Here's how South Bay advocates are helping the unhoused community on Thanksgiving

Zach Fuentes Image
Friday, November 24, 2023
How South Bay advocates are helping unhoused community on Thanksgiving
Like other places in the Bay Area, many people in San Jose were not fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving indoors.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Like other places in the Bay Area, many people in San Jose were not fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving indoors.

So advocates working to Build a Better Bay Area brought thanksgiving dinner and other critical supplies to them.

"I'm very appreciative," said Ahmed of the help that was brought to him, "I love that people come out here and do this for us."

Ahmed has been unhoused in San Jose for 17 years.

He said he blames himself for being unhoused, but still the conditions he lives in are tough and unrelenting, even on Thanksgiving.

"Every bit of clothes that I've gotten from, people or whatever, it gets wet," he said, "So it's hard for us to keep our clothes dry."

MORE: Residents grateful as 1st Thanksgiving meal held at new SJ supportive housing site

PATH Villas in San Jose, a supportive housing site for people 55 or older who were formally homeless, hosted a holiday dinner for its residents.

This Thanksgiving though, some relief was brought by local advocates directly to him and others who are unhoused.

"I feel blessed for so many things that I have in my life, and it's nice to give back once in a while," said Beata Kosiaty who was volunteering with Hands that Care Bay Area.

The volunteers came directly to a San Jose parking lot that borders many tents and encampments.

Though many community centers and churches have events for people in need, the organization's president, Hector Garcia, says that bringing food directly to that community is important.

"They don't have the transportation they can't get on the bus," Garcia said, "Why? Because a lot of times they feel like they're left behind. So for us to come over here and make their day makes a big difference."

VIDEO: Peninsula families receive Thanksgiving meals at Samaritan House

Samaritan House serves thousands of families with Thanksgiving meals ahead of the holiday.

But it's not just food that's top of mind for advocates.

Shaunn Cartwright with the Unhoused Response Group also brought down necessities that she hopes will help beyond the Thanksgiving holiday, including tents, sleeping bags, hand warmers and more.

MORE: Salvation Army delivering Thanksgiving meal boxes in SF

Volunteers in San Francisco are up early helping the Salvation Army deliver Thanksgiving dinner meals to people who need them most.

Items that will go a long way for people like Ahmed.

"If I didn't have a dry sleeping bag tonight," he said, "I'd be really, really cold."

"To some folks the meal isn't what's important. What's important is that blanket or that tarp, whatever it might be," she said later pointing to her festive turkey headband, "And sometimes just a little bit of levity."

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