Charity Spotlight: Alpha Home

For 50 years, Alpha Home has been committed to treating the whole person—not just the addiction— by caring, qualified professionals. By incorporating their core values of spirituality, integrity, discipline, dedication and productivity into their treatment approach, they focus on the whole person and give those they serve the best tools for responsible, long-term sobriety.

Alpha Home has the only San Antonio gender-specific Residential Rehab Program dedicated exclusively to treating women.

The Residential treatment program provides women intensive and expansive therapeutic drug rehab and alcoholism addiction treatment program in a home-like residential setting that prepares them to remain clean and sober while embracing the benefit of a lifelong 12-Step commitment. Centrally located, Alpha Home is the perfect place to find serenity and begin working toward a new life.

Alpha Home offers dual diagnosis support for women who suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues. By providing gender-specific treatment in a nurturing environment, their program encourages women to focus on female specific issues. Over the course of the program, women are immersed in the 12 step program and are helped with important life skills, a combination that allows them to find sobriety and the courage to maintain it after they leave treatment.

Alpha Home offers two homes for women to live in during treatment. The Mulberry home has 31 beds, located in the middle of the Monte Vista Historic District, and the Camden home with 16 beds located near downtown. The bedrooms are cozy yet roomy, with twin-sized beds and a shared bath. The homes also include a large kitchen, dining room, media center, living room with cable television and on-site direct care staff.

Alpha Home’s Outpatient Treatment Program is a program for both women and men who are seeking treatment but have the skills and support to recover without residential care. The 16 week program offers gender-specific programs for both females and males 18 years and older, evidence based curriculums, and trauma-informed care.


Wish List

New or gently used women’s coats and sweaters

Women’s undergarments (new only):

  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pajamas


Toiletries (new only):

  • Toothbrushes
  • 15 oz. bottles of shampoo and conditioner
  • Wash cloths
  • Full size tubes of toothpaste
  • Regular size bars of soap
  • Makeup
  • Hotel/travel size toiletries


Tools and equipment (new only):

  • Hedge trimmer
  • Power washer
  • Nail gun
  • Air compressor
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw


Other needs (new only):

  • Bath towels
  • Twin sheet sets
  • Standard size pillows
  • Stationery
  • Plain envelopes
  • Blank note cards
  • Journals
  • New or used Alcoholics Anonymous books
  • New or used Narcotics Anonymous books
  • Vacuums (4)
  • Towels
  • Patio Furniture
  • Bath rugs
  • Indoor plants
  • Area rugs for living rooms
  • Small refrigerator
  • Hard plastic/ceramic (plates, bowls, cups)


Alpha Home cannot accept:

  • Party dresses
  • Flip flops
  • Short shorts
  • Baby items of any kind
  • Used electronics
Charity Spotlight: Alpha Home2016-12-28T16:32:29-06:00

Charity Spotlight: The San Antonio Food Bank

The San Antonio Food Bank provides food and grocery products to more than 530 partner agencies in 16 counties throughout Southwest Texas. The mission of the SAFB is to fight hunger in Southwest Texas through food distribution, programs, education, and advocacy.

Food insecurity, or not knowing where your next meal is coming from, is a rampant problem in our wealthy state. Some statistics:

  • One in five adults in Southwest Texas struggles with hunger.
  • One in four children is at risk of food insecurity.
  • Texas ranks 8th nationally in rate of food insecurity.
  • Each week, the San Antonio Food Bank assists 58,000 individuals in sixteen counties through their various programs.
  • 98% of all donated resources go directly to hunger relief.

Some of the San Antonio Food Bank’s programs include:

  • Kid’s Cafe: Neighborhood children can go to one of 28 Kids Cafe sites in the San Antonio area after school for a hot meal and homework help. 1,000 children visit these sites each day.
  • Project HOPE: Provides a 50-lb. bag of shelf-stable, supplemental food items to fixed-income seniors. 7,500 seniors every month are served by Project HOPE.
  • Nutrition Education: The San Antonio Food Bank deploys nearly a dozen bilingual nutrition educators into the San Antonio community every day to teach people how to shop for and prepare healthier meals.
  • Distribution: Mobile Food Pantries and Food Fairs allow the San Antonio Food Bank to distribute 1 million pounds of food weekly to difficult-to-reach individuals in the 16-county area (17,559 square miles) the food bank serves.

In 2015, the San Antonio Food Bank provided nearly 62 million pounds of food. We’re trying to make a very small scratch on the surface of that with our food drive.

So dig into your pockets, go through those cupboards. Find some of these “twelve most wanted” non-perishables and bring them by either Geekdom (main lobby) or Knight Watch Games, or just click here to go to our virtual food drive and make a cash donation. Every $1.00 donated provides seven meals to a hungry Texan.

