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Service Provides Quality of Life Line

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Sourcewise has been a blessing for South County seniors in Morgan Hill and Gilroy

Published in The Mercury News Sunday, December 10, 2017

By Elliott Almond

Autumn’s slanting light bathes the South County hillsides in a golden glow to create a sense of tranquility at arm’s length from the bustle of Silicon Valley.

The pastoral image has drawn folks to Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy as the Bay Area’s population exploded over the past two decades. But the open spaces also can be isolating for the elderly as they begrudgingly hand over their car keys and the California tradition of independence.

“When they’re in a rural area, they become more vulnerable,” said Aneliza Del Pinal, a planner for Sourcewise, a Santa Clara County organization dedicated to improving seniors’ lives.

Driver Emily Escalante, helps Mavis Roe, 85, out of the Sourcewise van as she and Tom Bambino, 93, make their way to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

In the past year, Sourcewise has become a lifeline for almost 50 seniors by providing free transportation Monday through Friday to Morgan Hill and Gilroy senior centers. With 11,500 area residents at least 65 years old, the San Jose-based group is trying to address a growing need that could easily be overlooked in the less populated basement of the county.

“They saved my life, really,” client Tom Bambino said of giving him mobility.

Bambino, 93, was one of four senior passengers during a recent morning ride-along in a lime green van called “Speedy Shuttle.” Good-natured driver Emily Escalante collected each commuter at their home to take them to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

The shuttle has become part of the daily routine for the men and women who enjoy getting out of the house to spend part of the day mingling with others.

Mavis Roe, 85, left, and Larry Garner, 62, right, chat while being driven to the Morgan Hill Senior Center

“I’m going to eat, to gossip, to play games and do puzzles,” said Larry Garner, Escalante’s first pick up on this day.

Sourcewise currently has a van and a seven-seat passenger bus to ferry the elderly to the two senior centers in the morning and home in the afternoon.

The service launched in April has a waiting list of 18 seniors who want to take the shuttles. Ten more candidates are being evaluated to see if they qualify.

The need is amplified in sprawling communities lacking in city-like public transportation networks. Caltrain, for example, services South County only in the morning and evening. The Valley Transportation Authority’s light rail doesn’t extend that far south. Sourcewise executives found some people relied on taxis or long bus trips to get to the senior centers.

Wish Book readers can support the program with donations that help to pay for vehicle maintenance, drivers’ salaries and increasing the service with additional vehicles.

Transportation Specialist Emily Escalante heads out to pick-up a client in a Sourcewise van.

In a disposable society where the aging often find themselves disconnected, the seemingly simple task of transportation has potential long-term benefits.  A correlation between health and loneliness gained attention this year after Brigham Young University researchers found that social isolation increased the risk of premature death by about 30 percent. In another study, scientists reported that feeling lonely is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The shuttle service offsets the sense of desolation in a community where bedroom housing tracts butt against farmland.

The socializing begins in the van for the four seniors who are Escalante’s regulars. The driver crisscrosses the southern edge of Coyote Valley from a mobile home park to a housing tract to Bambino’s ranch-style home along Morgan Hill’s Wine Trail.

Using a cane, Bambino ambles to the van with hearty hellos for everyone. He wears a U.S. Army veterans cap and carts along his acerbic New York humor.

Bambino owns a 2007 Cadillac but keeps his trips to the pharmacy and grocery store to a minimum.

“I try to steer clear of going out at night, in the rain and heavy traffic,” he said. “I’m not all there anymore.”

Bambino, who lives with his brother and sister-in-law, used to attend Elks Club events when he was more mobile.  The van service allows him to remain socially engaged at the seniors center, which offers a variety of activities at Centennial Recreation Center across from the city’s skate park.

Carmine Bambino appreciates the transport service because he is a full-time caregiver to his ailing wife and doesn’t have time to take his younger brother across town.

Sourcewise officials hope they can expand the program to help relieve overstressed caregivers even more. They’d like to offer transportation to medical appointments and shopping, said Rosie Jimenez, Sourcewise’s director of South County services.

Tom Bambino, 92, has his seatbelt fastened before heading to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

The group also is investigating the possibility of a route extension to Santa Teresa light rail for seniors who use services located in the north county.

But for now, the main draw is the connectivity to the world outside of the home for Mary El Masry, 86, who never drove. Her husband, who died two years ago, did all the chauffeuring.

