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Whistlestop PROVIDES LATEST EDITION OF Annual Directory of Older Adults Services

Free resource directory covers services that older adults and their families
might need to live healthy, active lives in Marin County

Whistlestop PROVIDES LATEST EDITION OF Annual Directory of Older Adults Services
San Rafael, CA (March 2013) — Whistlestop, the non-profit organization that provides vital services to Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities, announces the release of the twenty-fifth edition of the organization’s annual Directory of Older Adults Services in Marin County. The Directory provides valuable information on every subject relating to the health and welfare of Marin’s older adults and their families. It includes topics such as adult day care, companionship, disaster preparedness, financial assistance, health care, home care, insurance information, pet care, recreation, skilled nursing facilities and much more. “Our mission at Whistlestop is to give everyone in Marin the opportunity to age with dignity, independence and grace,” said Whistlestop’s CEO Joe O’Hehir. “The Whistlestop Directory provides an aggregate of information covering many of the issues older adults face in our society, and it’s a vital resource for their families. With the Pacific Sun’s support, we’re pleased that we’re able to offer this Directory to the community.” The printed and online versions of the Directory are FREE to the public and available at Whistlestop, 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael, and at, under the Services tab.

About Whistlestop
Since 1954 Whistlestop has been helping the Marin County’s older adults stay independent and active by avoiding social isolation. Whistlestop is best known for providing specialized transportation for people with disabilities. Their fleet of over 55 specialized buses run seven days a week from early morning to late night, offering over 150,000 rides yearly throughout Marin and surrounding counties.

Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center, located in downtown San Rafael, provides socialization for older adults through participant-centered services and activities. These include educational classes, exercise classes, and multicultural groups for Spanish, German, and Farsi-speaking older adults. Invaluable services like citizenship assistance, translation, ESL, tax preparation, and legal advice are offered as part of Whistlestop’s ongoing mission.

Whistlestop’s Jackson Café, located at the Active Aging Center, serves fresh, delicious and affordable lunchtime meals, Monday through Friday to diners of all ages. The Café features daily specials, deli sandwiches, soups, desserts, and fresh salads. The Jackson Café offers a comfortable setting where everyone is welcome.

Whistlestop Meal on Wheels delivers fresh meals to homebound older adults throughout much of Marin. Their dedicated drivers check in on the meal recipients several times per week and will deliver 70,000 meals this year.

Whistlestop in San Rafael delivers holiday greetings to homebound seniors

Whistlestop in San Rafael delivers holiday greetings to homebound seniors

Erika Vaughn, right, Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels program supervisor, delivers food, Christmas cards and gifts to Rita Jones, 75, of San Rafael on Friday. Robert Tong — Marin Independent Journal

By Stephanie Weldy, Marin Independent Journal

POSTED: 12/18/15, 6:17 PM PST 

Seventy-five-year-old Rita Jones opened the front door of her San Rafael apartment Friday afternoon for her routine Meals on Wheels visit.

Not only did she get fruit, milk and a plate of braised turkey with seared kale during the call, but she also got a bundle of holiday greeting cards from community members she’s never met.

One card wished her peace and happiness. Another, from a local Girl Scouts participant, featured a handcrafted winter scene with a snowman made of cotton balls.

Jones, who is paralyzed on the left side of her body and uses a wheelchair to get around, said the cards let her know she’s not forgotten.

“It’s nice knowing someone cares about you like this,” she said.

This is the fourth year San Rafael-based Whistlestop has collected greeting cards from members of the public to give to home-bound seniors they serve through the meal delivery service, Meals on Wheels. The cards are a way to bring a little bit of joy to clients, Whistlestop officials said.

“They’re home by themselves, a lot of time maybe no one is coming to bring them cards,” said Erika Vaughn, Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels program supervisor. “It’s just the happiness and the joy that someone would care enough to bring them Christmas cards.”

The senior center put out the call to the community seeking signed cards for 250 senior clients they serve through Meals on Wheels. Thirty disabled Marin residents, under the age of 60, are also served through the program through Nourish. This year, the senior center received more cards than last year, with roughly 2,800 cards coming in from local Girl Scouts troops, and students from San Rafael High School and Marin Country Day School. Each senior is to receive 10 cards. Home Instead Senior Care also donated 50 gifts, ranging from throws, scarves and more, to be given to the seniors.

As Vaughn distributed cards, along with meals, she was greeted with a tight embrace, and a kiss on the cheek by one client. After handing two bags to the senior, she was handed a gift in exchange. The cards the client received will be placed around her San Rafael home to make it a bit more festive for the holidays, she said.

