On December 13th, tech workers came from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to volunteer at One City Gives, a holiday day of action for young people experiencing homelessness. Hosted by sf.citi and Larkin Street Youth Services, One City Gives was made possible by the generosity of Cruise, Dropbox, Okta, Postmates, Waymo, and Zendesk.
We began the morning at Zendesk, where employees from sf.citi member companies gathered to assemble holiday kits, sorting socks, underwear, gloves, beanies, shirts, and journals into packing cubes. After gift-wrapping the kits and crafting handwritten holiday cards, volunteers delivered the completed kits to Larkin Street’s main center in the Tenderloin to be distributed among 300+ young people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.
For many of Larkin Street’s clients, these kits will be the only holiday gift they receive this month, explained Larkin Street alum Zak Franet. He told volunteers about his own journey of being homeless in the Bay Area and the critical impact Larkin Street has had on his life.
I got housing, I got my GED, I got the employment training that I needed, but more importantly, I found community. Without Larkin Street, I don’t know where I would be today.
—Zak Franet, Larkin Street alum
Larkin Street is the City’s largest provider of youth homelessness services and estimates that 1,100 young people do not have a place to call “home” on any given night in San Francisco. In fact, one in five individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco is under 25. Unfortunately, the age group that Larkin Street serves—young people between 13 and 24 years old—is largely overlooked when it comes to homelessness spending and services. Only 11 cents of every dollar spent on addressing homelessness goes to serving young people. This also rings true for holiday giving drives, which are traditionally geared toward children and seniors. We sought to bridge this gap in service by partnering with Larkin Street on One City Gives.
Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services, remarked on the unique coalition of tech workers that came together for One City Gives: “Larkin Street is thrilled to partner with One City Gives and our allies in the tech community to increase our investments in ending youth homelessness.”
One of the day’s main sponsors, Cruise, underscored the importance of San Francisco businesses stepping up to support the City’s young people experiencing homelessness.
We see great value in bringing the tech industry together to support those most vulnerable in our community. Cruise is committed to shaping a future that’s better for all of us. It’s powerful to see so many of our employees and peers rally to support young people.
—Robert Grant, Vice President of Government Affairs, Cruise
Thanks to contributions made by Cruise, Okta, Postmates, Waymo, and Zendesk, sf.citi raised over $30,000 in donations for the one-day One City Gives event and the young people served by Larkin Street. sf.citi member Cruise alone donated $19,000 to Larkin Street. While there is so much more to be done on homelessness in San Francisco, we are incredibly grateful to all who volunteered at One City Gives and helped provide immediate care to our City’s young people.
All photos courtesy of Daniel Bahmani.