Appeal for Help Furnishing Home Found for Albany Bulb Residents

Albany resident Francesco Papalia is organizing an effort to help furnish a newly found home for three Albany Bulb residents and welcomes donations of needed items.

The lower flat in this Oakland duplex has been secured for three former residents of the Albany Bulb. Photo: Francesco Papalia
The lower flat in this Oakland duplex has been secured for three former residents of the Albany Bulb. Photo: Francesco Papalia

Editor's note: the message below is from Albany resident Francesco Papalia, describing items needed in an effort to furnish a new home that has been found for three residents of the Albany Bulb:

Dear Albany Friends and Neighbors,

The City of Albany has master leased a three-plus bedroom lower flat in a duplex in West Oakland with the help from the Berkeley Food and Housing Project.  This will be the new home for three single males without pets who were formerly living at the Albany Bulb. I am organizing an Albany Neighbors Helping Neighbors effort to fully furnish their new home.   Jo Ferlatte from the Berkeley Food and Housing Project is connecting me with these soon-to-be-newly-housed clients from the Albany Bulb.  I visited the property today Tuesday afternoon to make a site assessment for furniture sizing and general appropriate home furnishings.    

Like me, you may have extra clean, lightly used furniture and house wares that you would like to see utilized by those in need.  Perhaps you received some new household item this holiday season and will have something you would have gladly given to your friends or family members in need that you will be willing to donate.  I hope you will find this as satisfying, as I have, knowing that your donation will go to good use immediately. That someone who didn’t have a real home and bed and a warm place to sleep will have one now that you helped provide.

Many of you have already helped in the successful furnishing of a two-bedroom apartment in Richmond. Thanks to you all!

Current Needs Assessment: January 7, 2014:

There are washer/ dryer hookups: used washer and gas dryer.
We need someone with tools and knowledge to install them.

Bedrooms:Three  dressers and bed stands.  Clothes hangers.   No Beds Needed!
Queen sized bed linens, blanket and bed quilts.    One queen size bed frame.

Kitchen/dining table
.  Round preferred to fit in eat-in kitchen and 4 dining chairs. I asked for specific requests and one was made for a mortar and pestle for grinding chili.
There is no dining room as it is will be used as a bedroom. The fourth bedroom is really too small to use as a bedroom.

Costco Members: full or partial toilet paper case. If you are purchasing one of those double packs of useful items like cleansers or anything else, please consider donating one for this house.    Ideas: aluminum foil, paper towels, plastic wrap, dish soap, sponges, cooking oil, rice, laundry soap, bar soap.

Projected moving days January 10, 11 and 12.   Movers and interior decorators needed   to help load and deliver and /or set up.
Moving trucks or cars like a Honda CRV capable of transporting small furniture.    The Albany Community Foundation will be providing $100 Target gift cards for each client to help them cover personal items.  Any cash donations to the Albany Community Foundation earmarked for Project Hope will help pay for those things that are not donated.

Kitchen: all sizes Pots and Pans. Large SOUP POT, mixing bowls, tea kettle, can opener. Soup Bowls. Can opener, garlic press, tupper ware. All size storage containers. Kitchen towels.
NO plates, cups, or flatware needed now.
Kitchen appliances: blender, toaster, toaster oven, microwave.
Shelving: Tall or low. Large plastic stacking storage boxes or shelving. Plastic stacking storage containers
All kinds of cleaning supplies including a broom and dust pan. VACCUUM!

Bathroom: all sizes of towels. Bath mats.  Wall and shower shelves.  

Small side tables for bedrooms and living room. Living room chairs. Please send picture of chairs. No Sofas needed now. Coffee table.

Area Rugs, small and large. New carpet remnants.

Lighting: floor and table lamps, extension cords. ALL SIZES.

TV, DVD player, clock radios. TV stand.

Small ladder or footstool.  Some basic hand tools: hammer, screwdrivers, small drill, saw.

Let’s make this a shining example of how we care, not just through our government and social agency efforts, but as neighbors helping neighbors.

Please let me know if you will have time next Friday, Saturday and Sunday to assist in the pickup and delivery of donations. If you reply to my email at francescop@aol.com, please include a telephone contact number.


Francesco Papalia   home: 510-525-1165     809 Key Route Blvd., Albany

On a related front, last week I made a visit to Berkeley’s homeless multiservice center on Harrison Street next to the skate Park next to Codornices Creek at the Albany/Berkeley border.

Harrison House Emergency Shelter, Berkeley-Oakland Emergency Support Services (BOSS) 711 Harrison St. (at 4th.) in Berkeley.

Ursula Sherman Village (USV), Berkeley
Ursula Sherman Village is a service-rich residential ‘campus’ for homeless families and individuals—activities are designed to help homeless people live, work, learn, and heal so they can achieve health and self-sufficiency. The Village provides both short-term housing (Harrison House, 50 single adults, 9 families) and transitional housing (Sankofa House, 10 families). On-site services include a specialized after-school program for homeless children (
Children’s Learning Center), adult literacy education and computer lab, access to health and mental health care, drug/alcohol recovery support, employment and job search assistance, peer support and mentoring, meals, laundry, showers, storage, and case management

They have a long standing need for bed linens, blankets and towels. They have a particular need for twin size bedding. After we furnish this Oakland home, I would like to facilitate our filling their needs.

