COVID-19: The Strength of Gilead House

Hi to all.
My wife and I were watching a movie at home the other night – made a big thing of popcorn so it would feel like we were at our favorite theater.  At one point, a scene showed a couple having dinner at a very busy restaurant.  Lots of well-dressed people.  Lots of activity.  Lots of talking.  Lots of laughing.  So festive.  So pre-coronavirus.  Seems hard to comprehend how much has changed over such a short period of time.
And while it’s easy to focus on how much has changed, there is great value and comfort in recognizing how much remains the same.  For those of us at Gilead House, it’s the appreciation we have for the enormous support we get from so many every single day:
  • It’s the couple that stops by Safeway and picks up loaves of bread that Safeway can’t sell and brings to the house.
  • It’s the woman and her daughter, still home from college, who were cleaning out a closet and decided to bring over a basket of games for the kids.
  • It’s the ones who have sent in gift cards and donations to ensure that our families have something to eat since none of the moms are able to work and earn any money.
  • It’s the prayer group who remembers our moms and their kids during good times and bad.
  • It’s the mentors who are talking daily with the moms and providing reassurance and support at a time when they as well may need both.
  • It’s the volunteers calling asking how they can remotely be of help.
The strength of Gilead House is the united efforts of all.  It’s those who had the vision of a safe place for homeless moms and their children.  It’s those who got Gilead House off the ground and guided it for its first 20 years.  It’s those who serve now as mentors and volunteers and tutors and so much more.  It’s those in the future who with God’s help will contribute to finding a solution to the crisis of homelessness.  Said best by Robert Kennedy in 1966 during a speech at the University of South Africa:
“Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lots of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
And yet while we have so much to be hopeful for, we must also pause to remember those who are suffering during these times.  One of those is one of our moms who learned that a close relative passed away yesterday morning from COVID-19.  Since the relative didn’t live in California, our mom doesn’t have the ability to travel to be with and grieve with her family.  As one of our mentors said after hearing the news, “There are no boundaries or fairness with COVID-19”.  So unfortunately true.  Our hearts are with all of those who are just trying to get by each day, hoping tomorrow will be better than today.
I know this is a unique moment.  And the fact that so many of you are thinking of others and continuing to send out ripples of hope through your actions, at what is a worrying and difficult time, speaks volumes of the kindness and compassion of the Gilead House community.  The generosity of spirit shown by so many during these times is the bedrock of what is good about humanity, and will be what helps us all get through this current crisis together.
Thank you for your ongoing support.  You’ve stepped up to help us in so many ways, and for that we are forever grateful.  For those who are able to continue their support – we thank you!  Donations of non-perishable food products, pantry staples, and gift cards are so helpful and appreciated.
God bless you and please stay safe.
Mike Smylie
President, Board of Directors
(415) 895-5575