SFCHC CEO discusses keeping community healthy, upcoming fundraiser

Let's bring our community together for a "Show of Hope," benefitting San Francisco Community Health Center. Here's how you can tune in:

Video Transcript

REGGIE AQUI: We know the pandemic has hit communities of color harder. We can easily see on our [? streets, ?] there is a crisis of unhoused individuals in San Francisco. The city clearly cannot do it all.

Enter the San Francisco Community Health Center. They are fighting the good fight to keep people healthy. And they could use your help.

- This portion of "Midday Live" is sponsored by the San Francisco Community Health Center.

REGGIE AQUI: Lance, I'm so happy to have you on the show. Your organization does so many wonderful things for this community. So, for people who are not familiar, y'all have been around for a long time, but you've really expanded your services over the years.

LANCE TOMA: Yes. Yeah, well, we started in 1987 in response to the HIV epidemic in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. And, over the decades, we've just grown and really responded to the need here in the Tenderloin. We've always been grounded and headquartered here in the Tenderloin. So our focus has always been on immigrants, refugees, people of color, trans communities, LGBT communities, and the homeless community.

So that is what we're doing. We're providing wraparound, primary, medical, dental, behavioral, substance use care inclusive of street-based medicine and outreach.

REGGIE AQUI: And I want people to understand that, during this pandemic, this is, for many people that you serve, their primary health provider. And so they depend on your services to stay healthy at a time when that is increasingly more difficult to be that way.

LANCE TOMA: Yes. Yeah, especially during the time of COVID, what we realized is that folks just needed basic support. You know, folks were-- everyone was needing to isolate and quarantine or to shelter in place. And, for the homeless community, that just was not possible in terms of the rules and the guidelines that the city were giving.

And so we worked with the community. We took resources to them. We were educating, providing information about COVID and distributing masks and food supplies, hygiene kits, harm reduction supplies. And then we started taking our medical care out to the community so that folks didn't need to-- didn't need to move around as much and shelter in place as much as they could.

REGGIE AQUI: And, Lance, I should mention, this is all done for your clients without any regard to their ability to pay. So, if they cannot pay, if they do not have insurance, these services that are vital to them are provided for them.

However, it's not as if that comes for free. And that is where fundraising comes in. And, obviously, there's a great need. And that's why you all are doing this "Show of Hope."

LANCE TOMA: Yes. Well, and thank you so much, Reggie, for being a part of our "Show of Hope." And really you signing on so early on and ABC7 Bay Area being such an incredible partner, it enabled us to actually do a fundraiser. You know, we always have an annual gala fundraising event. And we actually canceled that last year because all of our efforts were focused on responding to COVID.

And then, when we thought about it and we thought about, well, you know, actually, now, in this time of COVID, folks have a new relationship with their television [? sets-- ?] and we thought maybe that's the ideal way for us to not only get our message and share what we're doing, but to raise critical funds so that we can keep our doors open. We can actually even expand the programming and services that we do.

REGGIE AQUI: And you just saw the guest list-- Darren Criss, Margaret Cho, Janet Mock, Geena Rocero, and San Francisco Mayor, London Breed. I'm hosting along with my friend Dale Johannes. So that is Sunday at 6:30 right here on ABC7 or on our live stream platforms. I hope you can watch. I hope you can give.