12 Most Wanted Items:

Peanut Butter
Mac & Cheese
Canned Stews
Canned Soups
Canned Luncheon Meats
Full Means Can/Box
Pop Top Food Items

Charity Spotlight: The San Antonio Food Bank2016-11-26T19:26:27-06:00

Charity Spotlight: Elf Louise Christmas Project

The Elf Louise Christmas Project began in 1969 when founder Louise Locker, a student at Trinity University, and her friends, collected toys for the children of 13 needy San Antonio families.

Almost 50 years later, the project is still going strong. Now a community-based, 100% volunteer organization, Elf Louise provides over 60,000 gifts to families each year. Thousands of volunteers gather to select and wrap gifts, dress as Santa and his elves, and deliver Christmas gifts to children who might otherwise go without.

Elf Louise is completely staffed by volunteers and completely funded by donations. 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to the purchase and delivery of toys. There is no paid staff. Volunteers staff every position, from data entry to gift wrapping, washing Santa suits, stocking toys in the warehouse, and finally breaking down the workshop and storing toys and supplies for the next season. While the bulk of the work takes place in November and December, core volunteers work almost year-round to make every Christmas special.

On a personal note, Elf Louise was one of my first volunteer experiences as a child. My Girl Scout troop went every year and I loved the fact that the present I was wrapping would go right into the hands of another kid. Choosing the presents was always my favorite part. Elf Louise is “based on hope and faith and a belief in the goodness of people.” This echoes Nerd Night’s mission and philosophy. Coming together as a group to make life a little brighter for San Antonio’s less fortunate reaffirms the holiday spirit in a way that crosses religious and cultural barriers. I hope you’ll join us at a November Nerd Night so we can support this unique San Antonio organization!

Charity Spotlight: Elf Louise Christmas Project2016-11-25T10:59:31-06:00

Charity Spotlight: The Texas Diaper Bank

The Texas Diaper Bank was established in 1997 by several San Antonio Methodist churches. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to meet basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities, and senior citizens. The Diaper Bank’s mission is to provide programs and services, respond to families in crisis and improve the daily conditions of their lives. They provide basic needs services combined with educational opportunities that strengthen family self-reliance.

In 2015, the Texas Diaper Bank partnered with 13 nonprofit agencies and served over 33,000 individuals in 9 counties (Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Gillespie, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Medina and Uvalde). The organization distributed 969,000 baby items, diapers and incontinence supplies with a staff of six full-time employees, 12 board members and 2,800 volunteers, who donated almost 9,000 hours of time!

Specifically, Texas Diaper Bank provided:

  • Diapers to 9,030 babies
  • Distributed 756,911 Diapers
  • Distributed 8,696 Baby Items
  • 23,724 Individuals Received Food Assistance
  • Distributed 622,824 lbs. of Food
  • Distributed 6,960 Incontinence Products

Texas Diaper Bank programs include:

  • Healthy Babies – Promotes the well-being, healthy growth, and development of babies by providing their family with diapers, and health education classes; gives these families access to our “Market Days” where they can receive other essential baby items once a month.
  • Hunger Relief Program –Assures that families are able to meet their nutritional needs through food assistance and four sponsored mobile food pantries.
  • Incontinence Gap Program –Provides special needs youth and adults with incontinence products during the interim application period for a Medicaid program.

All programs are provided directly to families or through partnerships with other nonprofit agencies.

Texas Diaper Bank also assists families with federal benefits enrollment (SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, CHIP, WIC & HOPE), enrolls families in “My Healthy Child” classes, and refers families to other agencies for additional services.

October has been declared “Diaper Need Awareness Month” in the State of Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio and Leon Valley. In Bexar County alone, nearly 40,000 babies lack the necessary diapers to stay clean, dry and healthy. The Texas Diaper Bank needs your help to raise A Million Diapers for Babies by October 31. Join the “Million Diapers for Babies” campaign during the month of and help make a difference in the lives of babies born into poverty and help make sure that they grow-up healthy! Join us at our next Nerd Night and bring a box of diapers or two to help the Diaper Bank meet its goal.


Most Needed Items:

Diapers, Size 4
Diapers, Size 5
Diapers, Size 6
Adult Diapers, Size L
Adult Diapers, Size XL
Baby Wipes

Charity Spotlight: The Texas Diaper Bank2016-11-25T10:59:32-06:00

Charity Spotlight: The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas

The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas was founded by Dr. Martha Atkins in 1997 with the mission to foster healing for grieving youth, their families and the community through peer support programs, counseling, training, education and outreach. Over the past 19 years the Center has grown from offering one peer support group serving 19 families, into a program that offers individual counseling and eleven different peer support groups that serve more than 1,500 individuals each year, 60% of whom are children between the ages of 3 and 24.

