On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Mayor Kevin Johnson was joined by Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, Wells Fargo Regional President David Galasso and members of the business, nonprofit, faith, and philanthropic communities as Wells Fargo presented a $50,000 check to Sacramento Steps Forward for the Winter Sanctuary Program, according to an official press release. The donation closes the remaining funding gap needed for this year’s program and the first time the program has been fully funded prior to the start of the winter season.

“This is a huge achievement for our community and more evidence that Sacramento continues to step up to help the least among us  – but we don’t want to stop here. We will continue to raise funds and create awareness for an issue that affects so many in our community,” said Mayor Johnson.

“Finding shelter for the homeless, especially in extreme weather conditions and being able to offer a warm meal is crucial in these difficult economic times,” said David Galasso, Wells Fargo Regional President. “That is why we are extremely proud to offer a grant of $50,000 to close the gap on this year’s much needed funding through our Sacramento NeighborhoodLIFT program.” 

Sacramento Steps Forward executive director Ben Burton said that Wells Fargo’s grant allowed them to exceed their funding goal of $150,000 for the 2012-13 Winter Sanctuary season. “We are extremely grateful to Wells Fargo and many other private donors for their generosity. We now have a head start on fundraising for next year and are exploring the possibility of creating a fund for year round emergency shelter for families,” said Burton.

The presentation took place at the Ephraim Williams Family Life Center at St. Paul’s Baptist Church.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation, River District, Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and other businesses associations and individuals are among those who committed funds or donated.

Winter Sanctuary, now in its third year, is one of the lowest cost emergency housing options for men and women experiencing homeless in the winter months. At $11 per night per person, the cost is approximately $150,000 to operate the program for the entire season. The City and County of Sacramento have committed $250,000 for winter overflow shelter for families with children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Winter Sanctuary will operate from November 19, 2012 through March 31, 2013 to offer 100 homeless men and women warm meals and night time shelter at 26 local churches, synagogues, and mosques on a rotating basis. Congregation volunteers prepare and serve meals as well as offer various activities. Transportation and staffing for the program are provided by Volunteers of America. The program served over 500 individuals last year.

For more information, visit sacramentostepsforward.org.

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