Recession catching up with St. Joseph’s Family Center

Volunteers Sherry and Ken Hawkes, from San Martin, and Morgan

A leading social services agency in Gilroy is doing its best to weather the ripple effects of a lingering recession, although times are getting lean at St. Joseph’s Family Center on Church Street.
The nonprofit organization that serves between 600 to 700 families a month through its food pantry (many families visit twice a month, doubling the number to 1,300) has seen portions of its county funding virtually cut in half.
“Overall, we’re trying to keep out heads above water,” said Executive Director David Cox. “We work hard, we work smarter, but it’s daunting. It’s hard to predict what the next few months will be like. The sheer demand of people seeking services has not relented.”
On a weekly average, St. Joseph’s provides fresh fruits and vegetables to 451 households through its Push Produce program; doles 1,561 lunches and serves 979 hot meals to the needy. Gilroy has more homeless individuals per capita than any other city in Santa Clara County, according to St. Joseph’s website.
Government funding is dipping, however. Whereas St. Joseph’s once benefited from a homeless stabilization grant through the county totaling $60,000, the agency applied for the same grant again this year – and will only receive $30,000. The same goes for another $75,000 county grant St. Joseph’s previously relied on to fund safety net services.
“We’re going to cross our fingers,” said Cox. “I’m thinking we’ll get funded but it will probably be $25,000 to $30,000.”
A steady decline in county and state grants is a troubling trend St. Joseph’s is keeping tabs on, Cox said. The agency is also applying for and exploring funding options through private foundations, although St. Joseph’s is already feeling the pinch in the interim. The agency recently let go one of its lead case managers for permanent housing programs because of funding issues, something Cox said Saint Joseph’s has never had to do.
As they continue to operate with less funding, the organization will be faced with making some cuts to its services – possibly in the areas of transportation, emergency utility or rental assistance.
Cox said St. Joseph’s is studying ways to continue meeting the needs of the community, in spite of the quandary at hand: “Do we keep serving everyone, but serve them less?” he said. “It’s a qualitative/quantitative choice.”
How to help
Whereas grants often come with stipulations regarding how they can be spent, Cox explained money donations allow St. Joseph to apply the funds where they’re needed most.
“We purchase a lot of food items that aren’t typically donated such as meat, milk and fresh produce,” he said.  
Want to help out with a cash gift? Secure donations can be made directly through St. Joseph’s website by visiting www.stjosephsgilroy.org and clicking “donate online.”
Details: St. Joseph’s Family Center is located at 7950 Church St., Suite A in Gilroy. Call: (408) 842-6662

Whereas grants often come with stipulations regarding how they can be spent, Cox explained money donations allow St. Joseph to apply the funds where they’re needed most.
“We purchase a lot of food items that aren’t typically donated such as meat, milk and fresh produce,” he said.  
Want to help out with a cash gift? Secure donations can be made directly through St. Joseph’s website by visiting www.stjosephsgilroy.org and clicking “donate online.”
Details: St. Joseph’s Family Center is located at 7950 Church St., Suite A in Gilroy. Call: (408) 842-6662

Leave your comments