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Rachel Perez knows from personal experience that the best
feeling in life comes when you help someone else. On June 5, she
was elected to a second term and became the new president of the
board for St. Joseph’s Family Center. Perez is Associate Dean at
Gavilan College, in charge of Community Development and Grants
Management. Perez pointed out that if she just drank one less latte
or stopped for one less burrito a week on her way home from work,
it could really add up over time.
Rachel Perez knows from personal experience that the best feeling in life comes when you help someone else. On June 5, she was elected to a second term and became the new president of the board for St. Joseph’s Family Center. Perez is Associate Dean at Gavilan College, in charge of Community Development and Grants Management. Perez pointed out that if she just drank one less latte or stopped for one less burrito a week on her way home from work, it could really add up over time. “Sometimes we are too overwhelmed with other demands to think that we can make a difference,” she told me, “Or we think that our little bit won’t make a dent in the huge amount that is needed. But even little lifestyle changes can add up to making a big difference.”

The numbers seeking the services of St. Joseph ‘s Family Center are at an all-time high, including more families who have recently had their homes foreclosed on. Those who give and who volunteer with SJFC make a huge difference by being part of the solution for these families falling on hard times.

This Spring, donations like the one from Gilroy Assistance League helped newborn babies and infants. The Gilroy Foundation awarded two grants, including one from the Steve and Teresa Costa Family Fund towards new tables and chairs for the Lord’s Table, the hot meals program. The Rotary Club of Gilroy granted funding to purchase new flooring and a new pallet jack for the food pantry. Pastor Jeff Holmes from Gilroy Presbyterian Church is making a difference as a volunteer, and his church has chosen SJFC to be one of three outreach programs that their congregation will be focusing on in the coming fiscal year.

There are too many to mention here, but I think one of the contributions that touched me most in the past fiscal year came when Cathy and Dick Engen wrote to say that their grandchildren had asked them to donate their Christmas presents (cash) to St. Joseph’s Family Center.

Even if you don’t have a lot, there are ways you can make a difference. Vicki Martin, who coordinates food donations, tells me that there is a need for bags. Paper bags, plastic bags, grocery bags of all sorts – they need them for packaging up the food to give out to individuals and families. You might not think about it, but how can they give out eggs without egg cartons? So another need is for your empty (clean) cardboard egg cartons. What a great way to recycle! Bring them to the back door area which is over to the left side of the St. Joseph’s sign out front of the main building at 7950 Church St.

One of the biggest needs is for diapers and formula for babies, followed by the need for cereal of any kind, and oat meal. There is never enough cereal donated. “We also need little cans of meats,” Martin says. “The pop-top kind that can be used for lunches by people wherever they are, Vienna sausages, tuna, any kind of canned meats for people without access to a kitchen.”

SJFC will be holding two Farmer’s Market produce days for families in need on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. This is an important addition to their services due to decreases in donations of food.

If you have fresh fruit or vegetables from your backyard to donate, or any other food donations, please contact Vicki Martin at (408) 842-6662, ext. 3.

To volunteer, contact Lili Armenta at (408) 842-6662, ext. 4. Visit SJFC online at

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