Jones said she’s been receiving the cards through the program for a few years. With cards from last Christmas, she has them displayed throughout her residence.

“I put some on my coffee table and I like to sit down and look at them,” Jones said.


Stephanie Weldy covers San Rafael and Novato news for the Marin IJ. Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @StephanieWeldy1.

Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Credit: Jim Welte

5/9/2011 – San Rafael Patch

City officials, first responders, local residents and an assortment of aid groups rallied for a simulated wildfire drill and evacuation Saturday.

More than 160 Scott Valley residents and dozens of first responders and volunteers participated in an evacuation drill Saturday morning, simulating a devastating wildfire with Edna Maguire School serving as a command post.

At 9 a.m., an evacuation siren and a reverse 9-1-1 dialing system notified Scott Valley residents of an evacuation by foot, bicycle or car. The evacuees were asked to complete a short survey at the school after the drill ended.

Once residents arrived at Edna Maguire, they received emergency preparedness information and had a chance to visit with organizations like the Red Cross, Marin Humane Society, Whistlestop Wheels, Marin Medical Reserve Corps, Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission and the Salvation Army.

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Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Credit: Jim Welte

05/09/2011 – San Rafael Patch

Oficiales de la ciudad, residentes locales, y varios grupos de ayuda, se reunieron para un simulacro de incendio y evacuación el sábado.Más de 160 residentes del Valle de Scott y decenas de socorristas y voluntarios participaron en un simulacro de evacuación mañana sábado, la simulación de un incendio devastador con Edna Maguire escuela que actúa como un puesto de mando.

A las 9 de la mañana, una sirena de evacuación y un sistema de marcación inversa al 9-1-1 notificado Scott residentes del Valle de una evacuación a pie, en bicicleta o en coche. Los evacuados se les pedirá que completen una breve encuesta en la escuela después de la perforación de composición.

Una vez que los residentes llegaron a Edna Maguire, que recibió información de preparación para emergencias y tuvo la oportunidad de visitar con organizaciones como la Cruz Roja, Marin Humane Society, Rines Whistlestop, Marín Cuerpo Médico de Reserva, Mill Valley de Preparación para Emergencias de la Comisión y el Ejército de Salvación.

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KCBS Joe O’Hehir and Jeffrey Schaub on Taxi Company Closure-May 4, 2015

KCBS Joe O'Hehir and Jeffrey Schaub on Taxi Company Closure-May 4, 2015

Whistlestop Issues Legal Claim Against SMART

Whistlestop Issues Legal Claim Against SMART2/1/2012 – San Rafael Patch

After three years of negotiating with a musical chairs rotation of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit general managers about the fate of senior services center Whistlestop, Executive Director Joe O’Hehir issued a legal claim to the agency.

“This is an issue that SMART needs to come and work with us on,” O’Hehir said.

The legal claim (avialable on the right) states that SMART owes Whistlestop compensation for the loss of parking spaces the station would take over and the impact construction would have on the center. The claim, issued in November 2011, means that if these issues are not solved before construction begins in the summer of 2013, O’Hehir will sue.

“We’re hoping that it doesn’t go to court,” he said. “We need to work together to find a solution.”

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Whistlestop’s plan for much-needed housing-July 17, 2015

Whistlestop’s plan for much-needed housing-July 17, 2015

As a place to call home, Marin has much to offer with its abundance of natural and human resources.

I am fortunate to have been able to live here since 1980. Unfortunately, Marin is not abundant when it comes to accessibility for people on fixed incomes.

San Rafael is an expensive place to live and housing options are limited — but it doesn’t have to be this way. Projects like the Whistlestop Mission Plaza are one opportunity to provide much-needed housing for our seniors.

I trust our community leaders to recognize the great potential of this project and the many lives it will positively impact.

— The Rev. Jan Reynolds, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, San Rafael Vice President, Marin Interfaith Council Board of Directors

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses recently presented The Christmas Jug Band at Whistlestop

2/23/2011 – Bread & Roses Blog

Bread & Roses has served Whistlestop in San Rafael for over five years, bringing concerts to seniors at their special lunchtime events. Their monthly newsletter, the Whistlestop Express, is known as the leading information resource for Marin’s active aging movement. The Feb. 2011 issue featured an article by Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper, “Bread & Roses Connects Heart to Heart Through Music.”

