Homeless for the Holidays

December 10, 2014

For many of us, the essence of the holiday season is simple: food, warmth, community.  Our Outreach Program aims to bring that and more to hundreds of homeless women in San Francisco with our 10th annual Ladies’ Night Holiday Party on December 18th.

Ladies’ Night, a collaborative program between the Clinic and other local service agencies, is a weekly drop-in program for homeless and marginally housed women hosted every Thursday evening at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center. Each week, Ladies’ Night provides a hot and nutritious meal, referrals to supportive social services, and basic medical supplies to 70-90 women who need it. And during the holiday season, when things get a little colder outside and people long for family and friends, these services are even more important. That’s why during our annual Holiday Party we try to provide our clients with the type of care that is just about impossible to find when living on the street: a boost of self-esteem, a time to practice self-care, and a safe place to sing, dance, and relax with friends.

As always, Holiday Party guests will munch on homemade cookies baked by volunteers, treats from Mrs. Claus, and of course music, a meal, and medical supplies. At past Holiday Parties, the ladies have enjoyed chair massages from a volunteer masseuse, a chance to get professional hair and make-up done, and even the opportunity to have a high quality portrait taken by professional photographer Kari Orvik. And, for the 10th year in a row, San Francisco Federal Credit Union is running its annual coat drive across their six Bay Area branches, to benefit our clients at Ladies’ Night.

“Ladies’ Night really shows the link between health and housing. Week after week we see women who put off getting basic medical services because of unstable living conditions,” says Britt Creech, Outreach Coordinator. “And for so many homeless women, the holidays are stressful. Even if they have a regular income, it’s not enough to cover the costs of travel to visit family, buy Christmas gifts, or even make a special meal. It’s nice that our Holiday Party can alleviate the stress, give them a chance to have some fun and of course provide them with essentials like warm coats and a good meal.”

Photo Credit: The portraits of Ladies’ Night clients that grace the Clinic’s reception room walls, like the one above, are credited to photographer Kari Orvik. Her recently opened portrait studio can be found online at www.kariorviktintypestudio.com.