Serving Seniors

On behalf of Serving Seniors, thank you to CCDC for your two generous grants totaling $70,000 for our Senior Nutrition Program. Grant funding supported life-sustaining nutrition and helped to improve the health of low-income seniors living in the South Bay region.

What Your Support Made Possible

For the last 50 years, our Nutrition Program has been the beating heart of our wraparound model, providing congregate and home-delivered meals to seniors across San Diego County.

When COVID-19 shuttered our congregate sites last March, we worked around the clock to transition our existing nutrition clients to home-delivered meals and meet the needs of thousands more seniors requesting services for the first time. Overnight, we began offering to-go meals at the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center and began transitioning all our congregate meal clients to home-delivered meals. Soon we had more than tripled our Home-Delivered Meal Program and launched a new shelf-stable meal option, with boxes primarily prepared by volunteers and delivered directly to seniors’ homes.

Last year, our Senior Nutrition team provided 317,325 meals to 830 low-income seniors in the South Bay region— the most in our 50-year history. This represents a 223% increase in the number of meals served to South Bay clients over the previous fiscal year.

To read this full report, please see the following PDF.

Kudos from Chula Vista City Councilmember Jill M. Galvez

CCDC received the following kudos from Jill M. Galvez | Chula Vista City Councilmember | District 2, Northwest.

• •  Kudos to  • • 

The Community Congregational Development Corporation for awarding $450K in grants for improvements to the Norman Park Senior Center, including lighting above the outdoor fitness equipment, transformation of the old interior fitness center into two multipurpose courts for pickleball, yoga, senior volleyball, and more, and a new bocci ball court to replace the outdoor horseshoe pits. Thank you, CCDC! Stay tuned for next month’s big announcement… To learn more about the CCDC, their mission, and the good work they do for seniors, click here.

Our great city of Chula Vista for being one of two cities in the County that were awarded $1M each for green transit projects from the California Air Resources Board. Click here for a sneak peek! And stay tuned for next month’s big announcement of what this means for seniors, businesses, and the rest of us in Northwest Chula Vista (a project I have been focused on for over two years will finally come to fruition!)

To read the full article, click here.

Tech for Seniors

Like other older adults, Jeanie Lemaire, 70, didn’t grow up using computers and mobile phones. She recognizes the value of technology and has made some attempts to learn, but beyond making a phone call or sending a text on her smartphone, Jeanie feels a bit lost. “People say ‘just experiment,’ but it is not in my nature,” she explains. “I am a people person but want to be able to participate in the world.”

Recently, Jeanie was excited to learn that a new pilot project, Tech for Seniors, would be offered at her senior housing complex, The Salvation Army Silvercrest in Chula Vista. This six-month grant project aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness among lower income older adults in South Bay through the use of technology instruction. The project funded by Community Congregational Development Corporation and is a partnership between the South County Action Network (SoCAN), the health and technology organization Sarsis, and two low-income senior apartment complexes in the South Bay.

To read this full article by Kim Gallo, please see the following PDF.

Casa Familiar Report December 2020




CCDC Grant Report

Emergency Senior Support Services July-September 2020

After Casa Familiar (Casa) received an initial small grant of $1,000 in May 2020 to support emergency services for seniors during the pandemic, a second round of funding was awarded from Community Congregational Development Corporation (CCDC) in July 2020 in the amount of $26,352. Over half of this second round of funding ($15,000) was earmarked for direct financial assistance to seniors having difficulty paying bills due to the pandemic. The rest of the funding went to continue providing emergency services to seniors in the community including food assistance and connection to local resources.


This second round of funding from CCDC made it possible for Casa to provide the following emergency senior support services between July-October 2020.

