Single mom, son get rental help after detour in plans

Saylean Barham had planned on losing her apartment. With the end of her lease approaching, Barham paid off her bills, sold all her things and bought plane tickets for her and her disabled son to her home state of Hawaii. Barham, a 43-year-old single mom, was ready to start over. Then the notice came: a court order from her estranged … Read More

Sunnyvale family of 4 gets up off the floor

For the first month, Eloisa Herrera was grateful just to have an apartment for her fiance and their two small kids. She did not mind that there was nothing in it but carpet, which they sat on to eat and lay on to sleep. Herrera has lived with less, but she worried about her 2-year-old daughter, Yaretzi Lopez, and 4-year-old … Read More

Single mom reclaims moments of joy through Season of Sharing

Nothing about Natalia Kataeva’s life is simple. She has this thing she says, whenever you ask a seemingly easy question — like, “How’d you wind up in Sunnyvale?” “It’s a story within a story within a story,” she’ll say. She’s not kidding. It’s a rainy Sunday morning, the hard kind of rain that the wind forces sideways. Kataeva, 37, is … Read More

Cancer endangers family home; Season of Sharing helps

Having cancer is challenging enough. Having cancer, financial issues and bureaucratic red tape to deal with is a trifecta of suffering. But that’s what Bruce Williams has faced over the past two years. The 41-year old Concord father of three, who works the graveyard shift for BART doing track maintenance, knew something was physically wrong in the early months of … Read More

Chef, a single mom, gets help after painful wrist injury

Wielding knives, dropping ingredients in hot oil, moving quickly on often-slippery floors — chefs encounter plenty of safety hazards every day. Xana Cook-Milligan was always careful. But in March, while at work at a restaurant in Pacifica, she performed the perfectly routine action of lifting a gallon of milk, and something popped. “This jolt of pain went from my wrist … Read More

Dementia patient receives help from Season of Sharing

Sherill Bradley watches TV but cannot remember what she saw. She listens to books but cannot remember what she heard. She meets new people but, a few minutes later, doesn’t remember who she met. “Nice to meet you,” she said to a newspaper reporter whom she met a few minutes earlier but didn’t recall meeting. Sherill Bradley and her husband, … Read More

San Lorenzo family gets needed help with housing

Gina and Anthony Wire are just normal, hard-working folks, a dual-income couple with a daughter in high school. In the increasingly high-priced Bay Area, however, such families are now living on the edge financially. It’s a story that is becoming all too familiar: forced out of their longtime rental after it was sold — yes, the new owner then raised … Read More

Food banks and Season of Sharing help Bay Area’s neediest

The booming economy hasn’t beaten back hunger. In Silicon Valley, down through the Peninsula, 1 out of every 10 people gets at least some food from a food bank. That’s 250,000 people who get a bag of groceries or a meal from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties — every month. For perspective, that’s … Read More

Woman raising 2 autistic great-grandsons gets help with rent, bills

At 69, Beatrice Shaw is the legal guardian for her two autistic great-grandsons, ages 7 and 9. Even on a fixed income, she’s scrimped to meet their needs, renting a house to give each his own room; driving them to school, catechism and sports activities; and cooking meals tailored for their dietary needs. But after she was hospitalized for an … Read More

Season of Sharing helps Bay Area residents in need

Scrub. Hug. Play. Laugh. Worry. Start all over again. Scrub. But mostly, laugh. And always, love. That’s how most days are for Jessica Pequeno and her 2-year-old son Xavier Pequeno as they wait for the bone marrow transplant in December that she hopes will save him from the rare immunodeficency condition that threatens to end his barely begun life. So … Read More