We used to run robust monthly breakfast service opportunities where corporate volunteers cooked and served meals to our residents at multiple locations. We also had volunteer groups take on various beautification projects at our housing sites. All these activities halted in March of 2020 and have not resumed since.
However, we found that many corporate partners have big hearts, and they are open to trying new ways of giving and engaging. Companies like Palo Alto Networks and Activision hosted virtual volunteer events to have their employees assemble care packages for veterans in the comfort of their own homes and send us the finished products for distribution. Other companies like Front, Zuora, and Mizuho used their own company sites to host small group volunteer events for packaging hygiene products to donate to us. The Golden State Warriors partnered with Hennessy to host a “Honor Your Heroes” event at the outdoor courtyard of Chase Center and had their employee volunteers assemble care packages for veterans.
We also saw increased partnerships from other nonprofits and civic groups. Berkeley Rotary Club, public libraries, chapters of Elk Lodge, local politicians’ offices, Oakland Police Department, and San Francisco VA Medical Center have all engaged with us in different ways to work toward our common objective of supporting unhoused veterans. We were also encouraged when local middle and high school student groups reached out to inquire about the things they could do to help homeless veterans during the pandemic.
As we continue to cope with the effects of the pandemic in our community, we are keenly aware that we cannot do our work alone. We welcome new partnership opportunities and hope our pre-COVID partners will return to working with us when it is safe to do so.