West Marin Community Services
Point Reyes Station, California, USA
MissionThe purpose of West Marin Community Services is to support programs and services that ensure the well-being of individuals and families in West Marin. Self-sufficiency, human dignity, and social justice are the values that guide our efforts.
El proposito de West Marin Community Services es apoyar programas y servicios que aseguren el bienestar de las personas y familias en West Marin. Autosuficiencia, dignidad humana y justicia social son los valores que guian nuestros esfuerzos.
What We DoWe provide safety net services to all geographies of West Marin. Our coverage of services ranges from San Geronimo to Tomales to Stinson Beach. The populations we serve are low-income and include Latino immigrants, seniors, families, and homeless individuals.
* W.M.C.S. hosts the only Food Pantry in West Marin that is open five days a week. Our Food Pantry had to completely reorient operations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We lost volunteers due to their inclusion in at-risk groups and changes in maximum occupancies in the Food Pantry to accommodate physical distancing. Rather than having clients come into the Food Pantry to grab the food they needed, Food Pantry staff and volunteers now must field requests from the public. This is a new source of tension between Food Pantry workers and clients that has been very difficult to navigate.
* We assist clients with housing, jobs, and other necessities. Rather than hosting appointments in-person in our offices, we have had to rely on email and phone. This has impacted several of our demographics, especially those who do not have access to technology such as our seniors and homeless. We have accommodated these clients by providing physical applications and spontaneous consultation between a plexiglass barrier.
* We offer crisis and emergency assistance for basic essentials (such as heat and medical care) and other one-time needs that fall through the cracks (wheelchair ramps, car repairs, rent, immigration fees, etc.) Again, consultation and applications have had to be reoriented as touchless as possible because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
* We offer grants to pre-schools, summer camps, and after school programs throughout West Marin for childcare scholarships.
* We provide referrals, translation, and case management through partnerships with other agencies such as counseling and domestic violence issues, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (L.I.H.E.A.P.) applications.
* We provide direct aid for miscellaneous needs such as showers for homeless individuals, clothing vouchers for our Thrift Store, and transportation vouchers.
* We offer community programs such as a Holiday Food and Gifts Program and Tax Prep Saturday (with AARP volunteers). In 2020, however, the Tax Aide program saw a huge decrease in volunteers due to most of them belonging to at-risk health groups in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Due to this, Marin Tax Aide filing locations were drastically decreased. We noticed a difficulty of access for seniors that do not have modern technology or lack the skills to access online resources.
* We partner with local schools and other agencies to reach all those who need our services. Throughout 2020, W.M.C.S. has collaborated with West Marin Coalition for Healthy Youth with the goal of encouraging youth to avoid drugs and binge drinking as well as foster healthy lifestyles. We are also amid a merger with the Tomales Youth Center with a keen interest in expanding outdoor spaces in Point Reyes for youth to learn skills such as biking and skateboarding.
* We sponsor the Latino leadership group Abriendo Caminos (Finding our Path). This program has suffered in the pandemic as it relied on in-person community meetings to collaborate and connect with Latino members.
* We promote and sponsor platforms for community-wide conversations about equity.
Abriendo Caminos program is tailored for rural area participants that values and relies on community input. This program was deeply impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. While we continue providing support through networking, offering information about COVID, and referral to services, we put on hold the training, community meetings, and mentoring. We hope to take them back as soon as the Marin County, State, and Federal guidance allows.