Kids get own beds from Season of Sharing

Two children run about, rambunctious and giggling while their father, Arthur Caberto, watches fondly. The children, Antony, 7, and Gemma, 8, proudly show off their bedrooms while deftly dodging furniture and talking over one another, competing for attention. Caberto, 56, of San Francisco was diagnosed with stage three blood cancer in 2009. Two years ago, while he was still in recovery … Read More

With breadwinner ill, family gets help

On a warm day last June, Sergio Hernandez felt a slight pain in his belly – not quite a stomachache, and not quite a cramp. The 42-year-old grocery worker ignored it. But by the fourth day, the pain was so intense that there was no ignoring a trip to the emergency room. “I wasn’t scared,” Hernandez said, seated on a plush brown … Read More

Couple needs a hand after serious stroke

Belem and Alicia Gomez know what it is like to work hard, to struggle and to live through disappointment. That knowledge was in their eyes the other day as they sat together in their small apartment in Napa while Belem discussed their latest predicament. It all started two years ago, he said, when Alicia had a stroke. Suddenly the woman who kept … Read More

Season of Sharing supports food banks

Blaine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks, has so many touching stories about the people her nonprofit organization helps that she writes them down. The story of Deborah Brooks is an example. Brooks works the night shift at a housing nonprofit for the homeless, but doesn’t make enough money to buy her own food. “Most of my … Read More

Season of Sharing helps young mother

Joanna Torno bounced around as a child. Born in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, the 23-year-old was raised largely by both of her grandmothers. Later, when she was in high school and for a short time afterward, she often crashed with the families of her friends and other relatives. Several years ago, her younger brother and sister were placed … Read More

Mother looking to restart her life

Cold-cocked by the blow, Jennifer Pumpetch’s mind drifted into a state of near bliss. In that hazy moment, she heard the faint sound of her 10-year-old self laughing with her classmates on a playground, somewhere in her native San Francisco. But as she regained consciousness, and her eyes focused on the danger around her, the 38-year-old woman looked up to see … Read More

Ailing S.F. woman gets help with rent

Glenda Minor of San Francisco was just weeks away from being homeless, with no children and no family members she could turn to. Sick since childhood with chronic asthma and diagnosed with congestive heart failure two years ago, she had medical bills and a rent that became more than she could handle. But after months of being in and out … Read More

Fund pays old rent so single mom can work

After 14 years with the U.S. Postal Service and several more as a property manager, Tracie Long found herself unemployed. She filed for unemployment insurance benefits, and when those ran out, welfare. “I was looking for a job the whole time,” said Long, a single mother of three. “I’ve never ever been unemployed. I felt like a failure.” She cried behind closed doors so … Read More

Month’s rent puts family back on track

Growing up in a poor family with seven siblings, Shelley Grayson knew she could never afford to go unemployed for long. As soon as she could start working at 15 1/2 years old, Grayson was hired by Kentucky Fried Chicken. She worked throughout her undergraduate years at UC Davis, even flunking an academic quarter so she could keep her 50-hour workweek. “I … Read More

For mother of 6, apartment a ‘miracle’

Ana Sanders is expecting a very quiet Christmas. No parties, no turkey dinners, no extravagant visits from Santa. And she couldn’t be happier. “I’m just thankful for what I have. Right now, this is enough for me,” said Sanders, 34, as she chopped vegetables for her family’s dinner in San Leandro. “I just want to spend time with my kids and … Read More