Harbor House Ministries is a nonprofit, community development organization that serves families in the San Antonio district of Oakland. We provide a safe place for opportunities, resources, and relationships to be shared so that all families in Oakland can flourish. Since 1972, Harbor House has faithfully served thousands of families through high quality programs that nurture the heart, soul, mind and body. We offer after-school tutoring and enrichment, leadership development, spiritual formation, food and clothing distribution, and English as a Second Language classes.
Ways we are assisting families during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- First, we are distributing grab-and-go food bags every Tuesday and Thursday morning from our parking lot. We’ve seen a 300% increase in the number of families coming to receive food from us since Shelter in Place began. Anyone in need can come to receive fresh produce, rice, pasta, bread, peanut butter, oatmeal and a variety of other pantry staples. We also set out books and board games during the distribution for families to take home to their kids.
- Second, we are offering significant educational support to children who are normally part of our after-school program. We collected, purchased, and distributed Chromebooks to children who did not have necessary technology at home. We also paired children with a one-on-one virtual tutor who meets with them 2-3 times per week via Zoom, Facetime, or whatever tool the child has available to work on learning activities. This has been hugely successful and a terrific way for kids to stay engaged in learning (and even make gains in areas where they were behind) during this time. We are also loaning out books and educational materials from our library. And last week, we delivered care packages to every child and teen in our program – filled with activities and supplies such as paper, pencils, crayons, beads, and a variety of arts/crafts supplies.
- Third, we are continuing to invest in the youth leaders who are doing internships at Harbor House. The high school students who were already working with our younger students before the pandemic began are continuing on in their leadership development by meeting with our staff on Zoom and then checking in on the younger students that they mentor. They are making videos that the kids can watch on our YouTube channel and also personally calling the kids to ask how they are doing and if they want to play on-line games together. These social emotional check-ins are a terrific boost for both the teens and the elementary students that they mentor. These youth interns are continuing to receive their paid stipends from Harbor House during this time.
- Finally, we have started a Relief Fund for our families who have lost jobs and need assistance paying rent, utilities, or medical bills. Harbor House has already committed $17,000 to this fund from our general operating budget and we are hoping others will join this effort.
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Thank you !