Tales of the Sunset

Tales of the Sunset: The Sunset Rises

The Sunset Rises

By Suzy Loftus

In times of greatest challenge, I have found that an antidote to anxiety and feeling down can be to do something. Anything. It can be small, but it packs the greatest punch if that thing you are doing is for someone else. Sure, it’s a simple concept. But, just like eating right and exercising, knowing what to do isn’t the issue. Doing it is.  

People in our neighborhood are showing us every day how to come together and take action to support each other. On an average day, before we knew anything about COVID-19, many of our neighbors were battling on the front lines of their jobs and then coming home and carpooling a bunch of kids home from soccer practice. Parents were spending hours organizing the at-home science projects for hundreds of elementary school students and then bringing dinner to feed the family of a neighborhood mom recovering from chemotherapy.  

The truth is that, in ordinary times, our neighbors go the extra mile to help each other and to strengthen our community. These are anything but ordinary times and our neighbors are doing more than ever to rise to meet this moment. From tiny steps to massive operations, our neighbors are showing us that there’s something that all of us can do.  

Maybe you are leading the charge of one of these volunteer efforts, or maybe you are curled up on your couch feeling isolated and disconnected. Wherever you are, consider some of these options as ways to take action and be a part of our community. Taking even the smallest step to help someone else might be just what you need to help yourself.    

How to help:

Join the Sunset Neighborhood Help Group: In a purely organic, very Sunset way, the Sunset Neighborhood Helper Group was formed in mid-March to ensure that vulnerable neighbors had what they needed to shelter-in-place. On their very first day, they had more than 100 volunteers sign up. They’ve done incredible work canvassing the neighborhood with a flyer about how to get help, distributing food and connecting people who need assistance with a phone helpline. If you would like to connect with your neighbors and help folks on your block, read more about the group here and join their Facebook group to get involved.

Sign Up to Help the Marin/SF Food Bank: We’ve all read about the challenges food pantries are having – from lack of donations to a shortage of food and volunteers. They have multiple options to help, from delivering groceries to home-bound seniors to helping at the warehouse and more. Many of our neighbors are driving around town delivering food to seniors. Click here to learn about the Volunteer Options.

Donate Medical Protective Gear: If you happen to have an N95 Respirator mask, even if it is opened but unused, or have things like an unopened box of latex gloves, hospitals need them.  Here is what UCSF will accept. Check your garage and see if you have any of these items. 

UCSF will accept:

  • unused N95 respirators and surgical masks (they can be opened, as long as they have not been used);
  • unopened packages of disposable gloves;
  • unopened containers of hand sanitizer;
  • unopened containers of disinfectants and disinfectant wipes;
  • packaged, unused protective goggles.

They will be accepting donations seven days a week , 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The closest location to us is the UCSF Mount Zion Campus at 1600 Divisadero St. Pull into the semi-circle driveway and drop off your items safely.

Make Non-Medical-Use Masks:  The latest public health guidance is to wear a mask when going into public spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Non-medical personnel should cover their faces with home-made cloth masks, bandanas or scarves. Many of our neighbors have taken to making masks, either with a sewing machine and fabric, or making paper towel masks that are disposable. For those wanting to help, but not wanting to venture out, consider making some masks for people in need. Here are links to some helpful videos that show you how to make them:  paper towel masks and cloth face masks.  Let your neighbors know you have and are willing to share homemade masks or consider donating your cloth face masks to local organization accepting them.  

Feed a Front Line Worker and Support a Local Business:  Another critical way to help is by supporting a local business that is feeding front-line workers. Locally-owned businesses like Andytown and Escape from New York Pizza are open and seeking donations so they can provide food and drinks to our front line hospital workers. Consider supporting this effort and  donate food. After you’ve done that, order some for yourself and your roommates! 

In the City of St. Francis, our neighbors are demonstrating that in giving, we receive. Please let me know the many ways that you and your neighbors are giving and how it’s making a difference in our community. I’ll continue to share the many stories of the Sunset rising.  

Make a comment below or email me at TalesoftheSunset@gmail.com.  

Suzy Loftus is a native San Franciscan and resident of the Outer Sunset, mother of three, former District Attorney of San Francisco and elected member of the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee.


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