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In 1950, Charlie left his home in Alabama to work a civil service job at the Air Force Base in Oklahoma. There, he met the love of his life, Audrey. Audrey caught Charlie’s eye at church on Sunday and Charlie told his friends that he was going to ask her out. His friends told him there was no way she was going to go out with him and bet him $5 that he couldn’t get her to agree to go on a date with him. Charlie won the bet and won Audrey’s heart as well. In 1956, Audrey and Charlie headed west and landed in California. They raised their two sons in Livermore and have lived here since.

In December of 2019, Audrey was set to come home after suffering a stroke. Their oldest son Monte, reached out to Spectrum asking for help for his parents. Audrey and Charlie both became Meals on Wheels clients and receive lunch four days a week.

Senior Meals Volunteers at the United Methodist Church in Castro Valley.
Barbara, Margaret, Carol, Kathy and Rev. Shijung Shim

The Senior Meals volunteers at United Methodist Church of Castro Valley are a unique group of women. Some have been volunteering for over 20 years, others just a few months. While a few are retired and some are still active in the workforce, all of them love their volunteer work with Spectrum’s Senior Meals program and look forward to the days they get to serve healthy meals and visit with clients.

Carol has been volunteering the longest, beginning after the former Pastor told the congregation that the community needed to pay more attention to older adults and that the church was going to become a Senior Meals distribution site. Carol was already familiar with Spectrum as a participant in a Fall Prevention exercise class held at the church and so she signed on to help.

Prevent PG&E Shut-offs with Efficient Water Heaters & Furnaces

If you have been feeling the sting of rising utility costs since the new year—as much as 9.4% for combined electricity and gas, according to a Dec. 31, 2021 San Jose Mercury News article—imagine the shock for low income households when they opened their February utility bill to discover that on top of the skyrocketing costs to heat their homes, they could also be facing discontinuation of service for nonpayment.

The lifting of the pandemic-induced moratorium on shut-off notices—originally slated to lift last fall—couldn’t have come at a worse time for vulnerable communities in Alameda County. Many had been diligently applying for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) throughout the pandemic, but the once-a-year assistance cannot help those who have not yet passed their 12-month re-application window.

Who is Angelica Suarez?

I think of myself as a multifaceted, multi-layered individual of Mexican and Spanish descent. I was born the 11th (8 men, 3 women) and last child, to my Mami and Papi. I spent the first five years of my life running the prairies in my picturesque town nestled in the mountains in the State of Michoacan. After having lived and worked in the US for over 15 years my father decided to petition our entire family, and in 1968 we all arrived in San Francisco.

Two days after arriving, I started kindergarten at Lazeer Elementary in East Oakland. I needed to learn to speak English, Stat! In three weeks, I was conversational, and six weeks later I was fluent. I went from Chabot College, to CSU East Bay where I earned my Bachelor’s degree and paralegal certification, then one year at UC Berkeley. I was a paralegal for over 25 years in the field of immigration, civil litigation, probate, and real estate. I am a licensed court interpreter.

Each Spring, as the grass grows and the flowers bloom, we get the sweet smell of fresh air and all the pollen the trees can release. You may not think of Spring allergies when it comes to fall prevention, but many of the risks we face everyday become exaggerated when our hay fever acts up.
When an allergy occurs, the cells release histamine. In an attempt to stop allergens from entering the body, histamine induces sneezing, and causes the nose and eyes to swell. These symptoms can be disorienting. 
Red watery eyes, sneezing, itchy runny nose, stuffy nose, puffy eyes, coughing or difficulty breathing can all be hazards when trying to move around.
Fall Prevention is all about being aware, and removing hazards. Allergies can compromise our senses, leading to increased risks, which means we need to be extra careful.
Here are some tips to avoid allergy flare ups:

• Limit time outdoors when the pollen levels are high
• Cover up completely when outdoors.
• Wear a mask when gardening.
• Change clothing after being outdoors.
• Wash your hands.
• Remove your shoes before entering the house.
• Use a room or whole-house HEPA filter.

Stay safe and fall free this Spring!