Saturday, December 25, 2010

In the Pumpkin Patch

This entry originally appeared on I Live Here SF by Julie:

When I moved into the house my grandparents had purchased in the 1950′s, I began making big changes. I cleaned up the yard and replanted the vegetable garden to give the neighborhood children a safe place to play. I cleared the clutter from the garage in order to set up a food pantry that now serves over 400 families every Monday. I tidied up the old garden room in the basement to house a children’s library that includes over 2000 books. The next project is the renovation of the barn. It’s the future location of the worship space for The Bayview Mission, a ministry of Grace Cathedral that is supported by The Episcopal Diocese of California and nearby parish St. Gregory of Nyssa. For children growing up under a dark cloud of lack and despair, the rainbow inside the Crayola box is deeply meaningful. The impact of the Bayview Mission’s food pantry, community garden, and free library may be in the bringing of hope and abundance to those who have only known want and isolation.

My family home has been transformed into an outreach center in one of the most marginalized neighborhoods in San Francisco. The effects of gang activity, unemployment, drug-related crime, and industrial waste have been slowly grinding away at the residents of a once prosperous Bayview-Hunters Point.

Gaining the trust of my neighbors was the hardest part. I tried to do this years ago, and failed. Failed miserably! I had wanted to create a day-care center, and I didn’t connect to the people in the neighborhood. I just moved in and tried to set up shop. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. There were two robberies that occurred on my property. They stole children’s toys, furniture, and clothing. So I walked away from the house and any idea of doing something in that house.

Now my relationship to the people in my community is different because my intention is different. Before, I came in thinking I was going to do something for them. This time I went in slowly, hiring homeless men from the neighborhood to help with the initial cleanup of the house. I made improvements, and showed pride in the home. And then I planted the pumpkin patch!

Children came from the surrounding blocks to pick out their very own pumpkin. This was anything but trivial for the children of Bayview. These are children for whom traveling off their block can mean crossing gang territory. This was the first time any of them had ever had a pumpkin for Halloween. These are children who do not know that there is enough paper for them to draw on, or colored pencils, or crayons. For these kids, there is never enough. And this pumpkin patch is just for them.

You can read more about Bayview Mission here:

To find out how you can get involved with Bayview Mission, please contact the Rev. Nina Pickerrell at (415) 515-4059 or

Monday, December 20, 2010

Interfaith Shelter on Thanksgiving

Board and staff members--

The Interfaith Shelter, our joint project with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, opened Sunday evening, Nov. 21, at St. Boniface Church with site manager Fred Thompson in the lead and, this week, the Rev. Nina Pickerell and Grace Cathedral/Bayview Mission volunteers doing the evening meals. Credit to Nina and her crew for making it look easy despite the stove having gone out of commission Monday. (Repaired this morning, thanks to ECS board member Alex Senchak, who is coodinating the 30 congregations providing meal service during our 100 nights of operation.)

Gratitude also to Fred for leadership, good work and a nice interview on Channel 2 last night:

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Message from The Vicar of Bayview

Whilst sitting at my Grace Cathedral office during the quiet summer months, I received a phone call from Protiviti (one of six divisions of the Robert Half International). Their organization was looking for an outreach project during their annual conference in San Francisco. Their slogan was “To Grow, Strengthen and Succeed."

On October 8th, 2010 one hundred top executives walked from the Fairmont Hotel to Grace Cathedral to participate in a very special afternoon. Bayview Mission volunteers (including mothers from Cathedral School for Boys) rallied, and with truck-loads of tuna cans, cereals, soaps, diapers, infant clothing and children’s Halloween treats, we unloaded and setup the items in our conference rooms. Six different workstations were prepared. When the guests arrived they were divided into six groups and set about filling hundreds of bags with the items for Bayview Mission’s food pantry. It was truly amazing! They are very grateful and they continue to thank us for the opportunity in allowing them to serve.

Then, on Thursday, October 28th, Protiviti employees, Jim and Gordon came back to Grace Cathedral, along with their photographer Chris, to present Bayview Mission with a beautiful plaque, photos of the event, and a gratefully received contribution in the form of a check.

The words on the plaque say it all - “Thank you for ALLOWING the Protiviti Global Managing Directors to assist you with the Bayview Mission”. It seems the Protiviti executives that afternoon received so much from the opportunity to serve the community.

I want Grace Cathedral and every church and mission in our diocese to grow, strengthen and succeed.

How can we as a Diocese look outside of the box and “Allow others to assist?”

Bee Busy at Bayview 2010 Summer Camp Summary

Bee Busy at Bayview Mission 2010 ran for the first two weeks of August. Both weeks were spent at Bayview Mission this year, and as many of our returning campers are growing older, we decided to spend a few days our first week on local field trips.

On Tuesday the 3rd we visited the relatively new Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Our campers enjoyed a full day of everything from looking at sting rays, small sharks, and sea urchins to petting a cheetah hide, watching penguins at feeding time, and spotting butterflies fluttering around a model rain forest. The looks of incredulity on some of the children’s faces were wonderful.