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses recently presented The Christmas Jug Band at Whistlestop

2/23/2011 – Blog de Bread & Roses

Bread and Roses ha servido Whistlestop en San Rafael durante más de cinco años, llevando conciertos a las personas mayores en sus eventos en la hora del almuerzo especial. Su boletín mensual, Whistlestop Express, es conocida como la fuente de información principal para el movimiento activo Marin envejecimiento. El tema 02 2011 publicó un artículo por el Bread & Roses Flipper Director Ejecutivo de Casandra, “Pan y Rosas conecta Heart to Heart través de la música.”

Marin IJ: Marin grand jury: transit for seniors inadequateMarin IJ: Marin grand jury: transit for seniors inadequate

<!--:en-->Marin IJ: Marin grand jury: transit for seniors inadequate<!--:--><!--:ES-->Marin IJ: Marin grand jury: transit for seniors inadequate<!--:-->Posted April 24, 2013 in the Marin IJ, this article reflects the findings of a jury panel after looking at area transportation services.

What are your thoughts on the article and what you know about transit services in Marin County?

Whistlestop Launches New Website to Better Serve Marin Seniors

Whistlestop Launches New Website to Better Serve Marin Seniors5/26/2011 – Patch

Whistlestop, the nonprofit that provides vital services to Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities, launched its new website, to provide easier access to resources for its clients and their families. The new site is not only easy to user-friendly but also accessible for people using screen readers.

“Our aim is to reach all of Marin’s older adults and encourage them to take advantage of our available resources – computer classes, exercise and tai chi, social groups, legal and tax advice — to help them stay active and connected with our community,” said Yvonne Roberts, Whistlestop’s development and marketing director.

Visitors to the site can search by keyword, peruse a full calendar of classes, seminars and events, find out the daily luncheon specials at the Jackson Café, sign up to volunteer, and download applications for transportation services.

“We hope that this improved site will also reach the children and grandchildren of older adults, especially those who live outside of the Bay Area,” said Joe O’Hehir, Whistlestop’s CEO. “My 80-year-old parents live in Florida, and I would greatly appreciate a resource like this when I am seeking assistance to help meet my parents’ needs for socialization, transportation, care giving, and help around the house.”

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Whistlestop Launches New Website to Better Serve Marin Seniors5/26/2011 – Patch

Whistlestop, la organización sin fines de lucro que proporciona servicios vitales a los adultos mayores del condado de Marin y las personas con discapacidad, lanzó su nueva página web, para facilitar a sus clientes y familias el acceso a recursos. El nuevo sitio no sólo es fácil de usar, sino que también accesible para las personas que utilizan lectores de pantalla.

“Nuestro objetivo es llegar a todos los adultos mayores de Marín y animarles a aprovechar de nuestros recursos disponibles – clases de computación, el ejercicio y el tai grupos chi, social, asesoramiento legal y fiscal – para ayudarles a mantenerse activo y vinculado con nuestra comunidad”, , dijo Yvonne Roberts, el desarrollo Whistlestop y director de marketing.

Los visitantes al sitio pueden buscar por palabra clave, examinar un calendario completo de clases, seminarios y eventos, busca las ofertas almuerzo diario en el Café Jackson, inscribirse como voluntario, y descargar aplicaciones para servicios de transporte.

“Esperamos que este sitio mejorado también llegará a los hijos y nietos de los adultos mayores, especialmente aquellos que viven fuera del área de la bahía”, dijo Joe O’Hehir, consejero delegado de Whistlestop. “Mis padres de 80 años de edad vive en la Florida, y yo agradecería mucho un recurso como este cuando estoy buscando asistencia para ayudar a satisfacer las necesidades de mis padres para la socialización, el transporte, dando atención y ayuda en la casa.”

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San Rafael and Novato make AARPs Top 10 List in Livability Categories-May 11, 2015

San Rafael and Novato make AARPs Top 10 List in Livability Categories-May 11, 2015
By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

When it comes to healthy living and the dating scene, AARP likes what it sees in San Rafael and Novato.

The cities made AARP’s top 10 list for small cities in two categories: best cities for staying healthy and best cities for date night. The categories are for people 50 and older. Read more…

San Rafael man gets U.S. citizenship at age 84

San Rafael man gets U.S. citizenship at age 84

Roberto Borge, 84, holds his certificate of naturalization at home in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Borge recently became a U.S. citizen. (IJ photo/Alan Dep) Alan Dep

2/2/2012 – Marin Independent Journal

Think you’re too old to pursue your dreams? San Rafael resident Roberto Borge, who will turn 85 this month, became a U.S. citizen in January after more than two decades in Marin.

“Even as a youngster I admired the United States,” said Borge, speaking in Spanish. “I feel like I’ve achieved the American dream.”

