Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 25, 2011

Holiday Fund donates $147,000 to nonprofits

'Support we receive is enormously valuable,' Axis Community Health CEO says

Checks in the amount of $29,473.55 have been distributed to five nonprofit organizations named as beneficiaries of the 2010 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund campaign.

The campaign, the seventh for the Weekly, raised more than $147,000. The Tri-Valley Community Foundation again provided matching funds for $50,000 of the direct contributions.

Representatives of Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Axis Community Health, ValleyCare Health System Foundation and Tri-Valley Humane Society accepted the checks that were distributed by Gina Channell-Allen, publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly; Jeb Bing, editor; and David Rice, president of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation.

"Your generous grant will be used to purchase food and supplies to feed those most in need here in the Tri-Valley area," said Linda McKeever, executive director of Open Heart Kitchen.

"Food is a basic human need, yet thousands right here in the Tri-Valley area start each day not knowing where their next meal will come from," she said. "Hunger is impacting our community in greater numbers than ever before, and we need you to help us make a difference.

"In 2010, we have seen the demographic of those we serve changing, with the largest increase coming from our newly underemployed and unemployed families," McKeever said.

She said that Open Heart Kitchen served more than 214,000 meals last year, including to one family that was a donor to Open Heart last year before one parent lost his job and his wife's job was cut to part-time.

"After losing their home, they found themselves in need of a helping hand, McKeever said. "Together, with the communities' generosity and support, we can provide that safety net against hunger for our neighbors during their time of need."

Sue Compton, chief executive officer of Axis Community Health, agreed.

"This generous donation, which totaled nearly $30,000, will allow us to provide 200 more medical visits for children whose families are struggling during these tough economic times," she said. "Support from the community is especially important this year as we struggle with limited resources to make health care available to the rapidly growing number of people who are in need."

Axis is the sole provider of primary care medical services for the many Tri-Valley residents who are low income and do not have health insurance.

Compton said: "The need for our services is growing at a rapid pace as more and more of our friends and neighbors are experiencing tough times. We currently provide services for nearly 14,000 Tri-Valley residents and we are enrolling 400 new medical patients each month.

"The support we receive to provide this care is not keeping pace with the enormous need for services. Last year we provided more than 3,000 medical visits that were uncompensated. Just six months into the current fiscal year, we have already provided more than 4,000 visits that will not be compensated.

"We rely on support from foundations and the community to cover this gap, and the support we receive from the Holiday Fund is enormously valuable, as it will allow us to provide nearly 200 more medical visits this year. For a child who is struggling with an asthma attack, a pregnant woman who needs medical monitoring, or a senior with diabetes, this makes an enormous difference in their lives. We are very grateful to the Pleasanton Weekly and everyone in this wonderful, caring community who contribute to the Holiday Fund."

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