Have you wondered how the pandemic we are facing has affected our communities? We can all attest to its effects on us as individuals and the small businesses and restaurants where we used to find respite from our day-to-day hustle. While this is nothing to scoff at, if we widen the lens to examine how the organizations that normally provide stability in our communities such as Bayview Senior Services and the Bayview YMCA we find they have been hit hard too. 

Building in San Francisco for 70 years, Nibbi has seen its fair share of downturns and understands the importance of coming through as a unified community. We recognize the work these organizations do to strengthen our community during these tough times and we wholeheartedly support their work. These organizations and their programs provide support that directly benefits the community at large. Organizations like the Bayview YMCA and Bayview Senior Services are a source of opportunity, personal development, and growth potential for the Bayview Hunters Point residents and the services they provide are in the best interest of the future of San Francisco. These organizations are in need of support and could use all the help they can get. Below we provide ways for you to contribute to their noble causes.

Bayview Senior Services

Bayview Senior Services serves as an anchor institution for the surrounding neighborhood and for African Americans throughout San Francisco. The life circumstances of the primarily African American population that have been served by Bayview Senior Services over all these years have taken their toll. The vast majority of the clients at their sites are extremely and very low income and have experienced a long legacy of exclusion. The effects of institutionalized racism, lack of economic opportunity and massive incarceration have negatively affected their overall physical and mental health. Bayview Senior Services ongoing programs address the effects of these circumstances. The Bayview Senior Service’s years of experience working in the Bayview community has taught them that when we take care of our seniors, we have to look out for their families, by ensuring they also have the resources and support that they need in addition to the care and support that their elders need. The Bayview Senior Services connects seniors and their family members to services and resources through their social services, activities, case management, housing assistance, housing stabilization work, employment opportunities and community oriented events. 

Bayview residents enjoying food and activities.

Even though, the pandemic has slightly altered the focus of the services provided at Bayview Senior Services agency, they are providing even more services than before. Services are now focused on nutrition, housing stabilization and combating isolation/ loneliness. Their nutrition program has doubled its meal services so that food is available for take-out and delivery to 750 meals per day during the week and 200 meals on weekends. The Bayview Senior Services agency and their clients are adapting to a new “normal” without the high energy social interaction that usually happens at the senior centers. They have developed online programming, but the biggest challenge and where they need help is getting clients appropriate internet access and tablets to attend classes online. It is a labor intensive process that they have started to bridge the digital divide. Although their focus has slightly changed, they have continued their mission by adapting to where their clients are located and what they need while sheltering in place.

The Bayview Senior Services agency is projecting the pandemic lasting longer for frail seniors and they are preparing to shelter-in-place through June 30, 2021. Even if things get better faster, seniors will be the last population to come out of their homes and engage on a regular basis, so the focus is on keeping seniors healthy with fresh food and encouraging social interaction via the internet. The agency has had to ramp up their efforts to meet the current challenges and they appreciate any support that they can get. To show your support follow this link: https://bhpmss.org/donations/.

Bayview YMCA

Another organization working hard to address the issues of equity & justice is the Bayview YMCA. The Bayview Y provides a number of direct benefits to the community including: 

  • Food pantries, grocery delivery and emergency food boxes 
  • Mental health services and wellness check-ins 
  • Academic support services for students and families and alternative education programs
  • Physical health and wellness programs
  • Workforce development programs
  • Virtual visitation to support family reunification efforts
  • Services in HOPE SF public housing communities that include food pantries, COVID testing, utilities assistance, community-building activities, and virtual learning support

During this unprecedented pandemic, the health and economic impact has had a disproportionately high impact on low-income families, seniors, and Black and Latino communities. Since day one of shelter-in-place, the Bayview YMCA of San Francisco redoubled efforts on delivering key essential social services that meet the urgent needs of these and other vulnerable communities. Their focus on social and racial justice is not new. The Bayview YMCA is deeply committed to racial equity and their role as an anti-racist organization. The community-based staff are representative of the clients they serve, and they are committed to supporting its frontline staff in its work, as well as their professional growth. The Bayview YMCA maintains an agency-wide diversity and inclusion working group, which advances inclusive internal policies including job development for underrepresented groups in leadership positions. They have partnered with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and Trauma Transformed to adopt the Trauma Informed System model for organizational change.

Bayview YMCA food pantry.

The Bayview YMCA gym memberships provide revenue that supports all of their social services programs. The closure of the gyms and the decline in memberships has made them more reliant on grants, donations, and other philanthropic support. The current conditions have also made some aspects of the work more difficult. The Bayview YMCA is a client-centered organization and face-to-face relationships are a cornerstone of their work. Just like the Bayview Senior Services agency above, adjusting to virtual formats has presented challenges, including helping the Bayview YMCA’s clients get used to new tools and systems. They continue to provide all of their essential services, but certain aspects of work have required coming up with new approaches. The community in District 10, including the Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods, has also struggled with access to resources in services, the decrease in public transportation, lack of employment opportunities, and lack of access to technology and internet access.

Since March, the Bayview YMCA has seen a significant increase in demand for their services: weekly food pantries increased from 450 families and seniors to more than 2,500; barrier removal services (including rent and utility payment assistance) increased from 150 to 450 clients; and they now provide 500 students and teachers with mental health support, up from 250. Basic needs assistance continues to be the most critical need among their clients, as is mental health services. 

The Bayview YMCA projects the need for their essential services will continue to grow. Basic needs, such as food and utilities assistance, as well as mental health needs are increasing. They also expect new challenges. As things continue to change, they are committed to supporting their clients. For example, now that San Francisco schools have gone virtual, they have worked closely with San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, the City, and other partners to both identify and address the emergent needs of families given this new reality. Young people will be joining the Bayview YMCA staff at Community Hub sites at the Bayview YMCA branch and Hunters View HOPE SF community to get support with their virtual curriculum. Even as this program launches, they know circumstances are likely to evolve, and they will need to be prepared and collaborate with their partners and community to meet new challenges and needs. To show your support follow this link: www.ymcasf.org/bayview-give.

Even if we don’t live or work in these neighborhoods, it is important to understand how we affect them and how they affect us by providing programs that help youth attain the skills to become future members of industry and productive employees. 

Now more than ever these organizations need our support! Stand with Nibbi, and help them by contributing so they can continue to provide their services to better service our community. The decline in the Bayview Y’s earned revenue makes them more dependent on philanthropic support. Many of their programs are supported by grants, but grants do not cover the full cost of the services that they provide since demand for their services has also increased. If you would like to show your support either with a donation or volunteering your time for the Bayview YMCA please go to www.ymcasf.org/bayview-give or contact: Analía Villagra at AVillagra@ymcasf.org and for Bayview Senior Services, please go to https://bhpmss.org/donations/ or contact Nadiyah Shereff at Nadiyah.Shereff@bhpmss.org. They need our help now more than ever! 

Academic support at Bayview YMCA.