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The British Benevolent Society of California provides financial aid and compassionate relief to British Citizens in need throughout the Western United States.

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February 2018 Newsletter

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Relief Update

The Relief Committee has had a very busy start to 2018. We have been involved in a number of cases that have been rewarding and deeply touching.

We are actively looking for your help, suggestions and resources in assisting our most urgent case with an elderly homeless woman moving to Reno. Further details can be found below and we welcome your feedback and ideas.

Compassionate Relief

In late 2017, the British Consulate brought a truly heartbreaking case to our attention. A 75-year-old woman, who lost her husband 9 years ago, has fallen on incredibly hard times after being evicted from her apartment in the East Bay. Living on a fixed income, she was unable to afford a rent increase and was forced out of her home. Having never experienced such challenges in her life, she found herself in a homeless shelter in the Tenderloin Neighborhood in San Francisco. She has no family or friends in the US and is incredibly dependent on her companion animals-a cat called Josie and a parakeet called Sunshine.

The BBS was quick to help move Gladys from the shelter, especially after we were informed that she was very vulnerable. She was traumatized, having never been homeless before. We were able to get her out of the shelter and off of the streets by paying for her to stay in a motel in the East Bay. She has been able to gather her strength and begin working with us to determine her next steps.

Jenn Baker, met with Gladys and members of the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SF HOT) to find out how we could safely help Gladys start over again. She is keen to move out of the Bay Area, because of the cost of living, and move to a city where she will be able to support herself and return to independent living.

After her eviction, Gladys quickly moved all of her belongings into storage in the East Bay. We realized she could save money by organizing her storage and packing things efficiently. Towards the end of January, Jenn Baker met up with BBS Member Joy Perkins to take on this task. Joy is a professional organizer and business owner of Omnibus Organizing. Joy donated not only her time to pitch in and help Gladys but also paid for the removal of damaged goods and items that Gladys no longer needed. For her time and generosity, we are so grateful!

At this stage we are thrilled to confirm that we have found an affordable apartment for Gladys in Reno, Nevada. The apartment is ready for her to move in any day! Our next steps involve securing a moving company and finding a way for Gladys to travel to Reno. She is unable to fly because of health reasons and can’t take the train because Amtrak will not allow her to travel with a cat and a bird. At this point we would like to ask our members if anyone has any suggestions or leads on the following:

  • Any recommendations for moving companies that would travel out of state
  • Any recommendations on how we can transport Gladys to Reno and provide a smooth transition to her new home
  • Any contacts in Reno that we may reach out to where we could possibly organize a support system for her

Please call Jenn Baker at (415) 421-7195 or send her an email with your ideas. Any and all suggestions are welcome.


Over the past 3 years, we have had sporadic contact with a male Brit, Richard, living on a boat in Sausalito. His day to day existence has been very difficult as his boat had been illegally docked while he tried to re-build and hoped sell the vessel. Sadly, despite his efforts, the boat sank in January. His original plan had always been to return to the UK after some 40+ years in the US. He has family in London and a support system who have been eager for his return.

At the end of January, we were able to arrange for his return to the UK by working with the Consulate to issue an Emergency Travel Document. We provided him with some spending money and helped him renew his full British Passport. He should receive his new passport once he has settled in and he can reconnect with family and friends who he has not seen in many many years. We wish Richard all the best.

General Assistance

In a separate case, we facilitated the renewal application of a Green Card for an 83-year-old male Brit, who lives out of his car. We applied for his card in May 2017 and we have just received word that the card has been approved and we should receive it any day!

We will keep in touch with Trevor and see if he will accept any further assistance from us.

Membership Update

BBS Membership

Is your BBS membership current? Don’t forget that you need to renew your membership annually. For questions about your membership status, please contact Jenn Baker. For those of you who think your membership is out of date, watch your inbox for a message from Jenn reminding you to renew.

Don’t forget that there are different levels of membership offered by the BBS! In addition to the individual memberships we also offer Lifetime and Small Business memberships. While we always encourage and will accept any size donation, we are keen to keep our membership strong and involved. If you are interested in becoming a Lifetime or Business member, please visit this page for more info!

Your ongoing support and commitment to the charity allows us to continue to provide assistance and compassionate care to those individuals most vulnerable and on the fringe. Membership really does make a difference!

Upcoming Events

special event formal dining table
Mark your calendars for the following BBS and partner events!

15-22 February

Mostly British Film Festival
The Mostly British Film Festival was created by Ruthe Stein and Jack Bair 8 years ago to bring Bay Area audiences the best in cinema from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Visit Mostly British Film Festival for details on the 2018 schedule, tickets, special guests and more!

22 March

Join the BBS for socializing and sipping wine at Mantra Wine Bar in Novato.

29 March

2018 Annual General Meeting to be held at the Bay School in San Francisco. Further details here.


Save the Date and watch out for further information about celebrating Harry and Meghan’s wedding!

Thanks to our Small Business Members

A big thank you to all of our Small Business members for their contributions and support to the mission of our charity!

Thanks to CBA, FNB, Kiosk and Florin Pensions.

CBA logo

Other Newsletters

March 2018 Newsletter

March 2018 Newsletter

April 5, 2018

Relief update and upcoming event information.

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December 2017 Newsletter

December 2017 Newsletter

December 31, 2017

Our newsletter for December 2017 is now available!

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