A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our community, whose generosity truly shines during the holiday season – because of you, the homeless, disabled, and low income families and individuals BOSS served received gifts, coats, meals, and special holiday activities. From schools (preschool through college), organizations, and businesses to individuals and the City of Berkeley, a huge variety of partners stepped up to help our participants feel warmth, love and hope during what can be a very difficult times of year.
The holiday season started with Thanksgiving, with Duck’s Nest Pre School providing our food service program at Ursula Sherman Village with all the necessary ingredients to prepare a festive dinner for Thanksgiving for three of our programs (the children from Duck’s Nest also made festive table settings for USV dinner delivering them in little red wagons. Volunteers served dinner at the Village, as well as at Casa Maria House in Oakland, and brought leftover food to street encampments.
For the Christmas holiday, Duck’s Nest also provided gifts for families at the Village (each child under 18 got a new coat and some other wonderful gifts for the family). Head Royce, Prospect Sierra and Black Pine Circle schools also purchased gifts for families throughout BOSS programs. There were a host of collection drives (coats, books, toys, socks, toiletries, towels/linen, personalized gifts, and checks (from Berkeley Holiday Fund) for BOSS shelter/housing residents—items were distributed throughout all BOSS programs in Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley. The City of Berkeley purchased Christmas trees for the Village and the Hotel Shattuck Plaza Berkeley made sure our other programs also got trees!
2016 Holiday donors included (alphabetical list—let us know if we forgot anyone and we will update the story!):
Berkeley Community Fund
Berkeley Holiday Fund
Black Pine Circle School
City of Berkeley
David Brower Center
Duck’s Nest Pre School
ELS Architecture and Urban Design
Family Giving Tree
Head Royce School
Hotel Shattuck Plaza
Junior League of Oakland-East Bay
Martha Sellers & Girl Scout Troup #30647
One Warm Coat
Prospect Sierra Middle School
University of California, Berkeley
And many other donors who collected coats, toiletries, and other items
BOSS programs also conducted their own outreach to neighboring businesses. The BOSS Benefits & Entitlements Specialist Team (BEST) program did a sock drive, and Courtney Draper from the Service Team was able to get a couple of donations—gift cards from Target, and food for their holiday party.
“The service Team put on a Holiday luncheon for our participants,” says Courtney. “The restaurant owner of IB’s around the corner from us donated sandwiches and fries, and I was able to get a donation of gift cards as well as other little gifts for people…Happy holidays!”
There was also a special holiday party for the residents at BOSS’s South County Homeless Project—a dual-purposed event to showcase the work BOSS did last year making sure all of our programs have proper recycling/composting bins (with funds from StopWaste.org) and a celebration of the holidays, with a dessert bar (donated baked goods) and games created for BOSS by UC Berkeley intern Ryan Anderson: BOSS trivia, and a Recycling-Composting quiz!
Thank you so much to all of you, for showing the true spirit of the holidays—generosity, love, and fellowship. BOSS participants are working hard every day against incredible challenges, but your gifts and support let them take some time to rest and enjoy themselves.
Happy New Year, from all of us at BOSS!!
To add to or correct anything in this story, please contact Sonja at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.649.1930 x 1008.