Food assistance: Weekly hot meal delivery to seniors in San Ysidro

  • 720 meals were provided to seniors over the course of 12 weeks, 60 meals per week
  • Recipients included formerly homeless seniors who recently moved into the newly built San Ysidro Senior Village permanent supportive housing complex and low-income seniors living in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Meals were provided by local, family-owned restaurant, El Rincon. They were traditional Mexican dishes, prepared with the health of our seniors in mind. Funding helped support this small business, whose generosity started and sustains the meal delivery.
  • Casa staff deliver the weekly meals door-to-door and use the opportunity to remain connected with our senior clients and check-in on their well-being

Connection to local resources: Delivery of printed newsletters

  • 3 editions of Casa’s bilingual printed newsletters were created to help provide
    digitally disconnected seniors with information about available local resources
  • A total of 1,260 newsletters were distributed
  • 180 newsletters were hand delivered to seniors along with their weekly meals
  • 680 newsletters were mailed out to seniors living the South Bay registered in Casa’s client database
  • 400 newsletters were given out during local food distribution events
  • See the English side of the newsletters for July, August, and September below.
    Newsletters are printed in large format on 11”x17” paper for easy reading

Rental/Utility Assistance: Direct payments to help seniors in need pay outstanding bills
Financial assistance was provided to a total of 34 low-income seniors living in the South Bay including
o Rent assistance for 21 individuals
o SDGE past-due bill payment assistance for 4 individuals
o Car repair assistance for 3 individuals
o Auto loan payment assistance for 2 individuals
o Medical bill assistance, hearing aid purchase, credit payoff assistance and food expense assistance each for 1 individual

  • Along with the direct financial assistance, individuals received help with budgeting and financial coaching from Casa’s Financial Opportunities Center
  • A total of $15,000 was given out in direct financial assistance thanks to CCDC
  • Conclusion
    With this second round of funding from CCDC, Casa was able to support over 1,000 seniors in the South Bay with either food, connection to resources, or direct financial assistance. We were also able to give back to CCDC by helping get our senior program participants to fill out CCDC’s needs survey.
    The budgeted funding for food assistance ran out at the end of September. Since that time we have continued delivering weekly meals, but had to decrease from 60 to 20 individuals. The local restaurant, El Rincon, is donating the meals and Casa is donating the staff time through the end of the calendar year. Casa continues to produce bilingual newsletters on a semi-monthly basis. Newsletters are distributed at food banks and throughout the community, but not mailed out to individual households. Lastly, Casa continues to support low-income seniors with financial coaching, applications for government benefits, and connection to financial assistance whenever available.
    We thank CCDC for their support of our programs and the seniors in our community. In 2021, Casa looks forward to continuing to support seniors living in isolation through innovative and culturally sensitive programming. This will include starting up as the new on-site service provider at two low-income senior apartment complexes in San Ysidro with a total of 160 units. We hope to continue collaborating with CCDC to provide much needed programs to seniors in our community.

Casa Familiar

Curious about CCDC impact?  The original article can be found on the Casa Familiar’s website.

Each week, this San Ysidro restaurant feeds 60 neighbors affected by the pandemic

Silvana Alanís, 43, owner of El Rincón restaurant in San Ysidro.

(Alexandra Mendoza – U-T)

Casa Familiar’s program allows to take hot meals to seniors

Silvana Alanís knows what it is like not to have food on the table. That is why she wants to make sure that in these difficult times, her neighbors don’t go through that.

Every Friday, Alanís, the owner of El Rincón restaurant in San Ysidro prepares, along with her team, 60 meals that are distributed mostly to seniors as part of a program of the community organization Casa Familiar.

Thanks to a fund from the Community Congregational Development Corp., about $15,000 was allocated to help individuals who need support to pay their rent, mortgage, or utilities, and nearly $11,500 to a weekly hot meal delivery program for seniors in San Ysidro.

The program started during the beginning of the pandemic, when Lisa Cuestas, executive director of Casa Familiar, heard of a COVID-19-positive single mother who was living alone and had run out of food. The Casa Familiar team prepared meals with what they had at home with the intention of dropping it off at the woman’s front door.

Someone from the team went to the El Rincón restaurant to buy soup and when Silvana heard the story she immediately offered to help, even if she did not get paid. That’s how the collaboration began.

