Donations of everyday essentials support the homeless
In partnership with the Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) and its ongoing community efforts to address homelessness across the region, SMUD is sponsoring Giving Monday at Cal Expo, an effort to collect needed personal care items, including:
WHAT: SMUD Giving Monday Personal Care Drive at Cal Expo
WHEN: Monday, December 4 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cal Expo Main Gate
Donations from members of the community are welcome from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Cal Expo Main Gate. Just drive on through and drop off your items or donate via Amazon here.
"From our canned food donation drive to our efforts to collect school supplies, SMUD Giving Mondays are an important part of our commitment to supporting all communities," said Rhonda Staley-Brooks, director of Community Engagement. "This winter, we are partnering with HART to help gather crucial assistance and resources, especially during the holidays, for our most vulnerable community members. The overwhelming spirit of giving shown by our employees, partners and customers is truly inspiring."
SMUD has led successful e-waste, coat and school supply drives at Cal Expo. These drives have benefited non-profits such as the Sacramento Children's Home, the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps and the Elk Grove Food Bank.
As the nation's sixth-largest, community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity to Sacramento County for more than 75 years. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. Today, SMUD's power supply is on average about 50 percent carbon free and SMUD has a goal to reach zero carbon in its electricity production by 2030. For more information on SMUD's Zero Carbon Plan and its customer programs, visit smud.org.
Many of us have walked through major remodels. Maybe to modernize the look of your home. Or maybe you were forced to remodel due to a disaster of fire, termites, or a flood.
Right now, the Elk Grove HART and the City of Elk Grove, in regard to homeless support, are going through a major remodel due to the sudden closing of Sacramento Self Help Housing. Our navigator was no longer employed, we were unable to put any families or individuals into our transitional houses, we had no caseworkers, and even the ownership of the houses was in flux. It became abundantly clear that we had no option but to remodel.
The beauty of a remodel, for whatever the reason, is that you get to transform a mess of what wasn't working. And for us, I mean a "mess" literally. Suddenly we had no lawn care, no way to pay the utility bills or most importantly, no options to give our unhoused neighbors who were truly impacted by it.
As Elk Grove HART's Diane Lampe likes to say, "It was time to stop, drop and roll." That's just what we did. With the amazing leadership of Sarah Bontrager, our Housing Program Manager for the City of Elk Grove, the HART board and city staff, we started the remodel.
I am glad to report that after a lot of hard work and thinking outside of the box, it is going beautifully. We can see the finished product in sight. As with most remodels it will be so much better than before. During this time frame, the City has helped 12 families move into our subsidized apartments and continues to use Federal COVID-19 money for motel stays. The City is hiring, not one, but two navigators! A new, experienced company called City Net will be taking over the management of the transitional houses. The Core Wellness Center has found a permanent home in Elk Grove.
Ballot Measure E passed a 1% sales tax, part of which is slated to go towards supporting the unhoused. For the first time, the City has put out a bid (RFP) for a possible single site winter shelter for this coming winter using some of the Measure E money.
It is common to become weary and frustrated during a remodel, and we have been both of those. But it is important to keep your eye on the finished product, to see it through so you can reap the benefits. That’s exactly what we are doing. This is a season of transition and we have held the course. I fervently believe that Elk Grove will be a better and stronger city in supporting our unhoused because of this. Stay tuned...
The Cooling Center is open to anyone who lacks shelter or adequate home cooling. Operating hours will be Noon to 8 p.m. each day. A limited number of animal kennels will be available to house pets, if needed.
Elk Grove Police Department will staff the space. Organizers initiated the opening of the cooling center in response to the excessive heat warning issued for the region by the National Weather Service Sacramento. Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures of 100 to 110 are expected through Sunday evening.
Residents of all ages are encouraged to take the following precautions during an excessive heat warning:
Avoid outdoor activities in the direct sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and
Keep hydrated; and
Stay in a cool space; and
Avoid area waterways as a means to cool off. Rivers continue to run cold and fast and present dangerous conditions for people of all ages.
Thanks to incredibly generous donations from more than 82 donors from our EG HART community, we raised more than $ 28,671 during the 24-hour Big Day of Giving 2023 - enough to support our three transition homes for most of the year!
Congratulations go out to Rebecca Davis who won the 2-night stay in a two-bedroom villa at the Marriott Grand Residence in South Lake Tahoe.
