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San Leandro woman leaves $25K surprise gift to homeless shelter

The Hayward-based Family Emergency Shelter Coalition was recently surprised by a donation from the last will and testament of Gertrude “Trude” Bloomfield Campe, a San Leandro resident who died nearly a year ago.

According to a FESCO spokesperson, Campe was “a retired nanny, an immigrant from England and a woman of modest means.” Read more about Campe and her gift in the press release after the jump. Continue Reading

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Volunteers honored, and shrinking CDGB funds at Hayward council

volunteersHayward had its annual proclamation ceremony honoring the various city volunteers on Tuesday. It also happens that National Volunteer Week is coming up, April 10-16. There’s been a “surge of volunteers,” said staff, with 630 names submitted for the honor this year compared with 520 last year. By the end of the ceremony, the front of the council chamber was packed with those receiving certificates for their good deeds.

 The council also received recommendations about how to divvy up federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which are given out by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Hayward received 29 applications this year, eight of them new, asking for a total of $2.4 million. Staff projects a decline in fed funding of 10 percent, which would bring available funds down to about $1.6 million. According to the staff report, “This projection is based on the information that is available at this time. It is unlikely the allocation will be increased; however, it is possible that the allocation could be reduced by an even greater percentage.”

Hayward’s Citizen’s Advisory Commission and staff made the recommendations to the City Council, which will come up for approval at a public hearing later this month.

Three of the applying organizations were considered ineligible for the CDBG funds because they didn’t meet certain criteria. For example, to get a federal Public Services grant, the city requires the service to be related to providing housing. While programs such as immigrant case management assistance, or a request for palette racks at a warehouse that distributes food to the needy, or an established child-care program may support residents find and keep housing, staff ruled the links were not clear and direct enough to qualify.

Three others were not recommended for various reasons, and the rest were recommended funding for the amount requested. The city’s Minor Home Repair Program, Animal Shelter and Small Business Revolving Loan Program were recommended to receive the most funding, the three accounting for over 40 percent of the total funds.

You can read the full staff report and see the recommendations here.

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Lighthouse LGBT center Casino Night fundraiser was aces

We had a blast at the Lighthouse Community Center Casino Night fundraiser Saturday, held in the Hayward City Hall rotunda. Delicious food, well-poured drinks, flashy entertainment and boisterous gaming while it lasted — I blew my fistfull of chips in rapid fashion at the Texas Hold ‘Em table, but my more skilled or luckier wife shared her winnings to keep me in the game a little longer.

lighthouse1Took this pic of the Golden Follies Dancers, a revue featuring performers ages 60 to 85.

“It’s a Las Vegas kind of singing revue,” director Susan Bostwick told the Contra Costa Times last year. “Our costumes are very elaborate, a lot of feathers.”

The Follies were one of many acts that would start at the top of the rotunda stairs and then descend into the crowd to raise the roof. There are a bunch more pics on this site – wife and I can be found in No. 66. Organizer Kari McAllister posted the following shout-outs on her Facebook site: Continue Reading

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FESCO honored for work with homeless

The Hayward-based Family Emergency Shelter Coalition was named a 2010 Food and Shelter Award recipient for the second straight year.

The coalition is one of 76 nonprofits nationwide to receive the award, which is aimed at getting the word out about nonprofits rated highly by GreatNonprofits.org.

FESCO helps homeless families move toward self-sufficiency through services such as mental health counseling, money management and cooking classes. Its goal is to end homelessness in Alameda County. Read the press release after the jump. Continue Reading

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Hayward firefighters could use more toys

Charities are hurting this Christmas season, including the Hayward chapter of the Salvation Army, as was mentioned in this article.

fftoydriveThe Hayward Fire Department’s annual toy drive is also way below the norm. “We have received less than 50 percent of what we normally get in donations,” said firefighter Matt Buckingham, who has led the drive for the past decade.

Over the course of the year, the firefighter’s union raises money through fundraisers to help buy the holiday toys, but with the lack of donations, they will probably have to dig deeper into their coffers to make up the difference.

The toys are delivered to local nonprofits that in turn distribute them to Hayward children who may not have received gifts this year.

It’s not too late: New toys can be donated at any of Hayward’s nine fire stations.