Students at St. Matthews Share Lunch with Samaritan House

We were so thrilled to have St. Matthews Day School students deliver sack lunches to the Samaritan House Kitchen this afternoon.

For many years, St. Matthews has partnered with Samaritan House to make and deliver these delicious lunches to our kitchen once a month. The school rotates this responsibility between grades throughout the year.

As part of the children’s service learning curriculum, St. Matthew’s students are also learning about the wide-range of needs in their community and how they as concerned individuals can help. The 5th & 6th grade students that came out to Samaritan House’s Kitchen for today’s donation filmed the event as part of a school project. The students we talked to said they are making the film to show to their fellow classmates what Samaritan House does, who we help, and why the sack lunch donation project St. Matthews takes part in is important.

We here at Samaritan House celebrate and appreciate this type of commitment to leadership and service. Thank you, St. Matthews!

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Samaritan House’s 2012 Volunteer Recognition Event

Volunteers who participate in all aspects of service at Samaritan House gathered September 20th, 2012 for Samaritan House’s Annual Volunteer Recognition Event. Volunteer, Aandy Ly, graciously donated his time and talents by creating the above video celebrating our 2012 Volunteer Honorees.

With the motto “Neighbor Helping Neighbor,” Samaritan House’s 2,000 annual volunteers represent caring individuals who are dedicated to helping their community. The wide variety of services donated by volunteers range from preparing and delivering food, to providing translation services, to area professionals who provide free medical and dental care.

At the Volunteer Recognition Event, Sammy Awards in 30 categories honored volunteers who have shown exemplary effort in support of Samaritan House programs. Recipients of the 2012 Sammy Awards were:

  • Travis Bennett, Administration
  • Detzaira Macias, Client Services
  • Genette Yogi-Kornfield, Development
  • Miriam Counts, Finance
  • Jon Froomin, Holiday
  • Maria Nadel, Kids Closet
  • Dr. Brian Sheppard, San Mateo Dental Clinic
  • Andrea Haynes, RDH, San Mateo Dental Clinic
  • Ness Morales, San Mateo Dental Clinic
  • Dr. Linda Lee, Redwood City Dental Clinic
  • Trish Ballard, RDH, Redwood City Dental Clinic
  • Mario Nunura, Redwood City Dental Clinic
  • Michaelian Endodontics, Redwood City & San Mateo Dental Clinics
  • Dr. Pardis Kelly, San Mateo Medical Clinic
  • Dr. Michael Drinnan, San Mateo Medical Clinic
  • Norma Berliner-Salz, San Mateo Medical Clinic
  • Beverly Gaines, San Mateo Medical Clinic
  • Ed Miller, San Mateo Medical Clinic
  • Dr. Celso Ravelo, Redwood City Medical Clinic
  • Claudia Schinn, Redwood City Medical Clinic
  • Hillside Church, Safe Harbor
  • Walter Mlynar, Safe Harbor
  • Brad Ferris, Safe Harbor
  • Richelle Gibson, Safe Harbor
  • Lily Ryan, Breadbasket
  • Helping Hands, Breadbasket
  • Wendi Ellis, Dining Room
  • Ed Flank, Food Pantry
  • Kathryn Taylor, Kitchen
  • Temple Beth El, Kitchen Weekend
  • Chris Panos, Mobile Meals
  • St. Bartholomew Church, Mobile Meals
  • Hillsborough North, Wee Care
  • Hillsborough West, Wee Care
  • Shoreview United Methodist Church, Worker Resource Center
  • Elena Chiong, Special Programs

Samaritan House also presented its highest honor, the Kelly Award, to long-time volunteer Betty Johnson in recognition of the many hours of extraordinary service and considerable expertise that she has given to our organization and the community. 

Generous people who donate their time are our greatest treasure. We simply could not accomplish all that we do without the talent, compassion, and energy of our volunteers!

Interested in volunteering at Samaritan House? See our website for details on how you can get involved:

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Samaritan House Student Video Captures Agency’s Spirit and Mission

You could hear a pin drop. That was how quiet it was in the Ballroom of the San Francisco Hyatt, Burlingame, on Saturday, March 12th. It was the premiere of a unique video prepared by Communications students at Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont.  The 7-minute video was indeed one of the highlights of the Gala,  which was attended by over 300 members of the community, many of whom are long-time supporters of Samaritan House. It was shown in part to set the backdrop for the agency’s “Fund-A-Need” Program, which this year had a goal of $50,000 for prescription medications for clients in need who could not otherwise afford them. The goal this year was surpassed, with a record $70,000 donated.

The video was the culmination of a 3-month long Communications class project, in which students visited and conducted interviews at Samaritan House headquarters in San Mateo, as well as its free health clinics in San Mateo and Redwood City, and Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco. The students also learned a variety of video techniques and gained experience in writing scripts, as well as technical experience in creating audio and narrative soundtracks.