The very next day we took a trip to the San Francisco Zoo and took advantage of the free day on the first Wednesday of every month. We did everything from watching bears search for food in their massive enclosure to riding a tiny train around the grounds. Everyone giggled as the train let off bubbles on our second round! Everyone from campers to counselors to adult chaperones had a blast.

The following week we stayed at Bayview Mission. Monday the 9th the campers helped with the food pantry by handing out the backpacks we had made the previous Monday. Each child gets the chance to keep their own school supplies for the coming year.

The rest of the week was spent engaging in a variety of activities. We had plenty of arts and crafts projects, including mosaics (Christina made a lovely one with the words “Bayview Mission”), coloring books, painting small pottery, and of course the kids’ all-time favorite, tiny beads, which can be ironed so that they meld into various shapes. We had farm animals visit again this year (everything from horses to chickens and bunnies), and while the campers still enjoyed them, we’re thinking we won’t have them back next year, as field trips really seem to be the most engaging new activity for our growing campers. All in all it was another great year for Bee Busy at Bayview Mission!

Victoria Holt
Seattle University
Junior Year Student/Bishop’s Committee Member
Written October 5, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bayview Mission Halloween Costume Distribution

This afternoon (Oct 25, 2010) Bayview Mission greeted numerous families at our fourth annual Halloween costume party. Else Holt welcomed each family as they arrived and encouraged everyone to take home as many Halloween books as they wanted. Each family received Halloween treats whilst their children picked out their very own special Halloween costume. Thanks to Christine Hendrickson and Gabriela Bruce for their patience and warmth in listening carefully to each child’s wishes and helping them to choose costumes. The faces of the children lit up as soon as they found something that was perfect for them. It was smiles all around! Deacon Nina made sure to capture images of the happy faces, and they also picked out their very own child-sized pumpkin to take home. Today we made it possible for 75 children to participate in their school and community Halloween festivities!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bayview Mission and Help a Mother Out Provide Assistance to San Bruno Neighborhood

The following is an article written by Christine Hendrickson, a volunteer from Bayview Mission.

Hearing about and seeing the effects of the San Bruno fire was so emotional last night. All I could think of was the families and animals that were effected.  Right away I wanted to know what would help people out. I contacted Lisa Truong from HALO (Help A Mother Out) to ask if Bayview Mission could donate the diapers to San Bruno families. She replied within minutes and said "Yes!" HAMO receives diapers from Huggies, which are then distributed between organizations.

I woke up this morning and loaded up my truck with 30 boxes of size 5’s, 20 boxes of size 4’s and 15 boxes of size 6’s. Each box carries 2 packages of diapers. These boxes also include bathing soap, baby wipes, 2 crib mattresses, children’s clothing and toys. It was such an emotional feeling to know how many families this would help.

When I arrived at 251 City Park Way in San Bruno the tears hit. The street was backed up with people dropping off supplies. There was no honking or people getting upset with the traffic. There was a sense of peace that filled the area. Volunteers ranged from the local community to police officers. The news crews were interviewing people. 

I came up to the donation drop and my truck was surrounded with volunteers helping to unload my truck. I kept hearing thank you from everyone around. All I could think was no…THANK YOU!!! I heard another woman yell to other people “We have size 5’s!" My heart was so full of happiness! HAMO and Bayview Mission pulled together to help out a community in desperate need. When I pulled away from the parking lot I was in a state of pure AWE! So many people were there to do anything possible to help. Just amazing!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bee Busy at Bayview '10

From Aug. 2 until Aug. 13 this year, the Rev. Nina Pickerrell once again ran the summer camp called Bee Busy at Bayview in her yard at Bayview Mission. This year, both weeks of camp took place at Bayview Mission. However, for the first time, the children took two field trips.

On Tuesday of the first week, the kids, as well as their adult and teen helpers, went to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. They were treated to the penguin feeding, a stroll through the butterfly-filled rain forest, and a tour of the vast aquarium. They finished the day off with a view of the albino crocodile.

On the following day, everyone went to the San Francisco Zoo. They watched the grizzly bear feeding, at which the bears fished for their lunch. They also got to see lions frolicking in their den, a variety of birds, primates, and other animals not native to this continent. In the middle of the day, the summer campers were treated to a train ride around the park.

As has been the case year after year, farm animals were brought to Bayview Mission from a farm in Petaluma. On Wednesday of the second week, kids were given horse and pony rides and opportunities to pet and feed rabbits and chickens.

On several days, the Rev. Nina brought our her inflatable shark pool and waterslide. In spite of the cool San Francisco weather, many of the kids put on their suits and eagerly slid into the cold water.

As always, Bee Busy allows kids the opportunities to play games, do arts and crafts, listen to book readings, cook meals from fresh fruit and berries, and participate in the food pantry on Mondays. Again this year, the kids filled over 100 backpacks, both for themselves and for many other local children.

Bee Busy is an exciting opportunity for kids to play, explore, learn, and participate in community in the Bayview!