Rebecca (Becky) is a retired Elk Grove Unified School District administrator, a former President of Elk Grove Rotary, and a life-long supporter of a variety of Elk Grove community nonprofits. We are so excited to have this prize go to such a deserving person. Congratulations, Becky!
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 2, 2024 when EG HART will participate once again in the regional Big Day of Giving fundraising campaign.
Until then, thank you from the bottom of our “HARTs” for your amazing generosity!
Elk Grove HART celebrated a "first" this year with the birth of baby Lilly in one of our transitional houses.
Lilly arrived on December 28th and she is thriving. Meanwhile, her mom plans for their upcoming move to the Gardens at Quail Run 2 Apartment complex.
Elk Grove HART board member, Dave Neves, has composed an original song in Lilly's honor. Please click the link below to listen and reflect on what "might have been" had Lilly's mom not found Elk Grove HART and supporters like you, who can make HART's work possible.
“Get a job” is a painful refrain that most of the unhoused have heard more than once. Not only did Lexie and Jacob actually have jobs, but they also were going to school full time. And Lexie found out this weekend that she made the honor roll, even while she was unhoused the entire time!
What does that look like? Every other day a $13 shower at a truck stop. Riding the light rail or bus during the day, getting off at midnight and then walking five miles to their jobs at the shipping company that started at 3:00 a.m. Then getting off work at 10:00 am to go to classes. Sleep for a couple of hours and start all over again. After three months of living outside, they were able to purchase a car. This at least gave them a sanctuary where they could sleep and keep their belongings.
Giving up was not an option. They wanted their children back. Not from the system, but from relatives who didn’t feel like living in a car gave children much security. A sad reality Lexie and Jacob knew was true.
HART met them at the Red Cross evacuation center during the floods. They had found a quiet place to sleep.Bundled up with blankets over their heads, they almost seemed invisible until one day they asked, “What about us?”
The beauty of HART is that we see each person and their situation individually. With federal money still available from Covid we were able to aid them by paying their deposit and the first month’s rent on an apartment. They now savor the warmth and hot showers on demand that once were hard to find. Their new apartment is fully furnished with gently used furniture from HART. They have a great place for their kids to live. After six long months, Easter was their first day together as a family.
We are so proud of them! Lexie will be done with school soon while Jacob has finished and is working at his externship. One day soon, the shipping company will be in their past and professional jobs will be theirs. We’re so glad that HART could be there to help give them a step up into their new home.
Please be a part of the Big Day of Giving to help encourage those who feel forgotten and abandoned to keep moving forward. We’re thankful that Lexie and Jacob will no longer have to hear the ugly command, “Get a job!”
Big Day of Giving is just around the corner on Thursday, May 4th! But the donation link is live NOW!
Her text read, "I just got the keys", but there was so much more to her story. Twenty years of domestic violence left her feeling no bigger than an amoeba. Yet her courage was awe inspiring. She said it was for her girls. Her two teenage daughters had witnessed their dad push their two-year-old brother down the stairs. They had watched their mom cower in fear, unable to defend herself or them from the onslaught of attacks. She had tried to leave once before after he broke her wrist but had no support and was too ashamed to ask.
With new resolve she stepped out of that door one more time, knowing that he would hunt her with a vengeance. One of HART's board members caught wind of her plight and reached out to her. HART put her and her family in a hotel that night and started looking for solutions, but we didn't have to look far. She was industrious, finding a good paying job and an apartment, but there was a glitch.
The day before her move in, the apartment complex refused to provide all the documentation necessary for her to access HART funds (grant money from the City of Elk Grove) to help with her deposit and first month’s rent. She was devastated. We were devastated! She had already paid to have PG&E and SMUD turned on. We had collected furniture for her new apartment. Now it all came to a screeching halt.
As we desperately started looking at other options, she refused to give up. The next morning, she drove to the apartment’s corporate headquarters to plead her case. They were closed. Dejected, she turned to walk away just as a woman walked out, a woman named Faith. After hearing her story Faith made a few phone calls and said it was all taken care of. The apartment was hers!
Over and over again she tried to express her elation, relief and gratitude. She said it best: "I jumped off a cliff and now I am flying!" She wants her children to live without fear and to grow up to be strong and courageous - just like their mom.
The Big Day of Giving is an opportunity to support people in our community who are struggling and have often lost hope. When they can barely stand, our dedicated volunteers help them learn to walk again.