Shanti's Margot Murphy Women's Cancer Program Launches New Partnerships to Promote Wellness

Last year, the Margot Murphy Women's Cancer Program had a packed calendar of wellness activities.

Gatherings included writing letters to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, learning make-up tricks with Sephora's "Classes for Confidence," and music therapy (shown left).

We are looking forward to even more fun this year!

(Above): Clients fill the community space of Sephora during the "Classes for Confidence" series offered in September.

Compassion in Action: Connecting the Dots to Care

When behavioral and mobility issues impede a person’s access to care, St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco and the Shanti Project pave the path to the delivery of services.

Photo above: Shanti HIV Services staff and clients.

Located in the Castro neighborhood, St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco, like Shanti, was a first responder in the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic. Today, both organizations are well aware that the crisis is not over for the most underserved individuals living with HIV. Recognizing this, the Shanti Project and St. Francis Lutheran Church started working together in 2014 to identify clients living with HIV who were missing grocery deliveries and medical appointments due to behavioral or mobility concerns.

Individuals served through this funding partnership often find seemingly simple tasks—such as being in crowded spaces at the local food bank or traveling to the doctor—extremely challenging. Thanks to the added staff time supported by this grant, Shanti Client Advocates are able to provide emotional support and intensive case management. Day-to-day, this means at-home enrollment, securing groceries from local food banks, and tracking medical appointments. Through these methods, staff work to make sure no client faces the challenges associated with multiple diagnoses alone.

One client, Kent*, has been accessing Shanti services for almost a decade. Kent faces many obstacles, including being a long-term HIV survivor and dealing with mental health challenges. Because of his mental health diagnosis, Kent struggles when in groups and crowded spaces, making it difficult for him to access services that are crucial to his well-being, such as the weekly grocery pickup at the local food bank.

Thanks to the trusting relationship our Client Advocate has built with Kent, the Client Advocate meets with Kent and confirms he has received groceries every week, either at the Shanti office or at home when needed. When Kent is in the Shanti office, he also accesses the Shanti Drop-in Service Center, where he can get a warm cup of coffee and talk with fellow long-term HIV survivors in a safe space.

For the past four years, St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco has provided Shanti with the resources to fund more than 135 hours of staff time dedicated to clients like Kent. This partnership continues to ensure services once deemed out of reach are now easily accessible for all our clients.

*Name has been changed.

Donor Spotlight: Steve Chisholm

Donor Spotlight: Steve Chisholm
How an office cat without an owner turned into a monthly donor with a home.

Above: Steve Chisholm and Alexander, in their tuxedo best.

Steve Chisholm has an infectious laugh and a welcoming voice all his own. His monthly support of PAWS, he admits, is not from him. Every single donation for the past eight years he says comes straight from Alexanderone of his black and white tuxedo cats.

In fact, Alexander is one of Steve’s three tuxedo cats, and he joined feline friends Frank and Bob eight years ago. What makes Alexander’s addition to the household so special? Call it the perfect mix of kitty litter and kismet.

While familiar with food banks for humans, until 2010 Steve had never heard of PAWS, a program dedicated to care for the pets with services like free pet food, free or subsidized veterinary care and more, so that the owners facing challenging circumstances can care for themselves. “It was such an obvious idea—it was right under my nose. But when I heard about PAWS and realized how important that care is, well, it hit me like a ton of bricks,” says Steve.

“I think about the joy, love, comfort and peace of mind that a pet provides. Wouldn’t it be nice to give that to someone else? Giving clients the ability to just enjoy the pet—what a gift.”

Steve’s aha moment came during a work-sponsored volunteer event at PAWS eight years ago. Having worked in administration for 30 years, Steve’s volunteer role as “head of kitty litter packaging” for the day was certainly a change of pace. “It felt like playing in a sandbox—we kept reminding ourselves, at least it is clean!” Steve recalls.

As the day was ending and Steve was preparing to go home to Frank and Bob, the PAWS volunteer coordinator introduced the volunteers to Alexander. At the time, Alexander was the PAWS office cat, having come to reside there following his owner’s death because no long-term care arrangements had been made. Since his owner had been a former PAWS client, Alexander was quite comfortable at PAWS and even had a Facebook fan page.

“As soon as I saw Alexander, it struck me—his black and white markings were just like Frank and Bob. By the time we sat down together and he started purring in my lap, well, it was all over,” admits Steve. That very day he went home, discussed the matter with Frank and Bob, and two days later called the PAWS office. Alexander found his new forever home—and PAWS got a new monthly donor!

