Relief agency needs $20K by month-end
By Jim Welte-Half Moon Bay Review--Photo by Mark Jordan
House co-founder Mike Niece fills up a bag of clothing for a Coastside
resident at the charity organization's regular food and clothing
Mike and Kathy Niece admit to having tunnel vision for the past three years.
also freely acknowledge that their single-mindedness may have
contributed to the current financial woes of the Magdalene House, the
Coastside home of the Catholic Worker movement, and their need to raise
$20,000 by March 1.
But one might be willing to forgive that
tunnel vision since the pair have spent nearly every waking hour in
those three years providing food, clothing, money and shelter to the
Coastside's poor and homeless, with nary a financial contribution from
the more affluent residents of the area.
Magdalene House on Kelly Avenue, well known for its frequent giveaways
of food and clothing, has also been helping the Coastside's
Spanish-speaking agricultural and day laborers to feed their families
and pay rent and utility bills. But now the organization is in its own
For the three years since its February 2000
inception, the group has operated on subsidies from people and
organizations affiliated with the Catholic Worker in Redwood City. But
those subsidies aren't coming this year, Kathy Niece said, so the pair
need to shift their long-stalled Coastside fund-raising efforts into
"We've been doing outreach, but it hasn't been as
focused as it should have been," she said. "We've spent nearly all of
our time devoted to outreach, developing relationships with the people
that we serve."
The organization's annual budget is around
$40,000, according to Kathy Niece, nearly all of which goes toward
providing direct services for the poor and homeless. The couple's Kelly
Avenue home, which also serves as a shelter for a handful of needy
Coastsiders, has already been purchased outright by a Catholic Worker
benefactor, so utilities and related expenses on the home are the
couple's only expenses beyond the services they provide.
to continue offering those services, the Nieces must raise around
$20,000 by March 1, and are seeking financial donations from anyone who
will help. While a short-term deadline looms, Kathy Niece said that a
long-term plan is needed as well.
"Part of our problem is that we
haven't gotten out to meet some of the community leaders and really
make people aware of what we do for people," she said. "We are the only
organization that offers the types of services that we do 24 hours a
day. We can respond to people's needs at any time of the day, including
evenings and weekends."
Despite the need to raise a lot of money
in a short amount of time, Mike Niece said that he is optimistic that
they can do just that.
"A lot of people have been responsive to try and help us figure out ways to raise the additional money," he said.
Two upcoming events could go a long way in helping the Magdalene House raise the funds.
Sunday, the Latino community is hosting a third anniversary celebration
for the Magdalene House at St. Timothy Catholic Church in San Mateo.
Food for the event has been donated by Half Moon Bay Joe's and Three
Amigos restaurants. There is no cost to attend, but a hat will be
passed around to collect donations from attendees.
Feb. 22, an annual spaghetti feast to benefit the Magdalene House will
be held in the gym at the St. Peter Catholic Church in Pacifica. More
than 250 people showed up at last year's event, and all of the $2,700
in proceeds generated by the event went to the Magdalene House.
seeking to attend either event or to donate directly to the Magdalene
House should call either Mike or Kathy Niece at 726-6606.