Borge came to Marin in 1989 from his native Nicaragua and worked for 10 years as a janitor before retiring.

Borge, a former member of the Nicaraguan military, opposed the revolutionary government that came to power in the Central American nation a decade earlier. He emigrated to the United States for political reasons.

Although Borge had been a legal resident for many years, he didn’t apply for citizenship earlier because of financial constraints and fear he would fail the written test. But Borge said he decided to apply last year after a friend in his Alma Latina social group in Novato told him low-income residents could take the test without paying hefty fees.

After studying for two months, he took the test and passed. On Jan. 24, the father of six and grandfather of 11 became a citizen during a ceremony in Oakland.

“I thought that was pretty awesome for his age,” said Denise Serpa, Borge’s granddaughter and a Richmond resident. “His English isn’t even that good. He was just so disciplined and studied.

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Whistlestop is at the right location for seniors- July 19, 2015

Whistlestop is at the right location for seniors- July 19, 2015
At the transportation hub in downtown San Rafael on Tamalpais Avenue, an ideal spot for the services they provide, Whistlestop is developing Mission Plaza.

Whistlestop’s efforts to reconstruct their building is a credit to our community.

By locating at this site, Whistlestop will expand and enhance the critical and important senior services they already provide.

It’s time for Marin to welcome and help this fine organization and the seniors of Marin.

Marin is aging and I hope that the greater Marin community will realize how important the Mission Plaza project is for our seniors and for San Rafael in general.

– Tom Verkozen, Corte Madera

Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Mechanic Juan Gonzalez in Whistlestop’s new facility for its vans / photo by Eric Slomanson

Marin Community Foundation

It’s impossible to drive anywhere in Marin without seeing the familiar white vans operated by Whistlestop. They represent the “wheels” part of the organization’s slogan, “Meals, Wheels, and More.”

Each year, the agency’s 55 vehicles provide 148,000 rides to the County’s older adults and people with disabilities — including 23,000 rides for people in wheelchairs. The vans take them to medical appointments and stores and to visit family and friends, with the added benefit of helping them connect with others and avoid isolation.

Behind the scenes, the maintenance of this fleet requires an efficient and safe facility — something that until recently didn’t exist. Drivers, schedulers, and mechanics worked out of several different locations — some cramped, some not safe, and none located conveniently to coordinate administration, operations, and maintenance.

When an ideal single facility became available, Whistlestop approached the Marin Community Foundation about a bridge loan to finance the remodeling — which ended up costing more than the original estimate.

The loan, in the amount of $165,000, helped the agency remodel the building, resulting in a state-of-the-art maintenance facility and more efficient administration of the program. But the real impact, according to Whistlestop executive director Joe O’Hehir was “much more reliable and faster service for our riders.”

“We’re focused on helping people improve the quality of their lives and easing their isolation and the more efficiently we run this service, the more that can happen,” he says. “And our staff — drivers, schedulers, and mechanics — are now more organized, cohesive, and happier.”

MCF’s loan officer, Marc Rand, says this is exactly the kind of project the Foundation’s loan fund was designed for. “They had an immediate need for cash in order to take advantage of a building that became available. The results are felt by the dedicated staff at Whistlestop as well as by the thousands of riders they help. It’s exciting to see what a big impact a loan can make.”

The Marin Community Foundation Loan Fund provides short- and long-term financing for a wide range of important nonprofit endeavors in Marin, including affordable housing, environmental protection, and arts education, among many others.

Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Mechanic Juan Gonzalez in Whistlestop’s new facility for its vans / photo by Eric Slomanson

Marin Community Foundation

Es imposible conducir en cualquier lugar en Marín sin ver las camionetas familiares blanco operado por Whistlestop. Que representan las “ruedas” parte del lema de la organización, “Las comidas, las ruedas, y mucho más.”

Cada año, la agencia 55 vehículos ofrecen paseos en 148.000 a los adultos mayores del Condado y las personas con discapacidad – incluyendo 23.000 viajes para personas en sillas de ruedas. Las camionetas de llevarlos a citas médicas y las tiendas y para visitar a familiares y amigos, con el beneficio adicional de ayudar a conectarse con los demás y evitar el aislamiento.

Detrás de las escenas, el mantenimiento de esta flota requiere una instalación eficiente y segura – algo que hasta hace poco no existía. Los conductores, los programadores y mecánicos han trabajado a partir de varios lugares diferentes – algunos estrechos, algunos no son seguros, y no está convenientemente ubicado para coordinar la administración, operación y mantenimiento.