Incorporating images and voiceovers of Samaritan House clients, volunteers, and staff, the video provides an overview of the many programs Samaritan House offers, including:

  • two free clinics which provide medical services and over 9,000 patient visits for those without health insurance in San Mateo County
  • Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco, which provides shelter for 90 clients a night
  • Client Services, which provides counseling to individuals and families in need of resources in the community
  • Kitchen Staff and Dining Room, which provide meals daily for the hungry in San Mateo County
  • Kids Closet, where those in need of clothing can shop for free
  • Worker Resource Center,  an onsite center in San Mateo where job seekers can be matched with employers
  • A Holiday Program, that provides meals to nearly 5,000 low-income community members, over half of whom are children

With nonprofit storytelling being such a large trends in communications today, several of the students involved with the project, who recently graduated, are now planning to focus on video marketing as their
career choice.

We invite you to enjoy the video here and post your comments! What role do you think video should play in nonprofit storytelling?

Would you like to see more videos from Samaritan House?

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Samaritan House Spotlights Volunteers for National Volunteer Week

Meet Super Volunteer Robyn Chapman

Our amazing volunteer Robyn Chapman went to extraordinary efforts to support the Samaritan House Holiday Program in 2011, dedicating her annual "Volunteer Vacation" to helping out with food distributions and serving Thanksgiving meals at the King Center in San Mateo.

Samaritan House volunteer Robyn Chapman traveled all the way from Atlanta to San Mateo to help out during the Samaritan House 2011 Holiday Program. She also assisted at the food distributions and during the Thanksgiving dinner at The King Center, all within hours of  landing at the San Francisco Airport! It’s people like Robyn who make us proud, and help us realize how special our volunteers are. We will be spotlighting several of our outstanding volunteers this week, in honor of National Volunteer Week, organized by the HandsOn Network, which inspires people around the world to take meaningful action. Check out their website for activities they are planning for this special week, and contests and offers for outstanding volunteers.

This post is a sneak preview from our upcoming spring newsletter,
The Samaritan.

SH:Tell us about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests?
I was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA, and attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where I lived for several years before I was promoted and transferred to Atlanta.  I have been horseback riding competitively since I was 10 years old. I love to exercise, and to be outside with my dogs, my horse, or just enjoying the environment.  I enjoy reading books and magazines whenever I can. Live music is another passion, and I consider myself adventurous. I try to live every day to the fullest.

SH: How did you first become interested in Samaritan House?
I always take an annual “Thanksgiving Volunteer Vacation,” where the focus of each trip is a volunteer activity.  I decide on where I want to visit, and also search for an organization whose mission speaks to me.  I found Samaritan House by searching online, and representatives from the agency enthusiastically answered all my questions.  I felt an immediate connection. Samaritan House was the right fit for me!

SH: You mentioned your mom’s traditions of volunteering and how much it means to you.  How has this influenced you?
I started these volunteer vacations in 2009, the year after my mom died.  The tradition began when I returned home to Pennsylvania for a week every year for Thanksgiving, and she and I spent a couple of days shopping for food to deliver to various organizations in need. We had so much fun volunteering, and it always came naturally to us. These volunteering experiences are a way of honoring her tradition and giving back to those in need.

SH: What motivated you to travel all the way from Georgia to volunteer for the holiday program, and again for next year?

RC: New experiences, new people, great memories, and the desire to lend a helping hand.  If I can accomplish this in a place which holds some interest and even fascination for me, I am happy.  I so much enjoyed meeting and working with Melissa, Michelle, Ruby, and all the staff — I felt like I’d been volunteering for them for years!  Landing in San Francisco and literally jumping right in to volunteering for Samaritan House and home deliveries for holiday turkeys was a great experience.  On Thanksgiving Day, I was proud and humbled to serve families, the elderly, and those with illnesses. It was wonderful to see everyone treated with so much respect, and they were thankful for their plates brimming with food, including turkey, potatoes, gravy, and all the fixings. It was truly heartwarming. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Not to mention remembering those in need all year round.

SH: What advice do you have for others who are thinking
about volunteering?

Just go for it. Roll up your sleeves and jump in. It’s a great experience, and so worthwhile to know you are helping others in need. I will never forget my experiences with Samaritan House, and look forward to more this year.

For information about volunteer opportunities at Samaritan House, contact, or visit our new Volunteer page by visiting and clicking on the DONATE button. The Volunteer link will appear on the navigation bars on the left.

 Do you have outstanding volunteers in your organization?
Tell us about it in the comments.

