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Chef and volunteers serving a meal

TACO’s guests on Monday, February 4th got a special treat! Chef Zubin Kolah of Bombay Coast Indian Cuisine catered, providing Beef Ball Curry, Dal and Spinach, and Mango Ice Cream to 110 guests.  

Executive Director's Report

by Jim Lovell

Is my welcome to 2019 a little too late? Here we are in the middle of February it may even be the latter part of February before you have a chance to read this. The reason that I bring this up is because so much happens that carries over from 2018 into the middle of January. We talk about that related to donations all the time. For example, our Volunteer Coordinator Brad and I took in 21 boxes of jackets and clothes in December of last year and were still giving those out in January. It was 2018 when we took ownership of over 2500 pairs of brand-new socks from Bombas socks ( As a side note, what an amazing company if you have not visited them or not heard of them please go to their website. For every pair of socks that they sell they give one to people in need!

Those of you who have volunteered with us over the years know how much we talk about socks. Probably more than anybody should talk about socks, however everyone needs them. As I am fond of asking younger volunteers to our meal, “How often do you change your socks?” I can tell you that there are a number of parents who have shot disapproving looks either at me or at their child over the years. But you and I know for healthy feet how often we change our socks. We do not have that expectation for people living on the street of course, but I tell you if your socks are damp or your shoes are wet you know how important fresh clean pair of socks is. 
But enough about socks—we also were able to purchase presents for everyone again for all who came through our line on that Friday morning before Christmas! Not only did we give out fresh socks then, and handmade scarves, but the backpacks and tarps we had purchased with your money. This year adding to that present we were able to give $10 gift cards to either Ross Dress for Less or to Walmart. Now I don't have to tell you that $10 does not travel very far. But the ability to decide what to use your $10 on rather than relying on what somebody gives you, no matter how wonderful is a nice place of dignity for our guests. And you made that happen. 
In this issue you will find some great photos from our present wrapping and giving time last year, you'll also have an article by our Volunteer Coordinator, a save the date for this year’s Empty Bowls, and a list of our accomplishments over the past year, TACO’s Fast Facts. As you peruse that list remember that 80% of the money that was used to do all of that work came from you, our individual or family donors or from your churches! In this day and age that is really hard to believe. Recently I hosted a visit from UC San Diego’s Chancellor. He had come to visit the clinics and was being toured by the clinic founder, Dr. Ellen Beck. At the end when we were all standing around talking he indicated that he was duly impressed. But, he had a question, “How is this sustainable?” He could have as easily said, “How do you keep your doors open and people's needs met?” My answer to him was, “Exactly what we ask ourselves every day or week.” I'm not sure he got that, so I said to him, “there is not a business model to doing this. This work is based entirely on the sense of charity that comes to us from our donors.” Or you could say it's based entirely on the pull to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Or you could say it's based entirely on the delight of seeing volunteers and students sparkle as they learn from someone in need. 
I want to take a moment to give a special thanks to Brenda Johnson. Brenda, a member of St. Peter's by the Sea Lutheran Church, has been TACO’s Treasurer and bookkeeper for the past six years! She has done everything to keep track of all the gifts that come in and seeing all the money going out. Her dedication to our mission has been inspiring to me and I am thankful for all the support she has given us. Our board rules require that a board member can only serve to three-year terms before needing to take a year off. I am hopeful that she will keep in touch with us while that year goes by. 
I do hope you enjoy this edition. If this is coming to you in paper form, know that our printing costs have changed. If you are like me and you enjoy holding the paper in your hands while you read it please continue to receive this paper version.  You can also donate towards our increased costs. If you would rather receive it through your email, there are around 800 people who do that already, to join them send us your email address to our website. In either form we are so thankful that you follow us and read what's here. Your dedication is truly remarkable. 

Many volunteers from Cal Western School of Law assisting with meal service

In what has become a yearly tradition, volunteers from the California Western School of Law, along with Community Law Project Executive Director Dana Sisitsky, helped serve TACO’s Monday meal on Martin Luther King Jr. day 

Many volunteers holding wrapped gifts for Concrete Christmas event

TACO volunteers wrapped presents—including tarps, backpacks, gift cards, and scarves - bought through our “Concrete Christmas”  fundraiser. Our donors raised over $5,400 for these gifts!

11 people sitting at a table and enjoying a meal

TACO food coordinator Marguerite Grifka and Jude Anunziata threw a special meal to help raise money for TACO—we’d like to thank her and all her guests!

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