Skip to main content

Finding the Silver Lining




















And so we continue into the second month of stay-at-home orders and social distancing.  Aside from simply overcoming boredom (thanks, YouTube) and trying to retain some type of social connection (thanks, Zoom), a major challenge these days is to simply not become consumed by the constant stream of bad news.  Getting frequent updates on infection counts, hospitalization rates, number of fatalities, etc,...is almost overwhelming.  My goal (other than beating Rita in a pull-up contest) is to  try to put the phone away and focus elsewhere.  I recently found some rays of sunlight shining through the clouds in our storm - and thought I'd share:


In the photo above, Mignon Belongie is volunteering in the Samaritan House kitchen.  I first met Mignon at a Arboretum Society volunteer event in Central Park last fall - helping to replant the butterfly garden.  Mignon also volunteered at our February GROW San Mateo event in Beresford Park. 

Every Thursday afternoon at the Samaritan House in San Mateo, we've gotten to see Mignon - either packing grocery bags in the food pantry - or assembling hot meals in the kitchen.  It's so nice to see a familiar face (even if it's mostly covered by a mask).  There's little time for chatting or catching up as the kitchen cranks out hundreds of meals each day that are delivered to client homes and facilities such as the Safe Harbor Shelter.  Last year over a million meals were served by the kitchen - really impressive. 

As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic is an enormous challenge for Samaritan House.  A huge spike in the need for help is straining resources - while critical adjustments had to be made to keep staff, clients & volunteers safe from the virus.  For example, they've completely reengineered the food distribution process so that clients simply pull their cars into the parking lot, have groceries loaded into their trunk by volunteers, then drive off without ever needing to get out of their car.  There is a nearly continuous line of cars each day seeking food assistance.

Thanks to volunteers like Mignon, dedicated staff and generous donors in the community - Samaritan House is rising to the occasion - a bright ray of sunshine peering through the otherwise ominous sky.  In this time of great need - Samaritan House needs your help to continue their work.  Here are two ways to help:

1) Donate.  Please consider a financial contribution to Samaritan House if you can afford it.  Here's the link:  https://samaritanhousesanmateo.org/donate/

2) Volunteer.  https://samaritanhousesanmateo.org/volunteer/

Thank you, neighbors.  I look forward to seeing you all and digging our hands in the soil when this storm blows through.  Until then, be safe & be well.

-Bill S.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peaches and more

Yesterday we handed out the sweetest of peaches thanks to a generous donation from Circle Foot Permaculture .   Along with the quarts of peaches, we also provided Samaritan House Food Pharmacy clients a handout with nutritional information on peaches - how they impact your blood sugar - and a recipe for a Roasted Peach Parfait.  Here are links to the handout: Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (English) Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (Spanish) It all seems somewhat routine at this point:  gather donations of locally grown produce quickly pull together helpful nutritional information based on the week's donations In retrospect, this is the culmination of 3 years of effort to create a network of local gardeners, foragers and volunteers - with a goal of becoming a reliable source of fresh produce for lower income families struggling with diabetes and other health disorders.    While it has been known for some time that eating fruits & vegetables can positively impact a person's he

The December Garden

Snap Peas (& a garden gnome!) Beresford Park Community Garden December 15, 2021 It's hard to describe just how good the winter gardening is in San Mateo.  While most gardens across the country have long gone into a frosty hibernation - we're, at long last,  getting the rain we've been without for the last 9 months or more.  It's finally time to turn off the irrigation systems and let Mother Nature do her thing.  The new moisture is creating a full-on nutrient soup that flows through our soil, fueling an explosion of activity within the soil food web.   Fungal activity is pushing mushrooms to the surface.  Our favorite spring flowers of nasturtium, poppies, sweat peas, borage and yarrow are in a race to establish their growing territory.  And, thankfully, the newly moist soil makes pulling up oxalis, mallow and bindweed sprouts a bit easier. As you would expect, plants thriving now in the garden were initially planted out in the fall.  Those crowns of cauliflower and

Getting Started: Wine Barrel Planters

Gardening in a small, urban space requires a bit of creativity.  Our challenges are many: buildings & trees frequently block sunlight;  various critters like to snack on new seedlings and just ripe fruits & vegetables; and here in San Mateo, irrigation is a must.  To increase your probability of gardening success, consider adding recycled wine barrels into your urban garden.    Having tried many types of growing containers over the years, the wine barrel has made it to the top of my list.  My galvanized tubs always seemed to need more water than wooden barrels - perhaps due to the different heating/cool properties of the metal vs. wood?  Aesthetically, a recycled barrel looks like it's been there for years - which I love.  And the smell!  There is no comparison. Cost is definitely a consideration.  A wine barrel at Home Depot is $40 whereas a 35 gallon galvanized tub is $55.  You might say that growing in the ground is $0.00 - but in some locations, the extra 18 inches off