, ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ is a powerful way for all of us to help.”

    To learn more about the campaign visit www.Walmart.com/FightHunger and www.SamsClub.com/FightHunger.

    Sunday, March 22, 2020

    Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Adopts New Guiding Principles and Practices for Unsheltered Homelessness

    Los Angeles, CA - March 22, 2020 - (Ponder America's Homeless) -- On February 28, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) adopted new policy that calls for decriminalizing life-sustaining survival actions of the more than 40,000 Los Angelenos who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

    The policy, entitled Guiding Principles and Practices for Local Responses to Unsheltered Homelessness, outlines principles that affirm the civil rights of those experiencing homelessness. This guidance cites the Encampment Principles and Practices outlined in the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s 2017 Tent City, USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities are Responding report, and calls for fair policies that prioritize provision of housing and services and discourage the use of the criminal justice system in addressing homelessness. The document shows the commitment of the County to serve those experiencing unsheltered homelessness with respect, dignity, and empathy.

    “This new guidance is an important step forward in reversing destructive, ineffective and unconstitutional laws and policies that criminalize homeless people simply for existing,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “Our goal now is for the county and cities within it to continue to move forward by ensuring the human right to housing for all its homeless residents, and we stand ready to help them do that.”

    According to the guiding document: “Municipal ordinances should not criminalize homelessness. Ordinances that limit necessary, life-sustaining activities such as sitting, sleeping, or eating in public spaces unfairly target people living on the streets. In the absence of adequate alternative or private places to undertake those activities, people have a right to perform these activities in public.”

    The guidance originates from “recent court decisions and research into promising practices both locally and nationally.” These court rulings include last September’s Martin v. Boise decision in the 9th Circuit, and last week’s settlement in Mitchell v. Los Angeles. The guidance will also support LAHSA in obtaining additional federal funding to end homelessness, thanks to grant incentives in recent Housing & Urban Development funding applications.

    “We are thrilled LAHSA has put on paper the best practices that we researched from across the country and globe on addressing unsheltered homelessness through housing, not handcuffs, and look forward to seeing them implemented,” said Eric Tars, legal director at the Law Center. “We are happy to support to the efforts of our local partners, including LA Community Action Network, Legal Aid Foundation of LA, Neighborhood Legal Services of LA, and the Law Offices of Carol Sobel, whose pressure in the streets, council chambers, and courts all contributed to the adoption of this precedent-setting document by LAHSA.”

    Friday, February 14, 2020

    TIny Homes Program Provides Transitional Housing

    Hayward, CA - February 14, 2020 - (Ponder America's Homeless) -- First Presbyterian Church of Hayward partnered with HomeAid Northern California, CoBuild and Alameda County to open the Tiny Homes project today, providing transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness in Hayward and Alameda County.

    “I can’t express how much the Tiny Homes program will help me and others get into permanent housing,” shared new tenant, [insert first and last name] of Hayward. “It’s comforting and encouraging to know there are people in our community willing to help out in such a life-changing way. And everyone’s been so kind and helpful throughout this entire process.”

    The first tenants begin moving in today will occupy all six of the Tiny Homes available on the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward property.

    “Tiny Homes is truly a labor of love showcasing how the private sector, local government and non-profit can partner together to meet the immediate needs of our local community in a big way,” shared Chizu Buckalew, community development director, First Presbyterian Church of Hayward. “Tiny Homes will provide a warm, safe and stable place for the homeless to begin their journey toward more permanent housing and we are here to do everything we can to help.”

    HomeAid is proud to support First Presbyterian Church of Hayward with 6 Builder Captains who stepped up to build the 6 Tiny Homes over a 6 week period. “I am so impressed and inspired by the support of the building industry to house those in need,” said HomeAid Executive Director Cheryl O’Connor.

    First Presbyterian Church of Hayward spearheaded the joint effort as part of its ongoing support, care and outreach for the displaced and homeless community in Alameda County. The church provides a winter shelter from December 1 until April 30th (funded by Alameda County), a Park Out program allowing homeless to park overnight in the parking lot, meals (breakfasts on Sunday mornings and dinners on select evenings) and a Resource Center during the week.

    For more information about the Tiny Homes program and how to donate, please Click HERE

    About First Presbyterian Church of Hayward

    Located in the East Bay, we are a multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic, multi-generational, Christian community of faith where anyone can come as he, she or they are. We welcome every tribe, nation, language, and people; whether you live in the hills, valleys or in your car; work in Silicon Valley or are on welfare, vote Republican or Democrat, are gay or straight, have a morally upright lifestyle or a loose one, sinner or saint. Come as you are! God loves you and we are so glad that you are checking out our missional family.

    About HomeAid Northern California

    HomeAid Northern California has completed 45 projects worth more than $21 million that provide critical shelter capacity for more than 8,000 people experiencing homelessness. HomeAid brings together the residential homebuilding industry’s resources and expertise with those of homelessness service providers. Combined, the residential industry has donated more than $11 million in material and labor and worked with 20 homeless service providers throughout the Bay Area. For more information about HomeAid Northern California, visit www.homeaidnc.org.