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Samaritan House 2012 Gala Fundraiser May 12th, 2012 

MAY 12TH, 2012  

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, Burlingame
1333 Bayshore Highway
, Burlingame, CA

Master of Ceremonies: Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Auctioneer: Assemblyman Jerry Hill

 Theme: Building a Healthy Community
Honoring: Sequoia Healthcare District
Peninsula Health Care District

 San Mateo, California, April 12, 2012 Samaritan House welcomes members of the community, volunteers, and special guests, at its 2012 Gala, a special evening featuring a salute to health care. The evening will include fine dining, dancing, a Silent and Live Auction, and special surprises along the way.

Several hundred are expected to attend the special event, which begins with a 6:00 p.m. Reception and Silent Auction, followed by an elegant dinner and a welcome by Executive Director Kitty Lopez and Master of Ceremonies, Congresswoman Jackie Speier.  Auctioneer and State Assemblyman Jerry Hill will champion the cause, auctioning off a variety of exciting items, from fine wines, to gourmet dinners, theater attractions, and travel getaways. A video about Samaritan House created by students in the Public Relations and Campaigns class from Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont will be premiered, followed by “Fund-A-Need,” which will raise funds for prescription medications for the two free clinics run by Samaritan House.

The Raffle Grand Prize is a Hawaiian vacation at the Alii Kai Resort in Kauai, Hawaii. Guests will finish off the evening in style, dancing the night away to the beat of Motown, pop rock, and classic favorites from The Reed Fromer Band, one of the Bay Area’s most dynamic bands.

Tickets are $125 per person postmarked by April 30th, and $150 after that date, and can be ordered online by visiting Sponsorships are available starting at $500.  For tickets or sponsorship information, visit, or call 650-523-0809.


 Borel Private Bank & Trust Company

Christensen & Rafferty Fine Jewelry

Diawara & Associates, CPAs

Keynote Systems, Inc.

Hillsdale Shopping Center

Printing Innovations

Sequoia Hospital

Auction City

Recology San Mateo County

United American Bank


4031 Pacific Boulevard
, San Mateo, CA 94403
Samaritan House is a community-supported nonprofit organization that provides services to over 12,000 people in need annually. Over 2,000 volunteers inspire the Samaritan House motto, “Neighbor Helping Neighbor,” as they help us provide food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare to our clients, free of charge. Together, we create a safety net for individuals and families in need, while ultimately helping them move toward self-sufficiency.
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Samaritan House Free Tax Prep Launch Televised on ABC

The cameras were rolling at Samaritan House on Monday afternoon, as we were thrilled to be visited by a camera crew from ABC7 San Francisco, who filmed on overview on the Free Tax Preparation Program which launched on Monday, and runs through mid-April. The segment aired on the Monday, February 13th 5 pm broadcast, and was delivered by Bay Area ABC anchor Dan Ashley,  the Samaritan House blog post describing the program was a featured link on the abc7 website.

Staff members were interviewed, and clients in the process of getting assistance were filmed.  Samaritan House looks forward to more media visits for this important program, which is particularly timely in light of the tough economy and many San Mateo County residents trying to make ends meet.

This first- of-its-kind program for the agency is made possible through a unique partnership with United Way Bay Area, and the EarnIt KeepIt SaveIt Program. More updates to come!

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Samaritan House First Free Tax Prep Launches February 13th, in Partnership with United Way Bay Area’s “Earn It! KeepIt! SaveIt!”

The first-ever Samaritan House free tax prep event for low-income families kicks off February 13th, and runs through April 17th

 Free Tax Prep Helps Low-Income Families Boost Income and Brings Back Thousands of Dollars into Our Local Economy

Samaritan House is pleased to announce the kick-off of its free tax preparation services on Monday, February 13th, from 9-4 PM. The free and confidential tax services are available to San Mateo County residents with low to moderate earned income in 2011.

This first-of-its-kind event for Samaritan House is made possible through a $4000 seed grant from the United Way of the Bay Area, as it welcomes Samaritan House as a new VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site in San Mateo County this year. Trained and certified tax professional volunteers will be available by appointment only to make sure that clients get back every dollar they deserve. Refunds can go a long way for low income families and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can be as much as $5,700, bringing thousands of dollars back into the local economy. 

“Our free tax sites open the door to programs that empower people to improve their finances.  In addition to saving families hundreds of dollars on tax preparation, our sites connect low-income families with programs that can help them start saving, go back to school, get a good job, buy a first home or start a new business,” states Kelly Batson, a director of United Way’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, which marked its 10th year in the Bay Area this January.

Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Is a United Way-led coalition of over 250 organizations providing free tax preparation for low to moderate-income Bay Area households. During the 2011 tax season, EKS prepared nearly 60,000 returns, resulting in a return of $63.8 million to the community in refunds – an 11.5% increase over 2010.

