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St. Joseph's Family Center Food Room and Lord's Table by the Gilroy Compassion Center (GCC) in partnership with others. According to Jan Bernstein Chargin, Board Chair of GCC, “Two proposed parks would each be comprised of roughly 200 tiny homes with a central facility providing internet connectivity, a laundry, restrooms, showers and a club- house, as well as onsite support services like needs assessment; healthcare, social and legal services; vocational training and self-supporting commercial initiatives. Chargin credits John Taft, a Realtor with RJ Dyer, with bringing the tiny home park concept to life. “He had the right skill set and the heart for this. He’s been passionate about being involved in a solution to homelessness. “It will take a public-private partnership and the community as a whole to develop, manage and operate the Compassion Parks,” she added. GCC provides case management as well as food, clothing, and a variety of services to people in need in the Gilroy community. Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen Founded in 1980, Loaves & Fishes delivers nearly 2,500 meals a week to the hungry in Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Hot nutritious meals are prepared by kitchen staff in Morgan Hill and delivered around the county by over 4,500 volunteers (nearly 300 in South County). Local partners include Community Solutions and Rebekah Children’s Services. Gisela Bushey, CEO of Loaves & Fishes, described the need for corpo- rate support: “We’d love to have food producers and distributors donate fresh fruits and vegetables. For most of the people we serve, the meal we provide is the only meal they get that day.” Kaiser Aims for Impact part of the Foundation’s Cecelia’s Closet program, it will serve hospital patients in need of clothing upon discharge from the hospital. According to Cecelia Ponzini, founder and CEO of the Foundation, “Kaiser is keeping people healthy, they’re not in the clothing business. That’s where we come in. If someone arrives at the hospital in soiled clothing, the hospital provides temporary paper clothing when they’re discharged. We can provide clean clothes so patients, including those who are homeless, can leave the hospital with dignity. That’s how we know we’re making a difference.” Cecelia’s Closet and Food Pantry continue to offer food and clothing for families and children in need in South County. Serving Homeless Vets The shift from military to civilian life can be difficult. Veterans without jobs, support systems, or homes to come back to may be uncomfortable asking for help. If they’re suffering from physical or emotional trauma they may isolate them- selves and fall into substance abuse. All this puts them at risk of homelessness. To serve these veterans, the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VA) formed a special partnership with One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding (OSC), a Morgan Hill nonprofit that provides equine-assisted therapy. Kaiser Welcomes Cecelia’s Closet According to Rebecca Lesnik, Lead At the local level, the Edward Boss Recreation Therapist for the VA, “Our Prado Foundation was invited by Kaiser clients are transformed by spending Permanente to establish a storage area for time around horses. When our veterans donated clothing at the San Jose Medical are busy working with the horses, the Center emergency care building. As walls come down. They’re more open In May 2018, Kaiser Permanente pledged $200 million to fight homelessness. The organization’s goal: preventing displace- ment or homelessness of lower- and middle-income households. According to Bechara Choucair, MD, and Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer, “As a family physician, I’ve provided medical care to the homeless, and have seen first-hand the impact that living without a home can have on some- one’s health.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 gmhtoday.com 33