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Novato:Cold weather items for bay area homeless to be collected

Saturday, December 05, 2009
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
reminder = 2009 to Stuff Backpac @ Unity in Marin started @ 8:00am 600 Palm Drive, Novato (Hamilton) Contact: Mary [at] or call 415.472.0211 for more information.Proceeds to benefit the Homeless Holiday Backpack Project.Thanks to San van Zandt KBAY 94.5 FM!

dont know how long - guessing - call them

From the IJ

The number of items being assembled might be down, but organizers of the annual Warm Wishes program expect a big turnout Saturday in Novato to package needed items for the Bay Area's homeless.

Hundreds of volunteers will likely be on hand to help assemble more than 3,500 backpacks with sets of gloves, scarves and caps to be distributed to various shelters and social service agencies as part of the 15th annual holiday program. Assembly will begin at 8 a.m. at Unity In Marin in Novato.

"We'll have quite a few volunteers," said Mary O'Meara, executive director of MarinLink, which has helped run the program the past few years. "It's been a big year for volunteers, it seems."

O'Meara said funding restrictions prevented the group from matching the 5,000 backpacks assembled in recent years. A dip in corporate donations has been countered somewhat by several private donations recently, she said.

"Funding is definitely down, but it started to come in after Thanksgiving," said O'Meara, noting program costs are about $30,000. "We're hopeful it will continue."

She said items were purchased new because "we really feel strongly people need new items, not hand-me-downs. These are personal items."

Students from the Bolinas-Stinson School have donated 275 handmade scarves and holiday cards for packs going to children, and other local students have donated items, she said.

Founder Bill Hamm, of San Rafael, started the program with his late wife Nina Barbalacci in 1994
after giving his gloves to a homeless man following a night at the theater in San Francisco.

"We're down on funds, but a lot of warm things are going out to a lot of people in need, that's for sure," Hamm said.

Contact Jim Staats via e-mail at jstaats [at]

IF YOU GO: Warm Wishes will assemble backpacks of cold weather items for the Bay Area's homeless community beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at Unity In Marin, 600 Palm Drive in Novato. Organizers suggest volunteers arrive early. For information or to make a donation, call 472-0211 or visit

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Added to the calendar on Sat, Dec 5, 2009 8:49AM
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