Cuando una instalación sencilla e ideal se puso a disposición, Whistlestop se acercó a la Fundación Comunitaria de Marin sobre un préstamo puente para financiar la remodelación – que acabó costando más que la estimación original.

El préstamo, por un monto de $ 165.000, ayudó a la remodelación de la agencia del edificio, lo que resulta en un estado de la técnica de las instalaciones de mantenimiento y una administración más eficiente del programa. Pero el impacto real, de acuerdo con el director ejecutivo Joe Whistlestop O’Hehir era “un servicio mucho más rápidas y fiables para nuestros pasajeros.”

“Estamos enfocados en ayudar a mejorar la calidad de sus vidas y aliviar su aislamiento y de la manera más eficiente que ejecutar este servicio, más que puede pasar”, dice. “Y nuestro personal – conductores, programadores, y la mecánica – están ahora más organizadas y unidas, y más feliz.”

MCF oficial de préstamos, Marc Rand, dice que esto es exactamente el tipo de proyecto se diseñó fondos de la Fundación para el préstamo. “Ellos tenían una necesidad inmediata de dinero en efectivo con el fin de tomar ventaja de un edificio que llegó a estar disponible. Los resultados son percibidos por el personal dedicado a Whistlestop, así como por los miles de usuarios que ayudan. Es emocionante ver lo que un gran impacto en una préstamo puede hacer. ”

La comunidad de Marin Fondo de Préstamos para la Fundación proporciona financiación a corto y largo plazo para una amplia gama de importantes iniciativas sin fines de lucro en Marin, incluyendo viviendas asequibles, protección del medio ambiente, y la educación artística, entre muchos otros. 

Marin IJ: Whistlestop delivers the holiday spirit

<!--:en-->Marin IJ: Whistlestop delivers the holiday spirit<!--:-->Posted December 20, 2013 in the Marin IJ, this article covers the story of our wildly successful holiday card drive for Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels recipients. We were overwhelmed by the community’s response – elementary schools, girl scout troops, families and friends donated over 1,300 cards for the project and our drivers were able to give each of our 250 recipients more than 5 cards a piece during meal deliveries on 12/20/13.

A Lunch to Whistle About

A Lunch to Whistle About5/31/2011 – Marin Magazine

by Jim Wood

Rocky Packard? Wasn’t he an “american idol” finalist? Or is he catcher for the Giants? Wrong on both counts. Rocky Packard is the head chef at Jackson Cafe, Whistlestop’s lunch spot in San Rafael.

Still, Packard is a celebrity. A celebrity chef. “Rocky rocks” is what they say around the cafe, adjacent to Marin’s main transit center on Tamalpais Avenue. That chant is often followed by “The food here is soooo good!” Here’s the story: Two of the county’s top nonprofits — Whistlestop, a 57-year-old organization that promotes independent living and well-being among the county’s many seniors and people with disabilities, and Homeward Bound, which serves a good portion of Marin’s homeless community — recently got together and transformed a bland senior center’s cafe into a lively, tasty treat of a place for lunch. And Rocky Packard was the key ingredient.

“For several years, I was on Homeward Bound’s board of directors,” he recalls, and “all the while I was head of food services for some of Marin’s most upscale markets.” Meanwhile, Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe, named for H.C. Jackson — founder of nearby mega-store Jackson’s Hardware, whose grant made the eatery possible — was, in the words of Whistlestop’s popular CEO, Joe O’Hehir, “not doing as well as we’d have liked.”

So Whistlestop, with a so-so seniors’ cafe on its hands, approached Homeward Bound — whose Fresh Start Culinary Academy helps get homeless people back into the workforce — for a solution. From the get-go Packard was part of the discussion. And it didn’t take long before Packard — with three decades of high-end restaurant work on his résumé — stepped out of his Homeward Bound directorship, slipped into his chef’s garb and went to work at Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe. “I was tired of the rat race,” he says. “Despite many very successful operations, alI I heard were the complaints; now I hear nothing but compliments.” Also a plus: Packard now spends evenings with his wife and three sons.

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A Lunch to Whistle About5/31/2011 – Marin Magazine

por Jim Wood

Roca Packard? ¿No era él un “ídolo americano” finalista? ¿O es receptor de los Gigantes? Mal en ambos casos. Roca Packard es el jefe de cocina en el Jackson Café, lugar Whistlestop el almuerzo en San Rafael.

