The past holiday season was unlike any we have ever experienced in our lifetimes. So many of our neighbors are experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, health concerns and loss, and it is heartbreaking.
Facing an overwhelming demand for services spurred by the coronavirus pandemic combined with operation limitations due to the health crisis, the organizations who serve these people in need are desperate for help.
While Weekly readers have given generously and raised well over $1 million in the past 19 years, our staff was admittedly concerned how a global pandemic and its economic and social impacts would affect this year's Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.
The pandemic has left many residents seeking assistance from local nonprofits, and we wanted the money raised through the annual giving campaign to offer these organizations that provide safety-net services a boost at a time when the need is paramount. We also acknowledged that many people who would normally contribute were facing financial hardships of their own.
We are, however, grateful beyond words to report that readers stepped up to the challenge and raised $88,215.84 for the 2020-21 Holiday Fund campaign -- surpassing last year's total by more than $12,000.
Each Tri-Valley organization benefiting from the 2020-21 Holiday Fund will receive $14,702.64. This year's beneficiaries are Axis Community Health, CityServe of the Tri-Valley, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Valley Humane Society and ValleyCare Charitable Foundation.
Axis Community Health is the Tri-Valley's sole provider of medical and mental health services for individuals and families who have a low income or who are uninsured. It serves more than 15,000 members of our community.
CityServe of the Tri-Valley supports the community by caring for people in crisis, coordinating resources between the faith-based community, nonprofits, schools, businesses and government agencies, and connecting volunteers in the community to nonprofits.
Hope Hospice provides ethical hospice care, transition services for those not eligible for hospice, bereavement support for adults and children and end-of-life education to Tri-Valley families, regardless of insurance or income status.
Open Heart Kitchen is the largest hot meal program of its kind in the Tri-Valley, feeding the hungry every weekday at multiple locations.
Valley Humane Society 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.
ValleyCare Charitable Foundation plans to use its contribution from the annual campaign to help fund state-of-the-art healthcare technology, facilities, various clinical programs and services at Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare.
The number of beneficiaries is fewer than in past years, and we are hopeful that the pandemic and its impacts are behind us soon and we can return to a more robust list of recipients next campaign season. Look for information about the 2021-22 Holiday Fund around Thanksgiving.