Living alone in Morgan Hill, El Masry was “feeling sorry for myself,” while stranded at her house.

Then she found Sourcewise.

“I’m so thrilled this service is offered because it really is a lifeline for her,” El Masry’s daughter Lorna said.

During the first visit to the senior center, El Masry breathed in the landscape and thought,  “Oh, no, I’m old but I don’t feel that old.”

Then she met other patrons and regained her sense of vibrancy. The Englishwoman stays in contact with friends and family in the United Kingdom by Skype. But too often their tales of woe bring her down.

Then she boards “Speedy Shuttle” with its neon colors and catches up with fellow passengers who enjoy the outings.

“I come here and it’s so bright,” El Marsy said of the center.

Escalante, the driver, often hears such spirited comments when making her rounds.

It never fails to bring a smile to her face.

Sourcewise's colorful van seats seven. The organization hopes to add vehicles and drivers to expand the popular service.

View The Mercury news article here.

Wish Book donations help create a community of givers

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Published in The Mercury News December 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm

By Sal Pizarro

If you’ve donated to the Wish Book, the Mercury News’ holiday giving campaign, you’re already a vital part of an effort that’s helping to make our valley a better place to live. You might think that in a region known for its wealth, your donation might not make much of a dent.

But I am here to tell you that it does. You’re making a huge difference, especially where it really counts.

Last week, Sobrato Family Foundation CEO Rick Williams and Packard Foundation CEO Carol Larson talked to the San Jose Rotary Club about “The Giving Code,” the landmark report about Silicon Valley philanthropy that the Packard Foundation released last year. There have been many such discussions over the past year, with one resounding take away: Some 90 percent of Silicon Valley’s philanthropic dollars leave the region.

It’s a stunning statistic. Currently, there are more than 76,000 millionaires and billionaires living in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the report. And, despite the region’s storied wealth and and overall increase in giving, many of those dollars are used to champion humanitarian causes around the globe or to support faraway places and institutions that are important to the valley’s success stories.

That’s not a bad thing in itself. But, as Larson pointed out, that wasn’t David Packard‘s philosophy and it’s not John A. Sobrato‘s, either. She summed up their viewpoint like this: “If you live here, you give here. If you work here, you give here.”

And that’s what Wish Book readers have been doing, donating more than $9 million since the program started in 1983. This year, in less than two weeks since the Wish Book campaign launched on Thanksgiving morning, readers have donated nearly $70,000 to make some of the wishes our reporters have written about turn into realities.

But there’s still a long way to go, and many more stories to share.

In the coming days and weeks through the end of the year, we’ll present more stories about our friends and neighbors who need help and the agencies that are working to support them. You’ll read about Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley’s efforts to repair more than four dozen homes at the South Bay Mobile Home Park that were damaged by February’s devastating Coyote Creek flood. We’ll tell you about Sourcewise, a San Jose-based group that has become a lifeline for seniors in the South County area by providing free transportation to senior centers in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. And you’ll discover how My New Red Shoes, a non-profit in Redwood City, is helping improve the lives and self-esteem of low-income families with new clothes, something many of us take for granted.

You can read more of these stories at wishbook.mercurynews.com, where you can also make a tax-deductible donation and make a wish come true.

There are certainly people and foundations in Silicon Valley that could put us over our goal in an instant — and, hey, we’d welcome them to do so. But, in reflecting on the lessons of “The Giving Code,” there’s a value in creating an entire community of givers. We live here, we work here, we should give here, too.

Everybody can make a difference, and, together, that difference can be huge.

View the original Mercury News article here.

Free transportation for seniors with Sourcewise

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Published by Morgan Hill Times July 12, 2017

By Staff report

Seniors in South County have a new way of getting around with the launch of Sourcewise’s “Sourcewise Transit Service,” a free transportation service that will provide connections to the senior centers in Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

According to Sourcewsie, there are an estimated 11,574 South County residents who are aged 65 and older. Sourcewise Transit Service operates Monday through Friday in San Martin, Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

At the heart of the Sourcewise Transit Service is a 2017 Starcraft Bus, with installed wheelchair lift capacity built by American with Disabilities Act industry specialists. Sourcewise provides door-to-door transportation service, to and from senior centers, and accepts unlimited transportation requests from seniors, according to the press release.

