Posted by Bob Hermann on Oct 27, 2018
On October 24, 2018, Rotarians Ryan Overton (who chaired this event), Rhonda Poppen, Dan Joraanstad, Bob Hermann, and Tyler Sterk joined Project Homeless Connect to provide comprehensive services to more than 1,000 homeless people at their 72nd Community Day of Service. Project Homeless Connect is an organization that partners with the community at large, various San Francisco City and County agencies, and several businesses to provide an array of support services for homeless people in San Francisco.
Bob and Rhonda, along with employees from other businesses, helped to check in 475 general volunteers. Some of the participating businesses were: Google, Facebook, Apple, Salesforce, IBM, Delta Dental, Kaiser Permanente, Vision Care and of course, our beloved Rotary Club of San Francisco.
What impressed Bob was that the participants, many of whom are on the risk of being homeless or homeless themselves, are treated with the utmost and respect by each and every volunteer. In other words, it’s humbling to have our community come together to serve humankind with the hands of care and compassion in ensuring people are cared for, be it medical care, food, establishing communications to family, getting identification, and/or repairs to their durable medical equipment (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers, or canes).
Speaking of identification, one of the most important services offered was help obtaining an official identification card. When one is homeless and has no permanent address, it is very difficult to get proper identification. Without an identification card or a permanent address, it’s very hard to get a job. So hopefully obtaining an identification card will help reverse that cycle and allow a person to go forward into employment.
Ryan participated as a ‘participant escort’ and spent the day guiding people to their services. He met and escorted one individual who needed prescription glasses. Her previous set of prescription glasses had broken about a month ago, and the only piece she had was one of the lenses. She had to hold the one lens up to her eye in order to see. Without prescription glasses she was legally blind. Said Ryan, “It was such a good feeling knowing that she’d be able to get a new set of glasses so that she will be able to see clearly with much less hassle.”
Dan also volunteered to help participants get new eyeglasses. He commented how transformative it was to have a variety of homeless people sit across from him, trying on different glasses, some of them saying, “Oh man; that is great!” or, “Hey, I can read the map!” The realization settles in that these people are just like you and I, except that they have nothing at all, not even a home. Dan noted that it was exciting to witness the enthusiasm of all the volunteers who helped out our homeless friends.
Said Dan, “Isn’t it a marvelous privilege to help out these folks? So easy for us and so much for them.” Tyler was on hand at the end of the day to tear down the stations. For more information on how you can help, please visit