Rochelle Nason January 08, 2014 at 09:52 AM
Wonderful, Francesco, this is what should have been happening over this past summer, it is just great that at least a few folks are moving. And terrific that they are getting help from the community, thanks to you and the Albany Community Foundation. We all owe you many thanks for getting into the trenches to secure community help, I hope Albany people are generous with you. I didn't see a link for making online donations, so here it is for those who are interested: http://albanycommunityfoundation.org/ Will make a contribution myself right now. Thanks again Francesco!
downerave January 08, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Happy to help.
Erika Lockhart January 08, 2014 at 10:41 AM
I've got various top sheets for queen size - bottom ones always wear out most quickly. Anyone know of a white sale with good priced bottom sheets? Pillows/pillow cases? I could probably pick up a few to help make complete bedding sets or match with yours if you have spares. Probably have some kitchen items as well, and maybe some towels.
downerave January 08, 2014 at 10:59 AM
Marshall's or Ross. They always have good deals on bedding and other linens.
Erika Lockhart January 08, 2014 at 11:03 AM
katherine cody January 08, 2014 at 11:14 AM
This is simply awesome and kind thankyou.
Rochelle Nason January 08, 2014 at 11:22 AM
I would also look at Tuesday Morning on Shattuck (Dwight is the cross street), it is a 'closeout' place and their prices are amazing on white goods and kitchen stuff.
Erika Lockhart January 08, 2014 at 11:31 AM
Also have one clock, not a radio though, but it's an "atomic clock" that displays the time on the ceiling.
Ricardo II January 08, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Let me know if the folks from Orinda are pitching in also.
Margaret Tong January 08, 2014 at 12:02 PM
Will the new tenants get support in housekeeping and cooking skills? It's a whole different life from living on the Bulb to vacuuming, cleaning toilets and being spic an span. I'll see what I have to offer, but we had a Salvation Army pickup a few months ago and probably don't have much that would be useful. I do remember as a newly wed, we had a table, but used packing crates for chairs for a while. You just manage with what you have! And a warm and safe place to stay is a good start
Ellen Hershey January 08, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Francesco, as neighbors donate items, could you check them off on a checklist posted on Patch so that others will put their efforts into donating the other items that are needed most?
Erika Lockhart January 08, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Margaret, I share your concerns. The difficulties of even living with new roommates may be problematic as well. Wondering about how the neighbors will receive their new neighbors. I'm hoping that these unknown campers will be people who aspire to living in a better situation and will do the best they can. Just having flushing toilets and running water is a big improvement for our public safety on the Bulb and for the health of the recipients of this largesse.
Francesco Papalia January 08, 2014 at 12:49 PM
I forgot to mention the fine work the Solano Community Church has done and continues to do on a weekly basis. FYI, Marsha S. has made a trip to Ross for both houses for new sets of kitchen ware. Just got two 10x6 two jute rugs from LB but we still need more because the floors are wood and unheated since they are on the bottom floor. One of the guys loves to cook (note request above for mortar and pestle) and has some cooking pans but he needs a large SOUP pot. It is a great joy for me to see the enthusiasm and appreciation on the faces of the people when they come to my door with their donation. My goal is to help these guys feel the sense of home and stability I have so they can build up their mental and physical health and get work. That people like us care. What I learned from watching the Solano Community Church over the last year is how they used their love in all their actions in helping without any expectation of recognition or personal benefit. Through their weekly meetings at the Cove I got to meet and know many of the Bulbers as individuals. Thank you Andrew and Steve.
Ellen Hershey January 08, 2014 at 01:06 PM
Better yet, Francesco, you or a volunteer can check out the Lotsa Helping Hands website, where you can open up a site for Albany Neighbors Helping Neighbors. This offers a convenient communication tool where you can post requests for items and help that's needed and people who want to help can volunteer for specific items or help they will provide. This way, volunteers can get up-to-the-minute info about which needs have been filled and which ones haven't. My neighborhood used it to coordinate efforts to help out a neighbor, and I'm pretty sure it would work well for ANHN.
Andrew Franklin January 08, 2014 at 03:10 PM
Francesco, thank you for letting the community know how to get involved in tangible ways!
JJMarieKK January 08, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Feels almost like a barn-raising. I sent you an email with items we have available. Thank you community.
Karen Nierlich January 08, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Thanks, Francesco. I think the Lotsa Helping Hands website is a good idea. Then people can get what is needed and avoid duplication. Or you can simply save all the "extras" or duplicates for the next group that gets an apartment.
Erika Lockhart January 08, 2014 at 08:48 PM
That's a great idea, Karen - am a little confused about the bedding - is it a different group that needs the twin bedding? I've got queen and twin all in a big box!
Rochelle Nason January 08, 2014 at 09:44 PM
Francesco, does Albany Neighbors Helping Neighbors have a sponsorship relationship with the Albany Community Foundation or the Berkeley Food and Housing Project? Such a relationship would allow people who donate things to ANHN to deduct their donation (if they itemize), the same way they can when they give those items to a group like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Its always a good thing to have the IRS do its share for a worthy cause! If you need assistance setting this up please let me know, I would be happy to help.
