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St. Joseph Health Provides $1 Million to Address Hunger and Homelessness in Local Communities Across California

05/26/2016

May 25, 2016, Irvine, CA –St. Joseph Health (SJH) today announced it will provide $1 million in grants to 33 non-profit organizations that help provide basic needs for the hungry and homeless in Sonoma, Napa, Humboldt and Orange counties and the High Desert communities.

Reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community is at the core of St. Joseph Health’s values, and this initiative puts those values into action. With every grant initiative, St. Joseph Health partners with non-profit organizations to offer solutions to pressing health concerns among low-income and underserved people. This work is made possible through the commitment of St. Joseph Health’s California hospitals, which each contribute 10 percent of their net income as part of their dedication to creating healthier communities and serving the common good.

“St. Joseph Health is a faith-based organization committed to improving the overall health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve,” said Dan Dwyer, regional vice president, mission integration, St. Joseph Health. “This initiative is aimed at providing for the most immediate needs of the poor and disadvantaged, the need for food and the need for shelter. Hunger and homelessness are huge obstacles to health and well-being, and we realize that food insecurity is connected with chronic health problems, poor performance in school and higher levels of anxiety. We want to support our community partners who are trying to make a change in this area.”

More families in California live in poverty or near-poverty than most people think: According to a recent report from the United Way of California, one in three households statewide do not have enough income to meet their basic costs of living. Those struggling families are particularly burdened by high costs for food. Even having two stable, full-time jobs does not guarantee that a family will be able to make ends meet if those jobs pay at or near the minimum wage.

And hunger in California crosses city and county lines. “Many people think Napa County is an area of wealth but the truth is that we have many people struggling to find enough food and appropriate shelter,” said Drene Johnson, executive director of Community Action Napa Valley, the county’s safety net for hungry and homeless people. The organization will use its $40,000 grant from St. Joseph Health to provide breakfast and dinner to 320 homeless adults, give food to more than 10,000 people a month, and more. “St. Joseph Health’s support allows us to continue our mission of alleviating hunger and homelessness in our communities.”

Other programs that received funding include:

  • Redwood Empire Food Bank, which operates 30 farm-fresh produce pantries in nine towns throughout Sonoma County. The program provides food to more than 9,700 low-income people across the county each week.
  • Arcata House in Humboldt County plans to use St. Joseph Health funds to provide emergency shelter for 120 clients for three to nine months, to provide care coordination for 120 clients, and help up to 90 clients get the skills they need to secure permanent housing.
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which meets emergency food needs of 10,000 very low-income people a year through its Rural Food Program by delivering fresh produce, grains, canned goods and other staple foods to sites in rural communities in Sonoma and Lake counties.

Eight programs in Northern California received funds, as did 19 in Orange County and six in the High Desert. Grants range from $10,000 to $40,000.

About St. Joseph Health:

St. Joseph Health (SJH) is a not-for-profit, integrated health care delivery system that includes 16 hospitals, physician organizations, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services and community outreach services. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, SJH remains rooted to the sisters' traditions of assessing a community's needs and adapting strategies to meet those needs. Today, SJH continues its work in the tradition of the sisters through its wide networks of outstanding services. In each region it serves, SJH reaches out to care for the poor and vulnerable, establishing and supporting many programs and services that benefit the community.

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