Statistics from the 2011 Client Snapshot listed in United Way Bay Area’s Annual Report highlighted the following:

*45% of the respondents were new to the EKS Program

*79% reported 2010 income of $30,000 or below

*15.6% reported having a disability, or someone with a disability in their household

*11.9 % reported not having a bank account

*58.6% planned on using their refunds to pay bills

*15.2% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher

*36% Latino, 23.5% Asian, 17% African American, 13.8% Caucasian, 1.3% Native American/Native Hawaiian/Native Pacific Islander

The report also highlights across the board negative effects from the economic downturn between 2010 and 2011, resulting in cumulative cuts in hours and wages, foreclosures, healthcare benefits loss, and unemployment benefits loss.

To be considered for eligibility, client income for 2011 must be less than $50,000. The tax preparation services continue by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through April 17th. Tax filers must bring paperwork including: photo ID, SS card, W-2 for jobs held in 2011, a copy of their 2010 tax return, childcare provider and landlord information for the California’s renters credit.

For eligibility and appointment information, call  650-523-0804.

For more information, contact:

Sandra Chapin
Director of Homelessness Prevention

Caroline Jaffe-Pickett
Public Relations Coordinator


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Samaritan House Holiday Program 2011 Video Highlights

Each year, the Samaritan House Holiday Program helps thousands of those in need in the community, from food distributions in San Mateo County which provide canned and non-perishable foods to families, to a special Thanksgiving dinner for 500 at the King Center prepared in our kitchens, to a Holiday Toy Shoppe that brings smiles to children’s faces throughout the weeks of December. Thanks so much to our generous donors, and to the over 1,000 volunteers who organized toys and food, dropped off gifts, and assisted clients. We could not have done it all without them. Thanks also to Second Harvest, who donates so much to us during the holidays and throughout the year.

So without further ado, please enjoy our holiday highlights video, and feel free to share your thoughts about it, or any aspect of giving, here in the Comments.

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$10K Raised through Franklin Templeton “Social Media Challenge”

$10,000 Raised for Program Financial Development,
as Participants Tweeted and “Facebooked” Donations 

The Samaritan House “Social Media Challenge,” sponsored recently by Franklin Templeton Investments, raised $10,000 for financial education and development for its Client Services Program. $5,000 was raised by Fans and Followers, with Franklin Templeton matching the remaining $5,000 for the Grand Total of $10,000. The response was overwhelming, with a frenzy of  “tweeting” and Facebook updates at the program’s finale – a testament that social media is not only here to stay, but is becoming a key player in engaging the public in important causes. Fan and Followers are now serving as brand champions and ambassadors, not only for Samaritan House, but for other nonprofit associations in the San Francisco Peninsula area, such as Second Harvest, St. Vincent DePaul, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and others.

Amanda Byers, head of Corporate Citizenship for Franklin Templeton, said, “We are very pleased about the opportunity to help jump-start Samaritan House’s effort to engage the public in a new and exciting way. By using social media to engage their supporters, Samaritan House can educate and mobilize our community to help clients achieve their goals of self-sufficiency.

Kitty Lopez, Samaritan House Executive Director, also commented on how exciting it was to see donations and charitable giving taken to the next level, and is looking forward to future campaigns that embrace Web 2.0 and social media. She stated:

“We at Samaritan House want to help make investing in our work easy, and open to more individuals, throughout the community, and beyond.”

The program launched on August 1, with an invitation for supporters to:

  • “Like” our Facebook page ($5)
  • Comment on or “like” any post on the page ($2)
  • Follow us on Twitter ($5)
  • RT or mention our Twitter handle, @Samaritan_House  ($2)

Participants were encouraged in a story on the blog, to share the Facebook Page with their Networks: “Go to our Facebook page and click the link that says ‘Invite Friends,’ then simply choose who you’d like to suggest our page to!” And to spread the word on Twitter, a preset tweetwas created: “$5 to @Samaritan_House from Franklin Templeton for each new Twitter follower in Aug! $5 to like them on FB, too!” Fans rose from 0 to over 400 by the close of the campaign. Other promotions for the Challenge included highlighting it on the association website, A feature story was also published in The San Mateo Daily Journal.

Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN], is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments.  Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary Trust, Darby and Bissett investment teams.  Franklin Templeton Investments recognizes corporate citizenship as a critical link between integrity and performance – how the firm does the right things the right way in order to deliver value to its stockholders, clients, employees and its communities.  For more information, please visit



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Video: Meet Our New Volunteer!

We are thrilled to introduce one of our newest volunteers, Krystle Chappelle, who was born and raised in the San Francisco Peninsula area, and graduated in 2010 from UC Santa Barbara. Krystle is assisting with administrative duties and other organizational tasks.  Her hobbies include conversational Japanese, and a love of chocolate ice cream, social media, reading, and helping out in her community through her volunteer work here at Samaritan House in San Mateo. Her career goals include communications, writing, and journalism.

Thanks to Krystle and all the other volunteers who help us out everyday here at Samaritan House — we couldn’t succeed without you!

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