The Birth of SF CARES
Saint Paulus entered into a “collaborative” relationship with SF Night Ministry and Welcome, both nonprofit groups which have creatively and effectively cared for the marginalized and poor of our San Francisco community. Since October of 2010, representatives from each of the governing boards of these three organization have been meeting, identifying common values, sharing visions and figuring out what God is up to when we come together. What emerged in our association, was an entity called SF CARES, the letters meaning Compassion, Advocacy, Resilience, Education, the new creation of collaboration – sharing values, resources, energy, and direction.
The first fruits of SF CARES was the hiring of a “volunteer coordinator,” the Rev. Valerie McEntee, to help organize, solicit, train, manage and gather up volunteers, wherever they may come from, to assist in the effective delivery of the many ministries which these three organizations maintain. Volunteers are always needed to operate the Free Farm (at St. Paulus), to cook and serve dinners at Welcome and the Friendship Banquet, to staff the “crisis lines” which operates every night from 10:00pm until 4:00am under the supervision of Night Ministry, to sort and organize the clothing that is donated, to accompany people to appointments with medical folks or government agencies and to provide food for the Open Cathedral gatherings on Sunday. And this is only a partial list, with many more volunteer opportunities just waiting to be discovered. Valerie has already launched SF CARES into cyberspace (Facebook, blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org) with much more marketing and outreach planned. Tune in and get on board!
That which has emerged from this collaborative is only known to God, but but our best guess is that the combined energies and creative juices which have been joined in SF CARES, along with good staffing and organization, will allow for compassion, advocacy, resilience and education to be advanced among the poor with great power and dramatic consequence. We look forward to the days ahead, watching and participating in what God continues to do in our midst.