SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A native of San Francisco’s Bayview County uses his connections to bring together a faith-based community that ensures underserved African Americans lead healthy lives than.
Volunteers work with The Faith-Based Coalition of African Americans in San Francisco helps distribute hundreds of boxes of fresh produce and poultry from local food banks to dozens of churches in San Francisco and beyond.
The churches then deliver food to 800 families in need each week.
Assistant Pastor Siakimotu Mauga helps volunteers and donates food boxes to his congregation at First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in East Palo Alto.
“It’s what brings smiles to our faces at the end of the day. Knowing we could help someone,” he said.
Food donation is only part of the work of the Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded by Veronica Shepard in 2016. It partners with dozens of churches to address the health issues of Native Americans. Africa is not served by the city.
“Every single one of these churches faces massive health disparities that have a major impact on our black African-American community: heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer,” Shepard said.
Shepard exploits her relationships well. Her nonprofit has partnered with the SF New Deal to provide more than 350,000 prepared meals to more than 1,600 households in the year and a half since the pandemic hit.
And since only about half of African Americans in San Francisco were immunized against COVID, the coalition organized pop-up clinics to immunize more than 700 people.
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Shepard and her team also hosted a Feeding event over Christmas last year, giving out turkeys and other food to 5,000 households. They plan to repeat the project with their community collaborators this winter.
Alliance chief executive Dr Jonathan Butler said Shepard was driven by a passion for people.
“Her heart is a heart that is always looking to help others, whether they are hungry, homeless or helpless,” Dr. Butler said.
According to Sonya Brunswick, Senior Pastor at Greater Life Foursquare Church in San Francisco, Shepard’s power is in building connections to impact more lives.
“God has given her unique skills and talents to bring people together,” Rev. Brunswick said.
Shepard says she is simply fulfilling her life purpose.
“Anytime I can feel like I can do anything to make someone’s life a little bit better, I feel like I’m fulfilling my divine calling,” she laughs.
So for founding the African-American Faith-Based Coalition in San Francisco to make healthier lives for underserved communities, the 2022 Jefferson Prize Silver Medal went to Veronica Shepard.
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/01/27/san-francisco-bayview-district-native-unites-faith-based-community-to-help-others-2/ San Francisco Bayview District Native Uniting Faith-Based Communities to Help Others – CBS San Francisco