WEST VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES OPENS NEW LOCATION DURING COVID-19 TO SERVE LOW-INCOME IN CUPERTINO, LOS GATOS, SARATOGA AND WEST SAN JOSE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS
PROJECT WILL ENABLE NON-PROFIT TO EXPAND SERVICES DURING PANDEMIC AND ECONOMIC CRISIS
WHAT: San Jose, Calif., September 16, 2020 — When West Valley Community Services launched its “Lift Us Up” campaign in July of last year, it hoped to raise enough money to remodel its facility and expand its services. The only social services organization serving the West Valley was already facing a growing demand for support that was unprecedented in the organization’s history.
And that was before the COVID-19 crisis decimated jobs and local businesses, sparking a 500% increase in need for services almost overnight.
“These are challenging times,” says WVCS Executive Director Josh Selo. “The number of people lined up to seek help is heartbreaking. Each one represents someone who is desperate, out of work, and has nowhere else to turn.”
But now there is a ray of sunshine. Launched in July of 2019, the organization’s Lift Us Up program set out to raise $2,125,000. Today, that goal is almost within reach. Thanks to the success of this fundraising effort, WVCS is set to begin an ambitious construction project that will enable it to expand its free on-site Shopping Pantry,
modernize and expand its current office facilities to enable social distancing and provide a dignified, confidential setting for case management as well as classes, training sessions, and client meetings; and replace its aging mobile food truck with an improved Park-It Market, enabling the organization to double the number of locations (e.g., transit locations, senior homes, etc.) it can serve.
Construction begins soon on the new office space. WVCS is partnering with developer/builder Edenbridge Homes and HomeAid, a nonprofit consortium of builders and developers who provide in-kind materials and labor to help allay project costs. While the new office space is under construction, WVCS will move its operations temporarily to The Oaks shopping center in Cupertino, courtesy of a generous invitation from owner KT Urban.
According to Selo, the expanded space comes down to one word: Dignity. “Our mission is driven by preserving the dignity of each client, which can be as simple as being able to choose your own food,” he says. “COVID has complicated our ability to do that.” The expanded on-site Shopping Pantry will provide enough space to resume allowing clients to “shop” for their own food items. The same is true for the new Park-It Market, which will feature an external area with canopy and pass-through that can be easily re-stocked by staff inside.
Selo is heartened by the forces that aligned to make it all happen. “To see the community come together to help those in need really restores my faith in humanity,” he says.
The Oaks Shopping Center
21275 Stevens Creek Blvd # 520
Cupertino, CA 95014
Wednesday Sept. 16, 2020
Josh Selo, Executive Director, West Valley Community Services
Chris Gatley, Edenbridge Homes and Homeaid
Client(s) of West Valley Community Services
Jeanne, from West Valley Community Services
Mark Tersini, Senior Vice President, KT Properties
Plenty of B-roll will be available.
About West Valley Community Services
Founded in 1973, West Valley Community Services, Inc. is a non-profit organization that connects low-income and homeless individuals, families, and children with housing, food, and supportive services. Our mission is to unite the community to fight hunger and homelessness. We envision a community where every person has food on the table and a roof over their head.
WVCS is the sole safety net for the 22,000 people living in poverty in the west valley communities in and around Cupertino, West San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Monte Sereno. We provide critical safety-net services like food, housing search support, emergency rental and utility assistance, affordable housing, family support, homeless services, financial coaching, case management, and information and referrals – for those with the greatest needs.
Josh Selo, Executive Director
West Valley Community Services
Terry Downing, Vice President