The transportation concept was developed in 2016 after Sourcewise hosted a public hearing in Gilroy to present its 2016-2020 Area Plan on Aging—a needs assessment conducted in Santa Clara County every four years. The need for better transportation to local senior centers was a common thread among the feedback received from both Gilroy and Morgan Hill senior residents.

Based largely on the voices of the community, Sourcewise began piloting its transportation service called “Speedy Shuttle.” The pilot quickly became a highly-demanded service, providing 562 one-way rides in its first three months of operation. Sourcewise receives federal funding from the Older Americans Act of 1965, which was passed by Congress in response to concern about a lack of community social services for older persons.

With the added capacity of the transit service bus, the Sourcewise South County office is positioned to double its transportation service.

“Sourcewise strives to find innovative solutions that benefit our clients and support freedom of individual choice and independence,” said Manuel Altamirano, Chief Operating Officer of Sourcewise. “The Sourcewise Transit Service creates greater access for frail and isolated seniors who otherwise may not be able to leave their home.”

Future plans to expand the Sourcewise Transit Service include door-to-door rides for doctors’ appointments as well as new route extensions to Santa Teresa light rail, the connection to North Valley.

Sourcewise is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving seniors, families, and their caregivers in Santa Clara County for the past 43 years.

Anyone interested in learning more about Sourcewise programs and services can visit mysourcewise.com. For information on the Sourcewise Transit Service or to request a ride, call Sourcewise South County office: (408) 762-7362.

If anyone is interested in supporting the Sourcewise Transit Service, they may make a donation directly to Sourcewise, citing “Sourcewise Transit Service” in the memo line. All donations can be mailed to the Morgan Hill Office: 16340 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, CA 95037.

View Morgan Hill Times article here.

Press Releases

Sourcewise dominates State service program, seniors connected to local farmers markets

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San Jose, August 21, 2018: The Sourcewise Seniors Farmers’ Market Program had the highest redemption rate in California for 2017, nearly 90%, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This makes the Sourcewise program the most successful in the state. While the results for the 2018 delivery are not in yet, Sourcewise anticipates once again being equally successful.

The focus of the Senior Farmers’ Market Program is to provide access to free, nutritious options for low-income seniors, ages 60 years and older. A 2014 report by the Santa Clara County Public Health department revealed that only 22% of older adults (65+) report eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

“Seniors are having difficulty acquiring adequate supply to meet their nutritional needs. Our program empowers individuals to make healthy choices while also supporting local farmers,” explains Henri Villalovoz, who leads this effort on behalf of Sourcewise.

In addition to the vouchers, participants receive nutritional education: how to eat more vegetables, how to prepare and store vegetables, and how to shop at farmers’ markets to get the most from a limited budget.

To deliver vouchers to residents with limited resources, Sourcewise strategically chose central distribution points with nearby access to public transportation. Distribution points were also located near farmers’ markets. A total of twenty-four farmers markets are certified for voucher redemption within Santa Clara County.

2018 Voucher Distribution Sites

Wednesday, June 6

9—11 a.m.

Barbara Lee Senior Center

40 N. Milpitas Blvd. Milpitas, CA 95035

Tuesday, June 12

9—11 a.m.

Mayfair Community Center

2039 Kammerer Avenue San Jose, CA 95116

Wednesday, June 13

9—11 a.m.

Southside Community Center

5585 Cottle Road San Jose, CA 95123

Thursday, June 14

9—11 a.m.

Morgan Hill Library

660 W. Main St. Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Tuesday, June 19

9—11 a.m.

Gilroy Senior Center

7371 Hanna St. Gilroy, CA 95020

Wednesday, June 20

9—11 a.m.

Berryessa Community Center

3050 Berryessa Rd. San Jose, CA 95132

 “This program is a blessing! Thank you for being here. The staff is very kind and approachable. It is very difficult to put on a large event…you were even able to accommodate for multiple languages,” shared Sally W., a 2018 voucher recipient.

Sourcewise, in partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, distributed 500 voucher booklets to qualifying seniors in Santa Clara County. Through the Seniors Farmers’ Market Program, individuals received vouchers worth $20.00, redeemable for fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh-cut herbs throughout the harvest season, June through November 2018.

To learn more about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program or how you can support Sourcewise with a donation, please visit www.mysourcewise.com. Sourcewise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with over 40 years of experience serving Santa Clara County residents.