Casa Familiar identified more people who needed assistance, and Silvana’s restaurant helped with the meals. It wasn’t until they received funding that the groups were able to provide food on a recurring basis. Now the plan is to continue for at least three more months.

Most of the meals are distributed to residents at the San Ysidro Senior Village, a new permanent supportive housing complex for formerly homeless seniors.

Silvana is willing to help in any way she can.

“Early in my life I went through hardship, and today I feel the need to help others,” said Alanís, a Mexican immigrant who bought the restaurant three years ago.

A native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, she came with her family to the U.S. almost 30 years ago. They immigrated at the invitation of a family friend who gave them shelter, but after a week, they were forced to look for another place since they were a family of eight.

To make a living they would get up early every morning and collect cans from garbage bins around town just to gather enough money to buy the ingredients needed to make tamales and sell them every afternoon. That was their daily life for several years.

“I remember that we were happy if we earned enough to have a shrimp Maruchan soup,” she said.

Eventually, her family found financial stability and later she got married, worked in different ventures selling cellphones and working in a money transfer business, until three years ago when Silvana and her family opened their restaurant in San Ysidro.

Casa Familiar workers take food from the restaurant for delivery to those in need.

(Alexandra Mendoza – U-T )

When the health emergency left many people out of work, she knew she had to do something to help her neighborhood. “Right now, we are all in survival mode. People need to eat and pay rent, and then we can worry about the rest.”

Veronica Flores, 44, is one of the beneficiaries. She learned about the program since she called the county’s 211 line in search of pantry items.

Her husband, a construction worker recently diagnosed with diabetes, lost some jobs due to the pandemic.

For now, they rely on their savings and some jobs that come up sporadically. “The little I earn is for rent or medical bills,” said her husband, Valentin Benitez.

In times of hardship it gives them peace of mind to know that at least every Friday they receive food and some groceries. “It helps a lot. It’s like a miracle,”Flores said.

For Teresa Gallegos, 80, the program is a “blessing” since for her safety she has not left her apartment in months.

During the week, she prepares her food with the groceries her family brings to her, but on Friday she takes a break with the meal from Casa Familiar.

“I feel happy, and I am very grateful for what they are doing for us.”

Community Through Hope September Update

Curious how CCDC is active in the community?  Here’s a note from Community Through Hope.

You can also find this article at the CTH website here.

Dear CTH Community,

Each week, cars line up outside our warehouse before it opens for the drive-thru food distributions. Even on days with 90-degree temperatures, our volunteers show up to guide the drivers through the parking lot of our warehouse in Northwest Chula Vista. They heft 40-pound bags and boxes of nutrition into the vehicle trunks – food that will last the week for many families.

Hard to believe it has been six months since COVID-19 stay-at-home orders began! In that time CTH has humbly taken on the task of providing emergency nutrition to the residents of the South Bay.

The result? As of this week, our volunteers and partners have distributed over 3 million pounds of nutrition – from rice and cereals to canned goods and fresh potatoes, lemons, apples and more. This number is sobering because the need is so great. CTH is now a Super Pantry in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank and a Regional Distribution Hub for Feeding San Diego. Together, we can continue to make a difference.

Many seniors are in need during this time. CTH has directed 1/5th of its resources to senior services, from nutrition and hygiene products to emergency needs, in partnership with Community Congregational Development Corporation (CCDC).

CCDC is seeking to better understand the needs of seniors in our community. Please take 5 minutes to help them gather data to inform their planning. Simply click on the link below to take the survey and provide input. Thank you for your time.

Community Needs of Older Adults Survey

Encuesta sobre las Necesidades Comunitarias de Adultos Mayores

About Community Through Hope:
Community Through Hope evolved through several incarnations over the last 10 years of grassroots experience and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Chula Vista, California. Our mission is to foster hope for a better life for those facing food insecurity and for those without a permanent home by providing a hand up through innovative and compassionate programs with equality, dignity and respect. We work with partners including Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank to provide emergency nutrition to our community.
Volunteer with CTH!