This afternoon I put on my hazmat bubble and ventured into the Tenderloin for my 12th Day of Giving. Haha just joking, but I was a little sad that I didn’t actually have a hazmat bubble. The ‘loin can be a uh… filthy place to be.
In all seriousness though, the Tenderloin, one of the neighborhoods in downtown San Francisco, has a lot of history to it, but these days is generally known for its reputation as a seedy part of town. Ian and I used to live in the next neighborhood over, and I briefly worked in the Tenderloin in the summer of 2010. Walking the 8 blocks to work was generally an experience in dodging, well… dodgy items on the street and being mildly concerned I might get mugged if I walked home after dark.
One of the great things about the Tenderloin, though, despite their challenges with crime, is the high number of organizations offering social services to those in need. Today I volunteered with an organization called the Curry Senior Center. The Center “provides services to seniors to promote independent living while maintaining their dignity and self-esteem,” through programs such as medical clinics, home visits, case management, substance abuse counseling, as well as serving a daily breakfast and lunch for seniors.
It’s not easy getting older, as any senior will tell you; between walking uphill to schools both ways as a child, to more serious issues such as rising health care costs, it can be overwhelming to navigate society’s waters as you age. The Curry Senior Center is one of the admirable organizations lending a hand out there to make sure these folks get the help that they need.
Today’s volunteer project was super easy. The Center is giving out $10 gift cards to Walgreen’s to each senior who comes for the daily lunch that they serve, so I helped put the gift cards into hand-drawn cards from a local school, and tie it all up with a ribbon. The Center was clean and well-organized, and I enjoyed their video about their services that they showed to the volunteers. It felt good to help out for a group in our community who is usually pretty under-served, and I almost forgot that I had to dodge creepy substances on the sidewalk to get there.
Tune in tomorrow to find out more about the most exciting volunteer opportunity EVER that I stumbled upon on my way home!
Want to Join Me in Giving? If you want to volunteer with the Curry Senior Center, or donate money to the organization, visit their website to learn more. Or look in your community for organizations that work with seniors to make sure that they have all of the help they need.