Bayview man gets help relocating after fire in home

Ronald Booker was watching television in his Bayview apartment late one night in March when he heard a commotion coming from Third Street nearby. There were often people congregating on the street, he says, so he didn’t think anything of it. Then he heard the fire engines, and saw the smoke seeping under his kitchen door. “I realized I’d have to go back … Read More

Tough Napa family gets help, enjoys freedom again

The story of Donald and Nancy Keen has many layers: It is a love story, a story of family and community and of perseverance. The couple will celebrate their 50th anniversary in January. Life has been tough the past several years, but they have been tougher. When things recently became difficult, a helping hand from The Chronicle’s Season of Sharing Fund was … Read More

Dad, daughter have a safe home with a little help

Sitting in a warm though stark apartment near San Francisco’s Bayview district while his 6-year old daughter, Akacia, was at school, Anthony Hodges confessed disappointment that he could not even afford a tiny Christmas tree – let alone anything to put under it – to brighten the holiday for his children. “I’m struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “I can … Read More

Hip problems don’t keep single mom from working

When Virginia Arredondo Macias decided to leave her marriage a few years ago, her ex-husband belittled her to her children. Her twin boys, Juan Jose and Abraham Ortega, ignored their father. They were 14 at the time and made the move from Oakland to Sunnyvale with their mother, who spoke limited English and had undergone hip replacements in each of the … Read More

Single dad buys a Christmas tree for his kids

On lunch break from his job as a teacher’s aide at the Salvation Army‘s preschool program in San Francisco, Alvin Bautista flashed a big smile. He had bought his own kids a Christmas tree for the first time in eight years. With the purchase of the tree, though, came sacrifices. Bautista, who makes around $1,300 a month and is the primary … Read More

Boy, 8, opens lemonade stand to feed homeless

Lately, 8-year-old Conall Lane of Burlingame has been asking a lot of questions. “Because they have no home,” his mother, Olga Lane, told him.A few months ago he saw transients living on the streets of San Francisco with their tattered sleeping bags and shopping carts and wanted to know why they couldn’t go home. Probably what disturbed Conall the most was that … Read More

Heartbroken vet finds ‘a place called home’

Eugene Ware remembers the 1951 World Series like it was yesterday. He was a 7-year-old living in New Jersey and rooted for the New York Giants, if only because they were underdogs against the powerhouse Yankees, who won the Series in six games. “I thought the Giants came to San Francisco because of me,” Ware said.Ware’s father had a tough time finding … Read More

Fund helps family on the move find a home – for now

Every day at her job, Cheryl Fields helps low-income families settle into new homes in San Francisco, one of the nation’s wealthiest cities.   Last year, the work became personal. That’s when the single mother and daughters Aneiyah, 9, and Aneshia, 23, learned they would be evicted from their apartment in Pittsburg. Unable to find another home, they crashed on relatives’ couches … Read More

Season of Sharing: Son becomes the caretaker

Back before the fire that triggered her heart attack and turned everything she and her family owned into soggy ash, 70-year-old Graciela Campos made lace doilies. Hundreds of them. Red, blue, white, small, large. Intricate, beautiful. But that was in the years leading up to July 7, when a roaring blaze woke her up and ravaged the Redwood City apartment complex … Read More

Mom rations medication after losing job, insurance

Shea Taylor removed a shoe-box-size container from her refrigerator and opened it to show syringes prefilled with Copaxone, a drug to prevent her multiple sclerosis from flaring up. “This is a 30-day supply and costs $2,500,” the single mom said. “I’m trying to make it last as long as I can by giving myself shots every other day. I’m supposed to … Read More