When Steve reflects on why he (and Alexander) support PAWS every month, he thinks about that first meeting. “I think about the joy, love, comfort and peace of mind that a pet provides. Wouldn’t it be nice to give that to someone else? Giving clients the ability to just enjoy the pet—what a gift.”

PAWS Stocking Delivery: 2017

120 Volunteers Bring Magic to More Than 500 Companion Animals this Holiday Season

Now in the 15th year, the annual PAWS Stocking Delivery celebrated its largest year yet! Volunteers brought holiday cheer in the form of treats & toys to nearly 400 clients and more than 500 beloved animal companions. From hand-decorating bags to handing out energy-efficient light bulbs, we are so grateful to everyone who joined in the fun!

Shanti's Fall 2017 Newsletter is Here!

The Fall 2017 Newsletter features the following articles:
  • The LGBT Aging & Abilities Support Network: Shanti's Newest Program
  • Dorothy Graham & The Graham Family Foundation
  • On the Road to Happiness: Hulda's Story
  • Volunteer Spotlight
  • Event Photos
  • Thank You to our 2016/2017 Donors
  • And More! 
Read the full newsletter here.

Dog Walking Volunteers needed!

PAWS Dog Walkers offer many of our clients much needed assistance by providing weekly walks and exercise for their canine companions. A good portion of our clients are homebound and dealing with challenges around mobility or their respective ailments and treatment regimens. Having one or more regular volunteer walkers is a tremendous and in-demand form of support for many of our clients.

This is an incredibly fun way to get some extra daily steps in and interact with one of our clients and a new canine friend that goes a long way in helping maintain the human-animal bond between PAWS dogs and their guardians. Volunteer dog walkers contribute to the well-being of both our clients and their pups by ensuring dogs get regular exercise when their owners are not able to walk them. Can you spare 45 minutes a week to help ensure our clients’ pups get taken out on their needed neighborhood strolls?

The Pet Food Bank provides PAWS clients with a supplemental allotment of pet food, litter and a variety of pet supplies (e.g., toys, treats, collars, leashes, carriers/crates, etc.) every month. This basic but essential service can often mean the difference between our clients meeting their own nutritional needs and sacrificing their needs to feed their animal companions, or being able to keep their pets in their lives at all.

Many of our clients are unable to come to the Pet Food Bank, located at the PAWS office, due to their disability. We rely on the generosity and commitment of volunteers to deliver food and supplies to all of our homebound clients. Can you spare 3 hours on a Saturday morning to help keep these critter companions fed?

For more information or to apply: please contact PAWS Volunteer Services Coordinator, Walter Campbell, at

Dog Walker

General Requirements:
  • Minimum of 3 to 6 month commitment
  • Available for regular, weekly visits to same client, rain or shine
  • Minimum age of 18 (or accompanied by a parent/guardian who is a trained PAWS volunteer)
  • Relevant experience with dogs
  • Physically able to walk assigned dog
  • Must be a trained PAWS volunteer

  • Participate on a dog walking team with other volunteers assigned to the same client
  • Visit clients at home and walk their dogs - about 45 minutes to an hour each week depending upon location and abilities of dog
  • Provide feedback to PAWS staff regarding client and/or pet(s)

Food Bank Delivery Volunteers Needed!


Food Bank Driver

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Must have your own vehicle, current driver’s license, and proof of insurance
  • Vehicle must have sufficient space for one passenger and anywhere between 6-20 grocery bags of pet food and supplies
  • Able to lift up to 15 lbs. to assist with loading vehicle
  • Comfortable driving to any/all neighborhoods in SF
  • Shifts on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • If not PAWS trained, must receive orientation from Walter and fill out one-time special event application

  • Working with a volunteer Rider, deliver bags of pet food to 8-10 clients
  • Rider reads map and navigates driver to clients’ homes
  • If a volunteer would like to be paired with a friend, spouse, partner, family member, etc., they can notify PAWS Staff

Food Bank Rider:
General Requirements:
  • Must be at least 18 years old, or if between 13 and 17 years old, must be accompanied by parent or guardian during client interactions
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 40 lbs.
  • Must be able to walk up and down stairs and/or use elevators
  • Comfortable going into clients’ homes in various neighborhoods and types of housing/buildings/residences
  • Comfortable engaging with clients and, possibly, their pets
  • Shifts on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Must be a PAWS trained volunteer, including parent/guardian of volunteers under 18


  • Working with a volunteer Driver to deliver bags of pet food and supplies to 8-10 clients throughout SF
  • Rider is responsible for navigation (with map & directions provided) and carrying food and supplies into clients’ homes
  • If a volunteer would like to be paired with a friend, spouse, partner, family member, etc., they can notify PAWS Staff.