Sin embargo, Packard es una celebridad. Un cocinero de la celebridad. “Piedras de roca” es lo que dicen de todo el café, junto al principal centro de tránsito de Marín en la avenida Tamalpais. Que el canto es a menudo seguida de “La comida aquí es muuuy bien!” Aquí está la historia: Dos de las organizaciones no lucrativas más alto del condado – Whistlestop, una organización de 57 años de edad, que promueve la vida independiente y el bienestar entre muchas personas mayores de la comarca y la gente con discapacidad, y la vuelta a casa, que sirve una buena parte de la comunidad de personas sin hogar de Marin – recientemente se reunieron y transformaron una cafetería del centro blando de alta en un convite festivo, sabrosa de un lugar para el almuerzo. Y Rocky Packard fue el ingrediente clave.

“Desde hace varios años, yo estaba a bordo de vuelta a casa, de directores”, recuerda, y “todo el tiempo que fue jefe de los servicios de comida para algunos de los mercados más exclusivos de Marín.” Mientras tanto, Jackson Whistlestop’s Cafe, el nombre de HC Jackson – fundador de hardware cercana mega-tienda de Jackson, cuya concesión hizo posible el restaurante – era, en palabras del consejero delegado populares Whistlestop, Joe O’Hehir, “no va tan bien como nos hubiera gustado.”

Así Whistlestop, con un tan-tan Servicio de ancianos en sus manos, se acercó vuelta a casa, – cuya Fresh Start Academia Culinaria ayuda a la gente sin hogar de nuevo en la fuerza de trabajo – una solución. Desde el primer momento Packard fue parte de la discusión. Y no pasó mucho tiempo antes de Packard – con tres décadas de trabajo en restaurantes de gama alta en su hoja de vida – salió de su vuelta a casa de director Bound, se metió en su traje de cocinero y se puso a trabajar en el Jackson Whistlestop’s Cafe. “Estaba cansado de la carrera de ratas”, dice. “A pesar de muchas operaciones de gran éxito, ali oí fueron las quejas, ahora oigo nada más que cumplidos.” También un plus: Packard ahora pasa las noches con su esposa y tres hijos.

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Dad Was Right and Ahead of His Time-May 20, 2015

Dad Was Right and Ahead of His Time-May 20, 2015
By Marty Orgel

Right now, I’m thinking about the years my father spent in a nursing home. And even decades after he died I have fond memories because I always knew my dad was in a good place. His time there still resonates with me, mostly for one reason. Read more…

Senior Center Without Walls

Senior Center Without WallsWhistlestop is happy to introduce a new service, Senior Center Without Walls

Senior Center Without Walls is a telephone-based outreach program for adults 60 and older with a lineup of workshops and activities offered 7 days a week such as brain games, bingo, book clubs, armchair travelers and daily 30 minute gratitude calls. All of the activities take place on the telephone with participants calling in from their own homes. For more information call 1-877-797-7299, or visit their web site by clicking here.

There was a senior woman, who lived in a shoe… – July 19, 2015

There was a senior woman, who lived in a shoe... - July 19, 2015
George Russell – Special to Marin Independent Journal

After a public “listening period,” the Whistlestop senior center has formally submitted to the city of San Rafael revised plans for a five-story affordable housing complex and service center as the site of its downtown depot headquarters.

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Michael Williams cooks at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

3/6/2011 – Marin Independent Journal

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, 37-year-old Veronica Brady helped whip up lunch for a room full of seniors, people with disabilities and other patrons at Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe in San Rafael.Brady, who in 2003 lost her law office job and has struggled with homelessness and low-paying employment since, is learning culinary skills and earning hourly wages as part of Homeward Bound of Marin’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.

In what some see as a growing trend among nonprofits struggling to make ends meet in the down economy, Whistlestop and Homeward Bound have teamed up to run the cafe and boost the quality of food there.

“We wanted to give our older adults a variety of food, to make it a little fresher,” Whistlestop CEO Joe O’Hehir said. “Plus it gives the (Homeward Bound) staff their real-life training, and they get paid for doing it.

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service
Michael Williams cooks a cheeseburger at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

“It is a critical success factor for nonprofits to work together,” he added. “It’s very costly if we were going to do it separately. … We’re hoping that this collaboration will really give an example to other nonprofits.”

Whistlestop is covering the operating costs, including food, and pays Homeward Bound a monthly fee for the labor, which then goes to workers like Brady. The agency pays its culinary trainees $12 to $15 an hour while they’re going through the program, said Mary Kay Sweeney, Homeward Bound’s executive director.

The cafe serves about 75 people a day for lunch, and is hoping to at least double that figure to keep the cost of food low and at least break even, in part by attracting the under-60 set with inexpensive, nutritious meals. The two nonprofits will split any proceeds evenly, O’Hehir said.

