Orlando Gallegos, president of the board of directors for Transitional Food and Shelter (TFS) serving North San Luis Obispo County, had a lot on his mind at the start of last week.
While he was getting ready for the Atascadero City Council to hear his organization’s proposal to use the National Guard Armoury Building as a temporary warming shelter in December, he took time to emphasize the importance of their ongoing work and invite the community to have some fun for a worthy cause.
Two concerts are being held on TFS’ behalf, the first by the SLO Wind Orchestra on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Cuesta College from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Make a Joyful Noise is the Orchestra’s holiday concert with tickets available for adults at $20 and students half off through the Cuesta College Performing Art Center at 805-546-3198.
The second, closer to home and more of an all-out fundraiser bash for the charity is the Bow Ties Blue Grass Band, coming to the Pavilion at the Lake in Atascadero, 9315 Pismo Ave., on Dec. 8 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., which promises: “Live Foot Stomping Blue Grass Country Dancing Music, Excellent Fine Wine Available for Purchase, Scrumptious Desserts, Silent Auction
Tickets for that event are $30 per person with an option for a pre-concert “Meet and Greet” with the band in addition to music and wine at 5:30 p.m. for an additional $20.
“There’s very broad support for our work in the North County,” Gallegos said, noting that many community members bring food directly to St. Williams Church in Atascadero on the nights their warming shelter is in operation in the Parish Hall.
And he has a list of 40 volunteers willing to split the six-hour shifts for the shelter which keeps about 60 people a night in a warm bed on nights when the temperature is less than 45 degrees or the forecast chance of rain is greater than 50 percent.
“I think many more people are aware of the issue [of chronic homelessness] now than have been in the past,” he said, but added that fear keeps people getting to know their homeless neighbors directly, and there is always a need for funding to cover temporary program expenses even as the State and County offer the prospect of money for infrastructure in the coming year, “we’re getting ready to open right now so I’d invite people to come down. Anyone who’s brought food or volunteered understands these human beings much better as individuals.”
The list of people coming to help this year includes at least two formerly homeless individuals who were helped to get back on their feet through Transitions and the Atascadero Warming Shelter program, which was absorbed by the larger TFS nonprofit last year.
“One fellow I know is driving back from Texas,” Gallegos said, “he called us back this year to see how he could help for the holidays because he’d been helped. Another fellow is a formerly homeless man who is responsible for our setup and tear down every night and morning. He gets along with everyone who comes in off the street because he knows how to approach them, he was one of them, being
Other major relationships Gallegos points to for the organization are their partnership with Twin Cities Community Hospital, which recently recognized their efforts as having a statistically significant impact dropping Emergency Room intakes on nights when they were open last year. A member of Atascadero’s police force also sits on TFS Board of Directors.
Open 101 nights in the 2017-2018 season the warming shelter program usually runs December through April, however, they’re looking for alternatives at the moment as St. Williams will not be able to host them past Dec. 22 this year.
And after rejection from the City Council to the Armory proposal, TFS is open to ideas.
The benefit is a good place to start with tickets available online at my805tix.com or by calling 805-441-4897.