By Arti Kheskani

The last year and a half has been a lot, to say the least. In the midst of the pandemic, many people have found themselves losing faith in our collective sense of community, we have been isolated and many people have fallen through the cracks. Helping Hands started out as a few people just hoping to help as much as they could, 6 or 7 tops, or so they thought. Volunteers posted a message to the community, come help unhoused and low income people and the response was overwhelming. Community is not over, neighbors helping neighbors has not been wiped out by Covid - 19.

Helping Hands is committed to keeping this spirit alive, we are committed to mutual aid. “Mutual aid is when everyday people get together to meet each other's needs, with the shared understanding that the systems we live in are not meeting our needs and that we can meet them together, right now, without having to pressure power structures to do the right thing.” (Izlar,

We are tired of begging the government to do things, we put out a call to the community and the community felt the same way. We are normal people who understand the needs of normal people. We just want to make sure that everyone is taken care of the best way we know how, by simply asking people what they need. We understand that the system is broken and our goal is to help people who have been hit harder by life than others, get back on their feet and lead happy and healthy lives. Everyone deserves, and is capable of living a great life full of a wealth of happiness and we are here to give those who need a little helping hand just that.

We don’t have one size fits all programs, because that’s not the nature of the challenges life throws at us. Instead we get to know our community and we try to fill the gaps so no one falls through them. We do everything from distributing hygiene kits and food to helping people get veterinary care for their furry family members. We want to help people in our community get back on their feet, whether that be through accessing stimulus checks and unemployment, receiving medical care, or even providing business professional clothes to wear to interviews.

Along with taking care of people’s immediate needs, our ultimate goal is to find a government solution to make sure that no one in our community suffers from homelessness. Our members attend city, county and state government meetings to apply for grants to meet specific needs, such as solar lamps, as well as to talk to government officials about funding permanent housing for our whole community.

We are here for the community and we invite you to be as well. No task is too big or too small. Our community is only strong when we come together to help our neighbors. We invite you to help us widen our efforts and get involved in your community and together we will make the Bay Area a great place for everyone who lives here.