No doubt some are showing up, but not nearly as many as some people in Tracy believe, reported Darlene Quinn, executive director of the nonprofit organization sponsored by 27 local churches.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Tracy Rotary Club at Manny’s Kitchen, Darlene said that interviews with 1,522 people coming to the facility in El Pescadero Park, including 910 adults and 612 children, showed only 4 percent are homeless.
Of the adults interviewed, the largest number — 31 percent —had full-time, seasonal or part-time jobs but were having a tough time making ends meet.
“The majority of adults without any income coming to Tracy Interfaith Ministries are married women with small children,” she reported.
Some interview results:
• 4 percent homeless
• 6 percent seniors
• 7 percent disabled
• 2 percent adults collecting unemployment
• 5 percent adults attending community college or trade schools
• 31 percent adults with full-time, seasonal- or part-time jobs
• 10 percent of households with someone collecting welfare
Darlene also dispelled a few myths about Tracy Interfaith Ministries that keep cropping up in Tracy.
A recent untruth is that Interfaith no longer accepts donations of anything but cash. Not true, she stressed. Although furniture and appliances are not accepted, food, clothing, linens, blankets, small kitchen appliances, dishes, silverware are. A limited number of decorative items can be accepted.
Some people believe that she and other members of the staff are paid, Darlene noted. All are unpaid volunteers, including Darlene, a volunteer for 14 years.
She added that although perishables are occasionally given to volunteers, they are not permitted take anything they want.
“I have fired volunteers who couldn’t resist the urge to help themselves,” she said.
As winter approaches, assistance from Tracy Interfaith Ministries becomes more important to individuals and families in need. she said, adding:
“What do we need most? Coats, blankets, food and cash. We hope Tracy area residents will be as supportive as they have been in the past.”
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.