“It’s a win-win situation for both agencies,” said Rocky Packard, the social enterprise manager for Homeward Bound and a chef with 30 years of experience who is running the cafe. “We’re using it as an externship.

“They’re getting a little taste of the real world,” he said, motioning to Brady and 55-year-old Michael Williams, another program participant.

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service
Veronica Brady holds a sandwich at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

Brady, who now lives in an apartment in San Rafael with her husband, said she started the Fresh Starts program in February 2010 and hopes to eventually attend the Culinary Institute of America and become a French chef.

“They taught me a bunch of culinary skills like garnishing and basic stocks,” said Brady, who had cooked at home for years but didn’t know the professional basics. She also earned a ServSafe food handling certification.

Partnerships among nonprofits are “something I think that all of us understand is going to be even more necessary in the current environment,” said Thomas Peters, president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation, a substantial funder of both Whistlestop and Homeward Bound.

“What’s happening is that particularly in this environment that’s a very challenging environment for nonprofit organizations and for schools, our experience is that groups really are looking for ways to coordinate and collaborate on their work,” Peters said. He noted that in addition to economic efficiencies, the partnership “almost always results in a better and more coordinated level of service for clients or students or anyone using the service.”

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Rafael Hidalgo washes dishes in the kitchen at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

Homeward Bound and Whistlestop aren’t the only nonprofits to team up that the community foundation works with, Peters said. For example, more than a dozen groups have partnered to form the Thriving Families Network, which seeks to strengthen families and help individuals achieve self-sufficiency, among other goals, he noted.

“Over time I definitely am seeing more openness (to collaboration), and it’s clearly the cuts in resources,” said Linda Davis, CEO of the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin. “What a lot of nonprofits did when the economy collapsed is we reduced our staffing. In order to get our missions accomplished, we are looking at partnerships and collaborations in a whole different way.”

Davis said her organization has been discussing at its monthly roundtable of local executive directors ways in which nonprofits can work together, and plans to put “building capacity of organizations to have meaningful collaboration” on the agenda for the Marin Nonprofit Conference in November. She pointed to collaborations that are already taking place among Marin organizations, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County, Ritter Center and the Salvation Army, as well as the Marin Human Race.

“I do think it needs to happen more and more, but I think there’s different levels … from working together on a project, to a partnership to a collaboration — a merger would be one extreme,” Davis said. “It takes a pretty sophisticated leader to put the needs of the clients ahead of the turf issues, power issues. When the (Marin) Food Bank had the recent merger (with the San Francisco Food Bank), there were a lot of egos … but what they always kept in front of them was, ‘We’re going to feed more people.'”

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Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Michael Williams cooks at Whistlestop on Wednesday in San Rafael,... (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

06/03/2011 – Marin Independent Journal

En una reciente tarde de miércoles, de 37 años de edad, Verónica Brady ayudó a avivar el almuerzo por una habitación llena de personas mayores, personas con discapacidad y otros clientes en el Jackson Whistlestop de Cafe en San Rafael.Brady, que en 2003 perdió su trabajo y tiene despacho de abogados problemas con la falta de vivienda y el empleo de baja remuneración, ya que, es el aprendizaje de habilidades culinarias y ganan salarios por hora como parte de vuelta a casa de los Marín fresco Inicia Academia Culinaria.

En lo que algunos ven como una tendencia creciente entre las organizaciones no lucrativas que luchan por sobrevivir en la economía a la baja, Whistlestop and Bound vuelta a casa se han unido para ejecutar el café y mejorar la calidad de la comida.

“Queríamos dar a nuestros adultos mayores una variedad de alimentos, para que sea un poco más fresco”, dijo el CEO Joe Whistlestop O’Hehir. “Además, le da al personal (Homeward Bound) su formación en la vida real, y se les paga por hacerlo.

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Michael Williams cooks a cheeseburger at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

“Es un factor crítico de éxito para las organizaciones no lucrativas a trabajar juntos”, agregó. “Es muy costoso si se va a hacer por separado. … Tenemos la esperanza de que esta colaboración será realmente un ejemplo para otras organizaciones no lucrativas”.

Whistlestop está cubriendo los gastos de explotación, en especial la alimentación, y paga vuelta a casa de una cuota mensual por el trabajo, que luego va a los trabajadores como Brady. La agencia paga a sus aprendices culinaria de $ 12 a $ 15 la hora, mientras que van a través del programa, dijo Mary Kay Sweeney, vuelta a casa, el director ejecutivo.

