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The British Benevolent Society of California provides aid and relief to British Citizens in need.

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March 2018 Newsletter

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Relief Update from Karen Thomas

I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to see anyone homeless. There are a lot of problems that can lead to homelessness: mental illness, family circumstances, access to affordable housing, funding for outreach programs …….the list is endless. My own personal fear is to be homeless. If I could, I would get everyone off the streets and into housing. But that isn’t possible for our small organization. What we can do is support aging British citizens, who do not have family close by, to achieve a better quality of life.

In our February newsletter, you will have learned about the relief case involving Gladys, a 75-year-old homeless woman living in a shelter in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Her rent had been increased and, since living on a fixed income, she was evicted and homeless for the first time in her life. As Christmas quickly approached, we worked closely with the British Consulate General and San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team, to get her into a motel and out of the shelter. In the weeks that followed we located and secured an affordable housing option in Reno, a city that Gladys had expressed interest in living.

There were a lot of moving pieces as we worked on this case. In addition to locating realistic housing, we also needed to research, price out and organize a moving company to pack and move Gladys’ belongings. This type of due diligence was manageable but we still faced the logistical hurdle of physically moving Gladys from the Bay Area to Reno.

Andy, Gladys & Jenn

After asking for suggestions and volunteers to help us relocate Gladys to Reno, we were thrilled to receive a reply! I’m so grateful for BBS member Andy MacKay who stepped up to do “whatever I can” to help. Andy drove Jenn Baker (Executive Director), Susie Gregory (Chair of the Relief Committee), Gladys and her service animal (a cat named Josie) over the Sierras to Reno. Sadly, her pet parakeet Sunshine, died the day before the move.

NorCal moving company, who we contracted for the move, was extremely helpful and compassionate. They worked with us around deadlines and restrictions, and were understanding through the entire process.

One of the movers, who is resident in Reno, even volunteered to return and help Gladys remove boxes once she had a chance to unpack and settle in! Jenn and Melissa, at the Consulate, located Catholic Charities Services in Reno who are able to provide Gladys with support once in Reno. The charity offers a food pantry, senior service providing personal toiletries, additional assistance for her green card renewal and the ability to keep an eye on her. They are exactly what we were looking for to ensure that Gladys had resources available after her move.

Susie, Gladys and Jenn

It’s true, it takes a village to take care of children and the elderly. This has taken an enormous team effort from Jenn Baker, Susie Gregory and our Relief Team, Melissa and Nicola from the Consulate, Joy Perkins from Omnibus Organizing, Andy MacKay and Jessie Jones of the SF Homeless Outreach Team. And of course, none of this would have taken place without you! Our members help us to do this rewarding work by renewing yearly membership dues and choosing the BBS for your charitable donations.

Thank you!
Karen Thomas
BBS President

Spring Social


Don’t forget to register to join us for our Spring Social at Mantra Wine bar in Novato. Come and raise a glass with fellow Brits and Anglophiles!

Register Here

Rugby World Cup Sevens


Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is in the USA for the first time ever from 20-22 July, 2018. The fastest, most fun team sport in the world will be at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

Tickets for this action packed event are on sale now to the general public.

Are you and other BBS friends interested in volunteering? If so, let Jenn Baker know! She can connect you with the folks at Rugby World Cup Sevens. For more information, visit their website.

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

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