By Maggie Bedord
Last week I ran into an old friend, Julie, who was going through a difficult time and was on the verge of being homeless. When I suggested that she contact Sonoma Overnight Support, she wasn’t sure what to expect and was fearful. I explained that I do volunteer work for them and that the shelter is a pleasant, clean and safe environment, and that the staff is very warm and knowledgeable and they might be able to find her the help she needs.
After spending a cold night in her car, she decided to go to the shelter and see what it was all about. They talked with her and put her up in a temporary, emergency bed. After working with the case manager, they were able to connect her with her family on the East Coast. She just contacted me to let me know that she was very grateful for the help she received. Julie is now home with family and out of the cold.
For anyone going through a hard time, Sonoma Overnight Support offers three programs: The Haven Emergency Shelter, a Community Drop-in Resource and Information Center and the Brown Baggers Food Program.
The Haven Emergency Shelter can accommodate 13 people – men, women and families with children – with a warm safe bed and three meals a day for up to 120 days. They have the use of laundry facilities, transportation, one-on-one case-management support and referral services.
The Community Drop-in Resource Center is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The low-income and homeless community can get life skills support, education and re-training resources, as well as food, laundry and transportation.
The Brown Baggers deliver more than 12,000 meals a year to low/no-income men, women and children in the Sonoma Valley, through weekly soup kitchens at La Luz Center and the Grange Hall, and through the distribution of more than 200 burritos weekly.
For more information, check out sonomaovernightsupport.org, or call 939-6777. If you know of anyone who needs help, or if you would like to volunteer or donate, please contact them.
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Maggie Bedord is a Sonoma Valley resident who volunteers for S.O.S. and is grateful for all of the members of the Sonoma community who help those in need.