La cafetería sirve alrededor de 75 personas por día para el almuerzo, y espera al menos duplicar esa cifra para mantener el costo de los alimentos de baja y por lo menos el punto de equilibrio, en parte por atraer a los menores de 60 años con las comidas baratas y nutritivas. Las dos organizaciones no lucrativas se repartirán cualquier producto de manera uniforme, O’Hehir dijo.

“Es una situación ganar-ganar para ambas agencias”, dijo Rocky Packard, el gerente de la empresa social para la vuelta a casa y un chef con 30 años de experiencia que se está ejecutando el café. “Lo estamos utilizando como una pasantía.

“Se están poniendo un poco de sabor en el mundo real”, dijo señalando a Brady y los 55 años de edad, Michael Williams, otro participante en el programa.

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Veronica Brady holds a sandwich at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

Brady, que ahora vive en un apartamento en San Rafael con su marido, dijo que comenzó el programa de Fresco inicia en febrero de 2010 y espera asistir a la final del Culinary Institute of America y convertirse en un chef francés.

“Me enseñaron un montón de habilidades culinarias, como guarnición y las acciones básicas”, dijo Brady, que había cocinado en su casa durante años, pero no sabe los fundamentos profesionales. Ella también ganó un alimento ServSafe certificación de manejo.

Las asociaciones entre las organizaciones no lucrativas son “algo que creo que todos entendemos que va a ser aún más necesario en el entorno actual”, dijo Thomas Peters, presidente y director ejecutivo de la Fundación Comunitaria de Marin, una fuente de financiación importante de los Whistlestop and Bound vuelta a casa.

“Lo que pasa es que todo en este ambiente que es un entorno muy difícil para las organizaciones sin fines de lucro y para las escuelas, nuestra experiencia es que los grupos realmente están buscando la manera de coordinar y colaborar en su trabajo”, dijo Peters. Señaló que además de la eficiencia económica, la asociación “casi siempre resulta en un mejor nivel y más coordinada de los servicios para los clientes o los estudiantes o cualquier persona que utilice el servicio.”

Marin nonprofits team up for cost savings, better service

Rafael Hidalgo washes dishes in the kitchen at Whistlestop (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

De vuelta a casa y Whistlestop no son sin fines de lucro sólo para el equipo hasta que la fundación trabaja con la comunidad, dijo Peters. Por ejemplo, más de una docena de grupos se han unido para formar la Red de Familias Prosperar, que busca fortalecer a las familias y ayudar a las personas a alcanzar la autosuficiencia, entre otros objetivos, señaló.

“Con el tiempo yo definitivamente estoy viendo una mayor apertura (de colaboración), y es claro que los recortes en los recursos”, dijo Linda Davis, director ejecutivo del Centro de Voluntariado y Liderazgo sin fines de lucro de Marin. “Lo que una gran cantidad de organizaciones no lucrativas hizo cuando la economía se derrumbó es redujimos nuestra plantilla. Para conseguir nuestra misión cumplida, estamos buscando alianzas y colaboraciones de una manera completamente diferente.”

Davis dijo que su organización ha estado discutiendo en su mesa redonda mensual de los consejeros ejecutivos locales las formas en que pueden trabajar juntos sin fines de lucro, y los planes para poner “fortalecimiento de la capacidad de las organizaciones a tener una colaboración significativa” en la agenda de la Conferencia en noviembre de Marín sin fines de lucro. Se refirió a las colaboraciones que ya están teniendo lugar entre las organizaciones de Marín, entre ellos el de San Vicente de Paúl del Condado de Marin, Centro de Ritter y el Ejército de Salvación, así como la carrera de Marin Humanos.

“Yo creo que tiene que suceder más y más, pero creo que hay diferentes niveles … de trabajar juntos en un proyecto, a una asociación para la colaboración – una fusión sería uno de los extremos”, dijo Davis. “Se necesita un líder muy sofisticadas para poner las necesidades de los clientes antes de las cuestiones territoriales, cuestiones de poder. Cuando el Banco de Alimentos (Marín) tuvo la reciente fusión (con el San Francisco Food Bank), que había un montón de egos. .. pero lo que siempre se mantiene al frente de ellos fue: “Vamos a alimentar a más personas”.

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Students Cook Fresh at Jackson Cafe

Students Cook Fresh at Jackson Cafe
While the kitchen buzzes with activity and optimism, the dining room is relaxed, with a cheerful volunteer staff waiting to serve up the delicious results.

Read all about it by clicking here!