Gilroy Compassion Center: Staying busy, making progress

Star Wright and Xavier Garett receive clothes, a box lunch and

The Gilroy Compassion Center – a grassroots outreach organization offering food, clothes, shelter and support services – is showing no signs of slowing down on its journey to becoming a year-round homeless shelter.

Located at 8425 Monterey Road, the facility recently expanded its hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center was previously open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The center is now seeing 15 to 20 people per day,” said Compassion Center Director Jan Bernstein-Chargin, who mentioned a private donor dropped off a “very appreciated” supply of umbrellas last week.

The center also has a new Operations/Office manager named Rachel Sanchez Parodi. She has been a volunteer on the Gilroy Homeless Task force for several years and sits on the Gilroy Housing Advisory Committee.

Events on tap

  • Coming up later this month is Project Homeless Connect, an event occurring several times throughout the year. Based out of San Francisco with a local chapter in San Jose that assists cities such as Gilroy to organize convention-like gatherings of representatives from various service agencies, Project Homeless connect will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 30 at the Gilroy Baptist Church at 8455 Wren Ave. In addition to sleeping bags, jackets and a free meal, visitors can receive assistance and information from resources such as housing, continued education, employment, mental health, social security, youth services and mobile units offering dental/medical treatments. To inquire or volunteer for this event, call (408) 763-7120 or email [email protected]
  • The Compassion Center is beginning a fundraising campaign for the work needed to upgrade its current location (an industrial warehouse building) into full-service shelter. The kick-off event will be “Notes of Compassion,” a performance of orchestral classics by the Brigham Young University Sinfonietta at 7 p.m., April 12 at South Valley Community Church, located at 8095 Kelton Dr. in Gilroy. The concert will be followed by a dessert buffet. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from members of the Gilroy Compassion Center Board or online by clicking here. For more information about sponsoring this event, contact Dick Dryden at [email protected]

About the Compassion Center

The Gilroy Compassion Center provides drop-in access to basic needs, including bathrooms, personal care items, laundry, clean clothes, supplies for daily living and respite from the streets. The Center also provides one-stop access to resource information, referrals, workshops and clinics offered by social service agencies and service professionals such as substance abuse counseling, legal clinic and personal counseling. A connection to other services through telephone, the Internet and quarterly Project Homeless Connect events is also provided.

Current needs: Umbrellas, socks, underwear, backpacks, volunteers for the cleaning crew.

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