By Tim Hunt
CityServe pivots and continues to serve homeless peopleUploaded: Nov 24, 2020
Like so many non-profits, CityServe of the Tri-Valley pivoted to a virtual event Monday for its 8th annual Prayer Breakfast.
The program streamed on YouTube ran just 30 minutes, but was packed with information. I learned, for instance, why Livermore Mayor John Marchand is such a supporter of CityServe. In a panel moderated by former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti along with current Mayor and Supervisor-elect David Haubert, Marchand said, “Well, one of the things that that happened when I became mayor was I wanted to harness all the energy that there was in the community to so I started the community service council, and came to a prayer breakfast here in Dublin and saw that all these tables were set up with CityServe.
“They were already doing the work that I was trying to do. So, what I recommended is let's not reinvent the wheel. There is a tremendous amount of goodness being done out there and CityServe is doing a marvelous job, coordinating all that energy all the faith- based groups, all the people that want to do good in the community,” he said.
Haggerty, retiring after 24 years on the Board of Supervisors, twice shared the major challenge Haubert will face—getting the attention of his colleagues that there are issues in the Livermore Valley that the county needs to address. Haggerty made significant progress during his tenure, but, with the overwhelming needs in Oakland and elsewhere in the county, it’s an awareness battle that Haubert will continue to fight.
Christine Beitsch-Bahman, who came on board in the fall of 2019 as CEO, has refined CityServe’s program. The founding churches are “patrons” of the Mercy Space, while the cities and other supporters are partners. The recipients of the services are the participants. During the pandemic, CityServe staff members and volunteers have consistently reached out to homeless people living in tents or their cars. That’s included food and other supplies as well parking lots with porta potties so people can safely sleep in their cars overnight.
For instance, in September, CityServe team members handled 62 referrals for hotels and 314 care calls. Through Pleasanton's rental assistance program, it paid rent 125 times totalling $268,592.
CityServe just launched its new website www.cityservecares.org
Speaking of virtual events, Sunflower Hill’s fundraiser shifted to Moonlight at Home. The event raised over $110,000 for the organization that opened its first facility for adults with special needs at Irby Ranch in Pleasanton this fall. It’s been a productive and busy time for Sunflower. Like other non-profits in a digital world, it has recorded its programs and now has more than 115 free activity videos available online.
Congrats to Kathy Layman, board president, who was honored by Diablo Magazine with one of its five 2019 Threads of Hope awards. The article highlighted that Layman since 2016 has volunteered more than 5,000 hours (2,000 hours is a year of 40-hour weeks). Her 21-year-old grandson has special needs.
Diablo also honored Lisa NcNaney of Livermore for founding and leading Culinary Angels. A breast cancer survivor, she realized that no organization was focused on providing nutritious meals to people battling serious illness. Culinary Angels does that throughout the Livermore Valley. The meals are cooked at First Presbyterian Church in Livermore with produce provided by the Sunflower Hill and Fertile GroundWorks.