During the 2020 summer, Levi’s® and the Giants teamed up to highlight and honor six nonprofits in our community who took action and made a difference for those most in need. While our world has changed in ways we could have never imagined, there remained one constant and that is the work so many in our communities did and are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six organizations support and are a resource for veterans, homeless, victims of domestic violence, and those that need an extra hand. Each organization received a grant and reusable masks from Levi's. We thank all of these groups, and the individuals volunteering, for their perseverance and selflessness.
Swords to Plowshares is a Bay Area-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting all veterans every step of the way. War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield. Swords to Plowshares’ mission is to heal the wounds of war, to restore dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency to all veterans in need, and to prevent and end homelessness and poverty among veterans.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, Swords to Plowshares continues to offer services.
Street outreach: Swords to Plowshares has found emergency housing, groceries, hygiene products, fresh clothing, cell phones, and case managers for 90+ homeless veterans since the onset of COVID-19 in March.
Residential services: 8 housing programs provide residences to 500 veterans, along with 24/7 Program Monitor coverage, meals, mental health services, and limited case management.
Drop-in services: At Service Centers in San Francisco and Oakland, they continue to offer triage services for veterans in crisis and mail services to unsheltered clients.
Employment services: The Employment team continues to provide case management and job placement support.
Housing placement services & eviction prevention: Swords to Plowshares continue to move veterans and their families into permanent housing. Working remotely, staff are helping to identify affordable rental units and provide rental checks and security deposits to landlords.
To learn more about Swords to Plowshares, visit www.swords-to-plowshares.org
I’ve been with Swords to Plowshares since 1976 – spanning more than four decades and we have been faced with many challenges including losing our only funding source, a return to war, the recession, and many veteran lives lost. However, learning how to care for both staff and veterans during this COVID-19 health crisis has been my greatest challenge. We have never abandoned our mission throughout this crisis, but it isn’t without its burdens on frontline staff. We learn more every day and take action to adapt quickly to the changing landscape of the overall public health crisis, to address the issues staff are facing, and to deliver the support and services our veteran clients need to get through this difficult time. I have never been prouder of the hardworking, dedicated people who work at Swords to Plowshares. My team of 200 staff has shown resolve and commitment, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by our veterans - particularly the 500 veterans who live in our supportive housing.
We are all faced with unknowns from the fallout of this pandemic. And as we look further into 2020, even in 2021, the picture is unclear. At Swords to Plowshares, we know that we will face even more challenges, including loss of funding and greater strains on our budget. Now more than ever, we need the support of our community. We need our partners, our donors, and our friends to donate as generously as possible. We will weather this storm, but we need partners like you to make it through. Thank you for your solidarity.
Executive Director, Swords to Plowshares
U.S. Army 1967-70
One veteran had been released from a local jail as part of the process to reduce the inmate to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. This veteran had been released at the beginning of SIP into an unsheltered environment with no supports. He tried emailing and calling community organizations in the East Bay but could not connect with anyone. Desperate, the veteran contacted a physician from the jail who in turn reached out to one of the Swords to Plowshares outreach specialists, Dennis Johnson. Dennis, a U.S. Army veteran, quickly reached out to the veteran to set up a time and date to connect him to our services. He found a lifeline in Dennis, in what he said was his “most dire moment.” Thankfully, he moved into emergency housing in a rapid fashion and continues to utilize Swords to Plowshares services to get his life back on track.
La Casa's dedicated staff and volunteers work to support La Casa’s clients through a range of activities that include crafting homemade masks, assembling food boxes for the formerly homeless women staying at two permanent supportive housing sites, and answering calls on crisis hotlines.
"As a new volunteer with La Casa, I was eager to begin supporting survivors of domestic violence in their healing journey. As the pandemic hit, I jumped at the opportunity to support survivors through La Casa's Text Line. The Text Line is an invaluable tool for our community where we can provide information about local resources, advice to survivor family members, and connect survivors to our support services. Especially now, when many people are not able to go outside of their home to seek assistance, the Text Line provides accessible support for those most in need." - current La Casa volunteer