Leadership • Friendship • Community • Inspiration

This Holiday Season, Let's Come Together to Help Homeless Women in Our Community
With One Handbag, A Few Necessities, and A Whole Lot of Love! 

We believe in serving our communities! This holiday season, we invite you to help homeless single mothers in need by donating a pursue or handbag filled with toiletries.  

Do you have a gently used pursue that you would like to donate to another woman who would love to receive it? Would you like to help homeless women by providing some basic necessities?  

If yes, bring your purses and handbags to the IWF NorCal holiday party on December 4 or give them to a friend who will be attending the holiday party. Fill your bags with basic toiletries (e.g., shampoo, soap, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, feminine products, etc., preferably full size items) to complete an “All in the Bag” gift! The women also love warm socks! Many of the women have children (ages 2–14) who want books! If you don’t have time to fill the bag, include a $10 bill and we will fill the bag for you.

We have partnered with Star Community Home, who will pick up the purses on December 4 at the holiday party and distribute them to homeless women throughout the Bay Area. If you missed the party and would still like to donate a filled purse, please contact us for local drop off locations (available until December 24).

Below, we provide stories from three Star Community Home women—London, Natalie, and Susan—so that you may get to know some of the women we will be helping. We hope that you will join us in this small effort to provide some holiday love to women in need in our community. 

Stories from Star Community Home Women

London’s Story

London is a 31-year-old single mother of two young boys, Jay, age 10, and John, age 6. London entered Star Community Home with her boys, homeless, unemployed and scared. Her older son, Jay, suffered from an untreated, undiagnosed mental illness. Likely as a result of the challenging experiences she weathered, London was initially guarded and defensive. But after entering Star, and working with her case manager, London began to trust and accepted help. London received help writing her resume, which helped her secure employment at a minimum-wage job. But she did not stop there. London wanted more for her boys. In collaboration with another organization, Star helped to provide funds for London to obtain a California Security Guard Card, which was an instrumental step in increasing her income. Star case management also worked with London to apply for SSI for her son and to enroll him into Edgewood Children’s Center where Jay now receives complete wrap-around services and is flourishing. Employed and meeting the critical health needs of her son, London and her family was able to secure permanent housing in Richmond with support from Star case management.  

Natalie’s Story

Natalie is a 37-year-old single mother to ten-year-old James and one-year-old Jenny. When the father of Natalie’s children decided he no longer wanted family life, her life crumbled. She lost her job, couldn’t afford housing and found herself living in her car. Fortunately, Natalie has a substantial work history and is self-sufficient, confident and fiercely determined. Once she settled in at the shelter, she successfully managed to get a job within two weeks. Unfortunately, it was a low paying job. Like most mothers, she wanted more for her children. She applied at the United States Post Office and was employed as a mail carrier, working seven days a week. Because of her demanding work schedule, Star case management supported her by searching for appropriate housing. Natalie and her family now live in a three-bedroom home in Vallejo.

Susan’s Story

Susan is a 34-year-old single mother of two-year-old Aza. Susan and her family are victims of domestic violence. After several emergency room visits, Child Protective Services were notified and it was discovered that Susan and her children were living in their car after fleeing a recent, violent incident. Social Services also determined that Susan suffered from PTSD and needed additional support. She was receiving therapy at COMPASS on a weekly basis but beyond those outings she rarely, if ever, left the house. Susan was scared to go outside. Susan’s case manager provided unwavering support to establish a trusting relationship with her. With the case manager’s help, Susan enrolled Aza in daycare, a big step for Susan. Through the trusting working relationship, the case manager was also able to refer Susan to Dress for Success to get clothing appropriate for job interviews. Through a diligent and compassionate process, her case manager also worked with Susan to update her resume and finally gain confidence to enroll in CalWORKs where she began the Welfare to Work program. Within two weeks Susan secured a job. Susan is still very fragile and depends on the support from her current therapist. Star also helped Susan secure a studio apartment in San Francisco where she continues to work and cares for her beautiful daughter.

Background on Star Community Home

Families typically arrive at Star Community Home in crisis: homeless, fearful, hungry, lonely, desperate and penniless. The home immediately offers a safe place to live, providing nutritious meals and providing everything needed to build the skills necessary for a self-sufficient future. Case managers connect the women with mental health therapy, job search and training, school placement for children and many more services. Families exit Star with housing, a stable source of income, and the skills they need to establish permanent exits from homelessness. Single-parent family housing stabilization success rate: 97%

Contact us at iwfnorcal@gmail.com                      1040 El Camino Real #205, Burlingame, CA 94010                              415-227-9987

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