Highlights from Freenome's first annual day of giving back

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WORKING AT FREENOME

It’s often said that San Francisco is a tale of two cities, one of soaring real estate prices, chic restaurants, and pampered tech employees; and another that struggles just to get by from day to day. San Francisco’s homeless population is one of the starkest examples of that inequality, and a population that we at Freenome are determined to do more to support and engage with. That was the intention behind our first annual day of giving, or Free-Fest 2019, for short.

Masterminded by our Service Committee, led by Jenn Harrison, Free-Fest was envisioned as a way to get our homeless families off to a stronger start in 2019 with a night of food, fun, conversation, and friendship at St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center, in Laguna Heights, adjacent to the Tenderloin.

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In addition to an abundant dinner buffet kindly donated by local restaurants, Freenome employees coordinated with other generous community sponsors to create care packages that will serve our guests for months to come (including toiletries, socks, warm blankets), as well as job skills training, crafts activities for families and children, and haircuts and personal grooming from Haircuts With Heart.

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Despite receiving some press requests, we opted to keep a no photo policy to ensure the comfort of all our guests, please enjoy these photos of our team as they set up for the event!

Over 50  Freenome employees and their family members gathered early in the morning to decorate St.Mary’s in Freenome green and set up the buffet and activity stations. After everything was ready, we took to the streets for one last sweep of the area to raise awareness and invite guests to the event. We like to think the plan worked as over 250 guests showed up!

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Upon entering, guests had the option to drop their kids off at the Arts & Crafts Station, head to the Career Services Classes to learn how to build a resume, apply for jobs, or brush up on their Microsoft skills, or get a whole new look at the Haircut Station, which proved to be our most popular station—other than the dinner buffet of course!

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The event was everything we hoped it would be, not only a chance to serve, but a chance to get to know some of the neighbors we interact with far too little in the rush of our own busy everyday lives. Slowing down and truly being part of the community we work in is an important value at Freenome. Because when you enjoy so much good fortune, it’s not enough to be grateful; you have to give back.

We were overwhelmed at the response we received from the local business community! Thank you!

With grateful appreciation to our sponsors:

  • Matt Posard

  • Simply the Basics (500 toiletry bags and marketplace station)

  • Verily (700 toothbrushes)

  • Bombas Socks (3000 pairs of socks)

  • Blanket the Homeless (500 blankets)

  • Haircuts with Heart (More than 30 haircuts)

  • Subway (20 combo platters)

  • Goat Hill Pizza (30 XL pizzas)

  • Just for You Jambalaya (3 pans)

  • James Standfield Catering (200 cookies)

  • Marcella’s Lasagneria (6 jumbo sandwiches)

  • Audrey Harrison (Chili for 300)

  • Community Tech Network (30 laptops and career services training)

Special thanks to the Freenome Service Committee: Jenn Harrison, Harshita Yerramreddy, Matt Mahowald, Carolina Sheridan, Aarushi Sharma, and to all the Freenome volunteers who set-up, staffed, and broke down the event.