Churches across Oakland California provide assistance to the vulnerable. The faith based charity organizations may offer free food, funeral help, shelter or housing, and development programs among other human services. The goal is to provide help to the needy in a non-judgmental style.
A site, including Berkeley Friends Church and many others, support people of all backgrounds. They help college students, legal and illegal immigrants, Asians, single parents, and seniors among others. The assistance is provided without regard to religion, race, or age. Any type of meal, article of clothing, or even light bill or funds for paying rent can be given to anyone that qualified no matter their background.
Many of the churches offer free food and/or hot meals. Much less common though is the availability of emergency financial help. In some cases a religious group may have funds for paying some bills (e.g. electric or rent) or free vouchers to obtain good (e.g. clothing, gasoline, bus passes, or medications).
As an example of a location that tries to feed the hungry, All Saints Episcopal Church has a Neighborhood Center at 911 Dowling Blvd, San Leandro, California (Phone – 510-569-7020). The site has a free food pantry that is open one or two days per month for struggling families to use. Many of the other churches in Alameda County also operate pantries, but they will tend to be open on occasion should families should call in advance.
When seeking help from a Oakland California church (whether food, grants, or whatever), bring proof of Alameda County residence. The client should also bring their own grocery bag or box to stock up at the pantry. They may find groceries, infant formula, fruits, meat, and more. There may also be personal items as well as other non-food items such as soap, disposable razors, and free diapers for single or immigrant moms.
Depending on the location, different food items are available. Or a soup kitchen such as Centerville Presbyterian Church and their Dining Room (location is 4360 Central Avenue, Fremont, California, dial 510-793-3575) may have ready-to eat meals, including during Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Several either offer funds or they provide referrals. The financial help is normally combined with extensive case management. A member of the church will try to understand the applicant's needs and barriers. Based on this they will direct them to some type of sustainable help.
When it comes to emergency funds, they will be focused on those individuals that have used up all their other benefits (including section 8 vouchers or CalWorks) and have contact other charities first for rent help or medical care. Only when all options are used up may a church dip into into its coffers to assist. Even then, the amount of money is limited.
Acts Full Gospel Church at 6118 International Blvd, Oakland, California (Telephone – 510-567-1308) helps with growth and development. The staff assist clients on their path to skills and educational development services. As part of this may be referrals to one time financial support that may be required as the client goes on their journey to become productive members of society. There is support for people that have dropped out of school or that are immigrants, including Spanish speakers. There is also help for men in Oakland that have been released from jail.
Referrals are available to Alameda County programs including short term housing or shelters. When someone is faced with their lights being turned off or being evicted, then churches can refer the client to grant programs for paying rent and more. Acts Full of Gospel or partners such as St. Vincent may also offer basic needs including vouchers for work clothes, bus passes, and other aid.
Referrals are given to other agencies, churches and community groups helping people with emergency needs. Anyone applying for financial aid must complete an application form and show valid ID, as well as prove their income.
General counseling is part of the programs from Alameda County churches. There are bereavement ministries to provide funeral and burial assistance and a church ministry at 1034 - 66th Avenue, Oakland, CA, Phone - 510-567-1300 also supports people battling addictions.
The church run HOPE VAN (phone 510-793-9063) also provide medical care and other services. Clients can also get their basic needs met. Churches organize this service in partnership with nurse practitioner as well as mental health counselors. It will offer everything from basic health or dental care to canned food, toothbrushes, and bandages.
There may be dozens of other assistance programs available from churches. For details or information, dial 211 to learn about a local site.
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