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Our Community Focus

December 2016 was a Month of Giving

Dec 28, 2016 01:38PM ● By Jennifer Neys

December was a Month of Giving

Residents Helped the Homeless in Pleasant Hill

In November, an account on gofundme, a fundraising website, was created by Pleasant Hill resident Deana Rabbach to help a homeless resident named Gary get back on his feet. Deana stated on the gofundme page: “Gary is a retired marine, rides a bike around town, and is basically an all around good guy that just fell into hard times. He's been able to pick up gardening jobs here and there to make a little money but not enough to get him out of the cold this winter.” Approximately $1075.00 was collected in under a month. Deanna added, “The community support for Gary and the homeless in general has been more than I could have hoped for. With the help of a local church, a bank account will be opened for Gary so his money will be safe.” When Gary received his funds a week later, he said to Deana, “I am very grateful for the effort you put forth with the gofundme account for me. I would like to give back in some way - put up your holiday lights or something like that..." Deanna said, “My response was ‘I appreciate him wanting to give back, but sometimes it is nice just to give a gift without receiving anything in return. At least that's what I'm trying to teach my 4-year old twins.”

The Spirit of the Holidays…In the Park
The Jurow family of Pleasant Hill was in the spirit of giving in December.  The family set up a gofundme account to brighten the holiday for a homeless man they met in 2014. On the website, Melanie Jurow tells the story of how they met Mike in Peasant Hill Park on Christmas night two years ago and offered him a warm jacket.  “We talked with Mike for a while and came to learn that he has a college degree from UC Santa Cruz and is well spoken. He had fallen on hard times and is now homeless.”

They kept in touch with Mike and offered assistance where they could. Then, in December 2015, they came up with the idea of Christmas in the Park for Mike and his friends.  “My family and I were looking for a way to help others in need. We ran into Mike again the week before Christmas.  He was in the park with several other homeless men, his friends. We asked them if we could bring them dinner on Christmas night. They graciously accepted. On Christmas night we went back to the picnic table in the park.  We set a nice table, lit a fire in the BBQ, and offered a warm Christmas dinner to all of them.  Our two daughters also gave out presents to everyone there.  They all got brand new sweatshirts, socks, hats, and gloves, and Mike got some new books too. Mike told us that it was the nicest and happiest Christmas that he could remember," she added. 

The Jurow family continued the tradition last month. Their gofundme page raised over $1300.00 to go toward another warm Christmas dinner and gifts for Mike and other local homeless in Pleasant Hill Park.