Clayton couple expand drive to help the homeless at the holidays

Clayton couple expand drive to help the homeless at the holidays

Clayton couple expand drive to help the homeless at the holidays
Scott Denslow used donated funds to buy canned food to distribute to the homeless at Christmas. (Terri Denslow photos)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—Since returning to California after living out of state for several years, Terri and Scott Denslow have become overwhelmed by the continuous growth of homelessness throughout the Bay Area.

Over Christmas in 2019, they decided to lend a helping hand.

“We launched a fundraiser amongst some of our close friends and used the money to purchase items for care packages that we distributed on Christmas Eve 2019,” says Terri. “That experience sparked a passion for us both as we met some wonderful people with great hearts, but simply without a house. It made us want to do more.”

Expanding their reach

Throughout 2020, the Clayton couple took note of locations of homeless camps throughout the Bay Area with the aspiration of expanding their reach. They decided to ask the community for clothing and toiletries donations as well as funds so they could buy canned food for care packages. They were “elated” when the community responded to social media requests in only a three-week time period.

“We collected approximately 75-80 bags of clothing, blankets and jackets,” Terri reports. “Folks donated to a GoFundMe that raised approximately $1,200 used to purchase food and supplemental toiletries.”

The Denslows revisited some of the homeless camps to learn that many had been largely abandoned due to efforts to keep people safe during the pandemic. After research, they found out about safe camps established in San Francisco, where workers are keeping mind of temperature checks, social distancing and masks for about 150 homeless people.

In addition to delivering several bags of clothing, toiletries, masks and food to the safe camps, the couple donated clothing and toys to organizations helping the homeless.

Care packages

Clayton couple expand drive to help the homeless at the holidays
The haul after Terri and Scott Denslow sorted the first round of clothing donations in their Clayton living room. As more donations came in, Terri says they ended up with four rounds of goods “all to that same density level.”

“Lastly, we saw several individual folks throughout the East Bay wandering the streets alone,” Terri adds. “Thus, we assembled approximately 60 care packages of food, clothing, toiletries and masks and spent a few days driving around Concord, Pleasant Hill, Oakland and San Francisco to seek folks out individually and share a care package with them as well as any other clothing items or blankets that they needed.”

They have distributed all of the care packages but still have blankets and coats they can give out as needed.

“We are amazed at the gracious response of our fellow neighbors to help our homeless neighbors in need,” she says. “You never know the impact you can have on someone’s life with one simple kind act.”