Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sock it To Wet Feet!

Photo Creative Commons:Attribution/ShareAlike by Alyssa (partie traumatic)Photo of tube socks drying

Clean and dry socks help to keep people comfortable and healthy. During the winter months, this is especially important to people living outdoors. Welcome relies on donated items for distribution- which means when we don't get donated socks, we don't have any to distribute. This week, like many weeks, we ran out during our Tuesday programming so about 30 people had to go without.

In an average month, we get more than 200 requests for socks, and we're grateful for the 100 or so pairs that are donated to partially meet this need.

-Men's regular or large sized socks, tube sock (calf length) style are the most useful. Please no tiny socks- donate them instead to organizations that work with many children.

Other things we can use right now:
-Blankets- we have been getting blankets from government surplus, but this year we only received 5 boxes (we've got the last 15 blankets left after 3 weeks).

-Deoderant, strong, not flowery- we rarely get this, and it can make a big difference for job interviews and feeling clean

-Antibiotic cream, like neosporin- injuries happen more often when living outdoors or in bug-infested places, and it's hard to keep them clean and infection free.

-Anti-bacterial soap- we get lots of soap donations, but this is a particular need for people with skin conditions exacerbated by poverty.

-Wet wipes, preferably anti-bacterial

-Men's pants, all sizes

-Warm shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and coats (especially rain gear)

-Scarves, hats, gloves (all adult sized)

-Big shoes, preferably wet-weather appropriate

As many of our guests are indoors but without many resources, we are also seeking some bigger donations to help adjust to living indoors and improve information access:
-Working Televisions, either with a converter box or digital-ready (remember that the deadline for digital converter coupons is past, and the boxes cost $50-100 without)

-Working computers (we don't have access to repair help-unless you'd like to volunteer!)- access to E-mail and good information, ability to type documents, and connection to resources are huge benefits to people seeking employment or stabilization.

Your big and little donations make a big difference for people!
Thank you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WELCOME Needs Donations

One of our more recent programs is an interfaith/meditative time of worship every Thursday for any and all that wish to come. There are a number of things we need to do to transform our worship space. The following list of donations would be most helpful to us in making the space as worshipful as possible

    • Unscented white candles of all sizes (especially tea lights)

    • Simple decorative candle holders (with no scent).

    • Cultural tablecloths/tapestries

    • Any framed or sturdy visual art

    • $50 donation to acquire music rights for J. Rundman songs.

    • Recorded/sheet music for simple interfaith songs.

    • Basic craft supplies for adults – such as markers, cardstock, etc (all unscented/non-toxic)

    • Prayer books and/or devotional objects for interfaith.

We are also looking for Volunteers to help with this time of interfaith meditation. Volunteers would help set up/clean up. Any volunteers that would be interested in sharing music, prayer, or crafts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for considering these needs!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Community Dinners!

On the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, WELCOME hosts a Community Dinner at Old First Presbyterian (1752 Sacramento at Van Ness) for any and all that need a good, hot meal. Our guests usually start lining up to come in around 4pm, and then we open the doors to begin serving at 5:30. We have been serving around 200 people per dinner.

As you might imagine, this sort of undertaking cannot be done without a solid volunteer base. If you or a group that you're involved with would be interested in volunteering with these meals, please email our volunteer coordinator at:

We are currently looking for people or organizations to donate food, paper products, and the time to cook and serve.

Here is a typical rundown of our dinners.

2pm: Cooks arrive and begin prepping and cooking the meal.

4pm: Volunteers begin to arrive. They prep the dining room as they set up tables and chairs (and in some cases decorations!), coffee station, serving station, and clothing distribution room.

The coffee station never fails to see a lot of activity and we're always looking for creamer and sugar donations as our guests love to flavor their coffee.

The serving station is set up in the Munroe Room of Old First, and is simply a few tables with food on them.

The clothing distribution room (which doubles as our guest computer lab during the week) is where we give away all the clothes and toiletries that we receive as donations.

5:15: Volunteers circle up to receive instructions about serving. Generally, every volunteer gets one table which becomes their only responsibility for serving throughout the dinner hour.

5:30: The doors open and our guests file in to find a spot at any of our tables. Then the fun begins!

6:30: Most guests are done eating and volunteers begin the clean-up process. Clean-up usually takes about an hour if all the volunteers are working hard.

The dinners are always well received by our guests – and we attribute this to the fact that we cook tasty, healthy meals and that we provide a safe space for all that need to sit and rest for a little while. Our volunteers have enjoyed the work that they do as well – many of them have become regulars for every meal. Perhaps you would like to as well?

Get in touch with us at: