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As the year comes to a close, we look toward 2021 with optimism and hope for what the new year will bring. If the past nine months have taught us anything, it’s that we need to cherish the times where joy, hope and family prevail. Small things become big things.   
 
Unfortunately, these past nine months have also taught us that food insecurity is more prevalent than ever. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment has soared and food insecurity is on the rise. According to Feeding America, 50 million people may face hunger in the U.S. during  2020—including more than 17 million children. Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community, including your own. 
 
This season’s newsletter spotlights two of our members and the great work they are doing to fight hunger.  We also share some ways you can help give back in your local communities.

Feeding Families in San Francisco
There are currently 513 volunteers at the Mission Food Hub. Low rider cars deliver groceries to families recovering from COVID-19, and for the holidays will sponsor the "SANTA CRUISE" delivering gifts to children in recovery with COVID-19, dealing with special needs, and challenged by disabilities.

The Mission Food Hub started in San Francisco eight months ago in the garage of its founder, Self-Help member Roberto Hernandez.  Mr. Hernandez started by calling his close friends, asking them if they could donate groceries to neighborhood families, who found themselves struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID-19 crisis.
 
The project continued to grow until donations filled three rooms in a nearby warehouse.  Community members and local foundations are supporting the organization with generous contributions, but the number of families seeking relief has grown exponentially. What started as a weekly resource to 500 San Francisco families has now blossomed into a project that serves groceries to nearly 7,000 families each week, and the line for food is often several blocks long.
 
Hundreds of volunteers work together at the Mission Food Hub’s warehouse to make sure that no one goes unfed, and that the food offered is culturally appropriate and nutritious. 
 
“Many of the people we feed have no access to government benefits and would go hungry without our mutual support,” says Mr. Hernandez.  “Children, elders, immigrants, the disabled and families suffering from the COVID-19 infection have been hit really hard by this.”
 
Self-Help Federal is honored to partner with Mr. Hernandez and the Mission Food Hub through our San Francisco Mission Branch, where you can also drop off toys and food.  To learn more about ways to volunteer or donate food, toys, clothing, etc., contact Mr. Hernandez directly via email here.  Keep up the great work, Roberto!

Spreading the Love in Englewood,
South Chicago

With the holidays here in full swing, we are entering a season of gratitude and service. Many of us are stepping up our efforts to volunteer, donate and help make this a better holiday season for the many people—far too many—who find themselves in need. Shepherd's Hope in a Chicago neighborhood known as Englewood, is doing just that. 
 
Located on Chicago's South Side, Englewood is a historic and well-known neighborhood. Once a site of busy shopping districts and a central intersection for railway systems, Englewood has undergone significant transformation over the years and continues to be a focus of new renovation and revitalization projects. Shepherd’s Hope, a Self-Help borrower, provides a wide variety of services to this community.

Earlier this year, a Self-Help loan helped Shepherd’s Hope continue neighborhood services in a 50,000 square-foot building they purchased in 2018 from the Chicago Public School District. The building has 27 multi-purpose classrooms, plus a kitchen and dining room, a library, a 340-seat auditorium and a gymnasium.

Community services provided by Shepherd’s Hope include:
  • Food for 5,000 people per week (food pantry and soup kitchen)
  • Clothes, coats and gloves for 500 people per year
  • Medical assistance for 60 people/week
  • Free legal aid for 30 people per week
  • Daycare for 20 children/day
  • Educational assistance for 80 students per day
  • After-school programs for 250 students per day 4 days/week
  • Basketball camps and clinics for 50 youth weekly
  • Over 100 attend church services and 50 attend weekly Bible studies
  • Friday Night Life events for youth (motivational speakers and movies)
  • Full-service vision clinic including free glasses
In recent months, six food distribution sites in surrounding neighborhoods have closed, but Shepherd's Hope has been able to stay open and even expand because of the strong community support and a long list of regular and committed volunteers.  Food donations have increased, even gourmet food donations from nearby airport restaurants that would otherwise go to waste.

We thank you, Shepherd’s Hope, for inspiring us every day with your dreams, hard work and never-give-up spirit.
Other Ways to Give Back

Kind actions fill our souls with love. Let’s celebrate those actions and do what we can for others.

  • Donate and volunteer at food banksFood banks are at the frontlines of fighting hunger among families that are struggling. These organizations are in great need of volunteers, food donations and funds.
  • Volunteer with a local nonprofit. At Volunteer Match, you can get in touch with a nonprofit in your area that needs your help.
  • Shop local. We are at risk of losing many of our beloved neighborhood businesses. Do whatever you can to help these businesses come back stronger than ever.
  • Send holiday cards to local senior citizen homes and first responders—to the emergency room at your local hospital, for example. 
  • On November 12, Self-Help Federal Credit Union held a virtual Annual Members’ Meeting to conduct business, review 2020 and celebrate our 40th anniversary. The meeting included a financial review; Board elections; a message from our CEO and co-founder, Martin Eakes; information on the Paycheck Protection Program, including video stories from two of our borrowers; and a full review of the evolving footprint of Self-Help Federal in various locations. In case you missed it, you can find the meeting minutes here.
  • As Self-Help finishes out its 40th Anniversary year, check out the Milestones timeline that features highlights from these past four decades. Thank you to our members, supporters, partners who helped make it happen. We are looking forward to continuing the journey together!
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income people who file simple tax returns, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking people. We are seeking volunteers at our West Oakland, San Francisco or Pittsburg VITA tax sites in January, February, March and April of 2020. Click here to learn more.
  • Career Opportunities. Do you like what we do at Self-Help Federal? Would you like to join our team, or know someone who might be interested? Click here for a list of our current job openings.
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Copyright © 2018 Self-Help Federal Credit Union, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Self-Help Federal Credit Union
1970 Broadway, Suite 350
Oakland, CA 94612

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