SAN JOSE, CA - The Sharks Foundation (@SJSCommunity) and SAP (@SAPSports) have partnered to provide a $50,000 Community Assist Grant to sponsor the African American Community Service Agency's (AACSA) (@SJAACSA) CARES COVID-19 Relief Program, a bi-weekly food and essential item distribution initiative aimed at preventing food scarcity, homelessness and emotional instability.
"AACSA CARES was birthed out of the pandemic to meet the needs of the community and make sure that we fill every void by informing the community with accurate information pertaining to COVID-19 and the vaccine, while providing food and much needed resources," said Milan Balinton, Executive Director of the African American Community Service Agency. "Today we have the amazing Sharks Foundation here, as well as our partners SAP, who have come together to help us prepare boxes for families and individuals, and to bring some love to the community."
"The Sharks are honored to stand alongside our partners at SAP in support of AACSA and the important and impactful work they do," said Heather Hooper, Director of Community Relations & the Sharks Foundation. "The AACSA CARES program is making a difference in the lives of those in greatest need in our community and it's an honor to provide both financial and volunteerism assistance.
AACSA CARES occurs on the first and third Fridays of every month and provides clients with emergency boxes full of nutritious food and essential supplies, such as toiletries, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and PPE. AACSA CARES expects to annually serve 15,000 low-income African American, Latinx and other underserved individuals in Santa Clara County, with a focus on San Jose. The $50,000 grant from the Sharks Foundation and SAP will directly impact more than 4,000 lives.
On Friday, March 19, volunteers assisted with the packing and distribution of boxes, cleaned and prepped distribution areas for future events and assisted clients in finding what they needed. Volunteers also served 75 unhoused clients at St. James Park, located not far from AACSA's location in downtown San Jose. San Jose Sharks loveable mascot S.J. Sharkie (@sjsharkie) made a special guest appearance to assist volunteers and interact with some of the 860 clients that were served.
"Service has always been foundational to who I am and I'm so lucky to have found an organization in SAP, that shares that mission of making the world run better and improving people's lives," said Gabby Zilkha, Product Owner @ SAP Conversational AI and recent AACSA CARES program volunteer. "To be able to serve now - during a pandemic - to support this local community means so much."
To learn more about how the Sharks Foundation is helping underserved youth and families in need in the community, visit the Sharks Foundation's website at www.sharksfoundation.org.