Local nonprofits get $1M in 'safety net' grants

Food and shelter are focus of aid from Silicon Valley Community Foundation and San Mateo County

Thirty-two San Mateo County nonprofit organizations will share $1 million in "safety net" grants from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the county, the Foundation announced Tuesday.

The funds will support organizations that provide food and shelter to needy San Mateo County residents, including $15,000 to East Palo Alto's Collective Roots Garden Project, $20,000 to the Ecumenical Hunger Program and $40,000 to St. Anthony's Catholic Church's Padua Dining Room.

St. Anthony's, which provides free hot meals and bags of groceries to low-income south San Mateo County residents, has seen its donations drop off while demand has increased about 10 percent this year, volunteer Bob Dehn said.

"The grant will be very welcomed to help fill the gap" between donations received and the increase in need, according to Dehn.

The funding will go toward purchasing meat, dairy products and other food items that can't be donated, he said.

St. Anthony's expects to serve around 175,000 meals in 2009, Dehn said, with the $40,000 grant paying for around 12,000 of the meals.

David Kane, food-system change coordinator for East Palo Alto's Collective Roots Garden Project, said the grant would go toward distribution of $5 "EPA Fresh Checks" -- coupons that can be exchanged for fresh produce at the East Palo Alto farmers market.

The coupons will be available at the market to shoppers receiving federal nutrition assistance as well as through partner agencies such as the Ravenswood Family Health Clinic.

"The mission of the farmers market is to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable," Kane said. "The grant will help us reach those in need both in and outside of the governmental safety net."

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced that would provide the $1 million in May as a response to the rising need for funds and services due to the slumping economy. Nearly 50 organizations applied for funding with 32 being awarded grants.

The Foundation expects to announce $500,000 in grants to Santa Clara County food and shelter agencies in late July.

"With Silicon Valley's unemployment rate at an all-time high, nonprofit organizations that serve low-income families, laid off workers, seniors and others affected by the recession are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand for food and shelter," Foundation President Emmett D. Carson said in a press release.

The full list of grantees includes additional East Palo Alto and Menlo Park recipients, such as Community Legal Services and Ravenswood Family Health Center.

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Like this comment
Posted by Piercey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm

The $1 million in "safety net" grants from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and San Mateo county announced on Tuesday is some good news during a difficult economic period. Hoepfull donations will increase again as the economy improves.

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