Social Services Agency’s Annual Purse Giveaway

“The Only Thing That Separates Us From The Animals Is Our Ability To Accessorize”

They may not be Gucci or Louis Vuitton, but you wouldn’t know that from the smiles that beam from the faces of the moms who receive new and gently used handbags each year in recognition of Alameda County Social Services Agency (ACCSSA) Annual Mother’s Day Purse Giveaway.

Every mom deserves a nice handbag on Mother’s Day, and that is just what they have received for two years now at three ACSSA locations: the Eden Area Multi-Service Center in Hayward, and the Eastmont and Enterprise offices in Oakland. Moms line the halls to get a chance to shop for the perfect handbag at the perfect price—Free. The benefactors of this Mother’s Day generosity are all recipients of public assistance. The handbags are distributed on a first-come first-served basis, and come stocked with toiletries such as lotion, deodorant, and other niceties. All donated by ACSSA staff.

“We wanted to do something special for the moms who give so much to everyone else,” Andrea Ford, Assistant Agency Director for ACSSA’s Workforce and Benefits Administration. “This event has been so well received for the last two years that we knew we needed to make it an annual event and broaden it to include community donations. All handbags are donated by staff, and what they don’t have in their closets they go out and purchase.”

Last year the SSA distributed approximately 350 handbags over three days. “This purse will go perfect with my new mother’s day outfit,” remarked R. Scott, one of the lucky moms who got to purse shop in the SSA boutique.

If you would like to join in on the fun and donate a new or gently used handbag, the ACSSA welcomes your participation. To learn more about how you can donate to the Annual Purse Giveaway contact Sylvia Soublet at (510) 271-9100 for more information.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (Social Services Agency)

Earn Income Tax Credit—VITA/EITC

The Alameda County Social Services Agency (SSA) is provides no cost IRS certified tax preparation assistance to low- and moderate-income taxpayers every tax season from January to April.

Since 2002, SSA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) preparers have helped taxpayers to receive larger tax refunds by claiming the credits they have earned. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is provided to working families and single or married individuals. Additionally, families and individuals may be eligible for other credits. Individuals whose household income is $54,000 or less and married couples with an annual income of $70,000 or less are eligible to have their taxes prepared at one of our free IRS certified tax preparation sites. You are invited to have your taxes prepared at no cost by our qualified IRS-certified preparers. You can have your tax refund as quickly as 7 to 10 days. Don’t Pay to get your return completed or pay interest on refund loans. Let us prepare your taxes at NO COST. We will make sure you get the tax credits you have earned and the full refund you deserve.

If you would like to become an IRS certified tax preparer volunteer we would gladly welcome you to our team. All tax preparation volunteers receive free IRS certified tax training. This is an excellent opportunity to expand your skills and assist low income families and individuals get the tax credits they deserve. For volunteer information contact Jacqueline Jacobs at (510) 271-9100.

For information on Free Tax Preparation Locations, click here.

Season of Sharing Program (Social Services Agency)

Providing A Helping Hand Through Life’s Transitions

The Alameda County Social Services Agency administers the Season of Sharing (SOS) year round housing and critical family needs program. SOS is a private fund providing one-time crisis-based assistance for housing and critical family needs to Alameda County residents. The program aims to help eligible households regain stability after experiencing an unforeseen emergency situation beyond the control. Each year the San Francisco Chronicle campaigns through their readerships and private funders to raise money and help households who are in need of emergency assistance and residing in one of 9 Bay Area counties. SSA oversees the administration of the SOS program within Alameda County.

Program parameters and eligibility criteria

To be considered for SOS assistance applicants must be current Alameda County residents for at least 6 continuous months or longer and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Families with children under age 18 residing in the home;
  • Permanently disabled individuals (age 18 & older and receiving SSDI/SSI or medically verified);
  • Elderly individuals, 55 years or older;
  • Emancipated/former foster youth, ages 18-24 (verification of status from Dept. of Children & Family Services or other authorized agency required);
  • Veterans (with verification of veteran status from authorized agency);
  • Victims of domestic violence or violence crimes (incident within the past 6 months); OR
  • Pregnant women in/after their 2nd trimester (physician verification required).

For more information on the program, click here.

Doug Bond

Transportation Services Manager, General Services Agency

Doug is one of the founders of Dublin Boy Scout Troop 968, and currently serves as Scoutmaster.  The Troop started with 12 boys and has grown to its current size of 43 Scouts, including Doug’s two sons.  Doug works at least 10 hours a week helping Scouts as they work toward their merit badges, leads them as they perform volunteer projects in the community and take part in weekend camping trips.  He also helps organize a Summer Camp that takes place in various locations, including Catalina Island in 2015.  “I have very fond memories of being a Scout myself.  I earned my Eagle Scout and feel that scouting taught me many skills, including leadership and management, that I still use today.  It’s very gratifying to be able to do what little I can to help young people today to have these same kinds of great experiences.”

Lauren Baranco

Social Services Agency

Lauren grew up doing volunteer work with her family, mostly giving her time to church-organized efforts through their nonprofit wing, to help the under-resourced.  Mostly, the work has involved serving meals to the hungry – an activity she still does each year during the holidays.  “This has been a part of my life for 20-plus years and it’s irreplaceable.   Too many people segregate themselves from diverse spaces and it is critical to participate in opportunities to connect with people who live within environments and with experiences outside of our individual scope.  It’s also a valuable time to spend with family, working together to share with others.”

Linda Moore

General Services Agency, Office of Acquisition Policy

Linda currently volunteers as a commissioner on the Community Services Commission in her hometown of Hayward. The work involves developing strategies to direct State and federal funds in ways to maximize their benefits to low-income residents. The work is the latest example of volunteerism that has characterized much of Linda’s life. “I grew up in East Oakland and one of the things my parents handed down early on was that you have to do something for somebody else. When you went to the store for (an elderly neighbor) you couldn’t accept the nickel she offered you, because you were brought up to believe that we’re stronger and better as a community when we help each other.”

Nancy Bishop

GSA Purchasing, Procurement Support Services, Procurement and Support Specialist II

“Volunteering is something I’ve always done…there’s always people asking for money.  Instead of giving money, I put myself out there.”  For the past three years, Nancy has been closely involved in organizing the 24-Hour Golden Gate Relay, a race from Napa to Santa Cruz held every May to raise awareness about organ donor transplants.  Her work includes setting up the start and finish locations and organizing meals for 1,000 runners.  Nancy also was spurred to action this summer during a massive wildfire near Clearlake.  She collected clothes and other items from neighbors and co-workers, delivering them to an evacuation center in Napa, where she also volunteered as a disaster worker.

Thelma Starr

Eligibility Service Technician III, Social Services Agency

Thelma serves as the volunteer Family Resource Coordinator for her church, which means she organizes a monthly food giveaway for residents in need in Oakland.
“We help a couple of hundred people each time – seniors and just anybody who comes. I’m a Christian, and volunteering is something I’ve always done through church. You always give back. That’s how you receive your blessings.”
She adds: “The best part is when you see the smiles on their faces, when you cheer someone up. I want positive so I give out positive.”