Contact Info:
Aneliza Del Pinal
Director, Public Relations
(408) 557-4701

We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of Sourcewise content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of http://www.mysourcewise.com.

Mercury readers raise $20K to support Sourcewise Transit Service

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San Jose, March 22, 2018: Sourcewise, a nonprofit organization that supports adults and caregivers in Santa Clara County, received a $20,000 gift from Mercury News 2017 Wish Book readers. The gift will be used to support the Sourcewise Transit Service, a transportation option that assists seniors in South County.

Developed by Sourcewise in response to identified transportation needs of the South County senior community, the senior transit service provides door-to-door rides to seniors who have difficulty with ambulation, are isolated, or do not have other transportation options available. 

“I am grateful for the support of the Santa Clara County community, and for Mercury News 2017 Wish book whose yearly donation drive make our community a better place to live through its support of local non-profits,” shared Steve Schmoll, Chief Executive Officer of Sourcewise.

The funds could not have come at a better time, according to Rosie Jimenez, Director of South County. Rosie said, “Since our pilot began in April, the demand for Sourcewise Transit Service passengers has quadrupled.”

The service has made a real impact for seniors living in South County, connecting them with services as well as enhancing individual independence that comes from being mobile. Since the service began in April, the Sourcewise Transit Service has provided 4,564 one-way rides.

The Mercury 2017 Wish Book account is open year round, Contributions to support the Sourcewise Transit Service can be made at http://wishbook.mercurynews.com/2017/source or sent at any time to: San Jose Mercury News Wish Book Fund, 4 N. 2nd Street, Suite 800, San Jose, CA 95113.

Sourcewise is a 501(c)(3) independent nonprofit serving all adults, their families, and their caregivers in Santa Clara County since 1973.

If you are interested in learning more about Sourcewise programs and services, visit www.mysourcewise.com or call (408) 762-7362.


Contact Info:
Aneliza Del Pinal
Director, Public Relations
(408) 557-4701

We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of Sourcewise content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of http://www.mysourcewise.com.

Sourcewise Announces Request for Proposals for Services Aimed to Support Caregivers in Santa Clara County

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San Jose, March 3, 2018: Sourcewise announced today requests for Older American Act dollars, Title III E, Family Caregiver Support Program. The Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to establish networks that provide supportive services for family caregivers, grandparents, and older individuals who are relative caregivers. Sourcewise will be accepting proposals for the following services, which must be provided in Santa Clara County:

  • Communication Education on Caregiving
  • Caregiver Training
  • Grandparent Case Management
  • Respite Out-of-Home
  • Respite In-Home

Sourcewise plans to award six contracts totaling $347,750 dollars to support low income caregivers who provide unpaid care for loved ones 60 years and older.

“Every day, there are an estimated 40 million unpaid Americans who are supporting their families, friends, and loved ones so that they can live independently. We know that Santa Clara County caregivers need our support, and we want to ensure programs are available for the most vulnerable,” said Stephen Schmoll, Chief Executive Officer of Sourcewise.

The service delivery process for this program happens every four years and is in line with Sourcewise Area Plan on Aging. The 2016-2020 Area Plan on Aging (mysourcewise.com/area-plan) provides a comprehensive needs assessment of seniors, those with disabilities, and their caregivers in Santa Clara County.  

“We look forward to working with our partners to continue to provide services that enhance the quality of life for seniors in Santa Clara County,” shared Manuel Altamirano, Chief Operating Officer of Sourcewise.

Sourcewise is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization primarily funded by federal support though the Older Americans Act. The organization’s mission is to provide adults and their caregivers the tools and services they need to effectively navigate their health and life options. Through a comprehensive network of resources, Sourcewise strives to educate, prepare, support, and advocate for all adults, their families, and their caregivers within Santa Clara County. Direct programs and services include: Information & Awareness, Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy, Meals on Wheels, Senior Employment Services, Care Management, Family Caregiver Support Program, and Public Authority Services.

If you are interested in learning more about services offered by Sourcewise, visit www.mysourcewise.com, or call (408) 350-3200, option 1. To support Sourcewise, through your tax deductible donation, please visit www.mysourcewise.com/commitment.


Contact Info:
Aneliza Del Pinal
Director, Public Relations
(408) 557-4701

We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of Sourcewise content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of http://www.mysourcewise.com.