Alan Eckert January 09, 2014 at 02:47 PM
We were going to donate some flatware, but we found out today that someone had already purchased some for the house. If you are doing some spring cleaning in the next few months, think about any other items that you might be useful and set them aside. Francesco doesn't need everything piling up at his home for an indefinite amount of time, so it appears an alternative is necessary for future efforts.
Francesco Papalia January 09, 2014 at 03:39 PM
Update January 9th: We got B a double bed with bedding set up. He spent his first night in his own place in a long time. He thanked me (read you donors) profusely as we set up the bed, the kitchen and the bathroom together last night. See pictures I will try to post. It’s been a fantastic 24 hours of donation and transportation offers. No longer a need for towels. I think we will have most basic kitchen appliances except a simple toaster. Things still needed: any size bowls larger than small soup bowls including mixing bowls, all sizes lamps, TV and TV antenna for non-cable reception, alarm clock, clock radio, TV stand, small ladder or footstool, two bath mats, dining chairs. Specific request for cleaning supplies like mop, broom and dust pan. Outside table and chairs and BBQ. Can opener. I think I have two dressers but could use one more and at least two bedside tables. See picture above of unstable plastic stacking drawers used as bedside nightstand. Friday and Saturday will be moving day and I hope to have the place mostly set up by Saturday afternoon. Their refrigerator is bare. I am sure that a cooked meal/dish/casserole for four would be greatly appreciated. Or baked goods. If you drop it off at my house I can deliver it on either Friday or Saturday. There are no decent grocery stores within a mile of the duplex in West Oakland and they don’t have a car. This effort has social networked from Patch to San Francisco via Berkeley. St. Albans Church is getting involved too on their network. Andrew from the Solano Community Church is taking the guys to Target to use the $100 gift cards from the Albany Community Foundation. I do not know if or when there will be another house to furnish. If we cannot use your donation on this place I will save your offer for any future effort. I apologize if any of your offers got lost or I’ve failed to respond. If it seems like I did not get your offer, please try again. Stay tuned and spread the word on your social network. Grazie Mille, Francesco
Andrew Franklin January 09, 2014 at 06:22 PM
A quick update: I spent the afternoon with the guys in the house and the used the Target gift cards mostly on food and basics like socks and laundry detergent. They were so thankful for everything. The place looks great and while a little bare now, you all have been a tremendous help in filling it! The gentlemen moving from the bulb have access to a truck tomorrow and will use that to take mattresses and other furniture to their house. I am thanking God for you all! Thank you for your organization, Francesco. -Andrew Franklin Solano Community Church afranklin@solanochurch.org
Erika Lockhart January 09, 2014 at 10:16 PM
I've got a truck, a bunch of stuff, and about 4-5 hours to donate tomorrow. Alarm clock, bedding, some bath soap and misc. other items. Can probably manage about two trips and maybe pick up donations from others. Morning is best.
Kirsten Schwartz January 09, 2014 at 11:34 PM
Francesco, what a great job. Thank you. I'll try to bring something by Friday or Saturday--small and portable (we don't have much right now ourselves). I'll check the list. This posting and the comments bring tears to my eyes. Way to go.
Senior A. Titude January 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM
I've read people on here say that Albany folks are uncaring and even hostile to the homeless. Well, this should make it pretty clear that people in Albany, some of whom don't have all that much themselves, really do care. All it takes is someone making an effort to pull it together and the community will be right there to help as best it can. Whining, pointing fingers, filing lawsuits, will not get it done. (And before one of those whiners points at me - yes - I donated as well. Some rugs.)
Jo-Anna Pippen January 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Thank you for doing this. I've found several additional things to donate in addition to the dresser. Anything that not needed can be donated to someone else.
Francesco Papalia January 10, 2014 at 03:24 PM
Today is the first major moving day for this effort. I keep meeting new smiling neighbors inspired and delighted to be contributing to our effort by either transporting PU truck or SUV loads of furnishings and donations or donating or passing it alond to their social network. Tonight I am recieving a donation delivered to my door that originated from this posting on Albany Patch that was read by a Berkeley resident who shared it with her friend in San Francisco, who posted it on her work email news letter yesterday afternoon and was read by a woman back in Berkeley who contacted me last night. This how the Social Networks can work wonders.
Peggy McQuaid January 10, 2014 at 07:54 PM
The Albany Community Foundation is pleased to be working with Francesco on this project. Items which are donated are tax deductable to the extent permitted by law and Francesco has the forms for the donors. Thank you to everyone who is helping in this effort, especially Francesco.
Tree January 10, 2014 at 09:20 PM
I just sent out Francesco's request for items to my block on 900 Ramona Avenue. I'm so glad that there is finally some positive news in this sad situation.
Kirsten Schwartz January 11, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Just walked by a house with some things out in front, including a small pink dresser--the hopeful might be able to use it. Next door to 820 Ramona.


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