Peer-support groups are the foundation of the Children’s Bereavement Center (the Center) programs and are offered at no cost to families. These groups are designed to help families from every social and economic circumstance develop the relationships and tools needed to cope with a significant death loss. Research has shown peer support to be most effective in helping individuals heal after the death of a loved one. In addition to these groups, the Center also provides: individual and family counseling; the Grief Education Institute (GEI), which provides training for local professionals several times each year by nationally-recognized speakers; grief camps for children who are unable to attend bi-weekly peer support groups due to complications such as lack of transportation or parents who work evenings; and school-based sites which give teens easier access to grief support services. The ultimate goal of the Center’s program is to stabilize the family and prevent dysfunctional behaviors and unhealthy outcomes for grieving children.

The death of a parent or significant loved one during childhood can have profound and lasting effects. Grieving the loss of a loved one is a complex and difficult process, especially for a child. Grieving children are likely to feel abnormal in relation to their peers, and very alone. While experiencing deep emotional pain, anxiety, and fear, children may feel additional pressure from adult caregivers to meet expectations for emotional health and academic growth.

Unresolved grief in children can be exhibited as physical illness, depression, aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, decreased academic performance, and other dysfunctional behaviors. Indeed, research has shown that 86% of alcoholics who begin to drink in adolescence (as most alcoholics report) started this behavior following a loss.

A study by the New York Life Foundation, The Grief Journey of a Child, reported the following results when children were asked to respond to this statement:  “As a result of my loved one’s death, I have…”

  • Acted in ways that I know are not good for me (41%)
  • Said hurtful things to others (34%)
  • Hurt myself physically in some way (20%)
  • Broke things or damaged property (15%)

The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas is the sole provider of on-going, youth-focused grief support for families in San Antonio and the South Texas area. Most services are provided free of charge. Programs at the Center are designed to help children and families process the psychological and emotional challenges of death and loss in an environment designed to be safe and nurturing for both children and their caregivers.

Our September 2016 Nerd Night events will be gathering teddy bears, art supplies, gift cards, snacks and other materials used by the Center in their important work helping South Texas children and their families. Visit CBCST’s website to learn more about their wonderful programs and staff!

Charity Spotlight: The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas2016-11-25T10:59:32-06:00

Charity Spotlight: The Rape Crisis Center

The Rape Crisis Center is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to support all survivors of sexual assault and ensure victims have a responsive medical community, sensitive law enforcement officials, and an active prosecution system. For 40 years, the Rape Crisis Center has been a resource for our community. We are supporting their work at both of our August events.

Why is this work so important? Some statistics:

• 6.3 million Texans have experienced some form of sexual assault in their lifetime
• 2 in 5 women in Texas have been sexually assaulted
• 1 in 5 men in Texas has been sexually assaulted
• 91% of sexual assault victims did not report to law enforcement
• 90% of all child victims are assaulted by someone they know
• Studies confirm the undetected rapist is a serial hunter and serial offender
• Over 94% of rapists roam free with only 3% ever spending a day in jail

(Statistics from Texas Association Against Sexual Assault)

Per TxDPS 2014 Crime Data, someone was raped every 46 minutes in Texas that year. As that doesn’t account for unreported rape, the number of sexual assaults that likely occur in Texas each year is staggering.

The Rape Crisis Center is the only sexual assault program in Bexar County. It offers client-centered services that seek to empower and promote the safety of survivors, without judgment.

They offer several kinds of services to clients:

Counseling: Free and confidential counseling is offered to survivors, family members, and their loved ones affected by sexual violence. Qualified, bilingual counselors provide therapy for individuals, couples, families, and children.

Crisis Intervention: 24-hour crisis intervention services via telephone and online hotlines give immediate, anonymous support to anyone needing a safe place to talk or to get advice and referrals.

Education: Promoting healthy relationships is the focus of this public health program. Presented all around San Antonio, from middle schools to professional organizations, the program seeks to open up conversations about relevant topics such as anti-bullying, bystander responsibility and violence in the media.

Client Advocacy: This program is focused on helping survivors and their families with everyday needs, from shelter and housing to employment and legal assistance.

How can we help?

The Rape Crisis Center is in need of many items to do their important work. These items help in their daily work and also with their youth and therapy groups. We will be collecting the following at both August Nerd Nights.

• Black binder clips (medium & large)
• Black lanyards
• Bottled water
• Clip boards
• Colored copy paper
• Construction paper
• Disinfecting wipes (e.g. Clorox, Lysol wipes)
DYMO Letratag refills
Flip chart markers
• Hand sanitizer
• Highlighters (all colors)
• Kleenex
• Large plastic storage bins
• Mechanical pencils
• Pens
• Pocket folders
• Post-Its
• Spiral notebooks
• USB flash drives
• Washable markers
• White cardstock
• Canvases (any size)
• Clay Markers (e.g. Sharpies)
• Water color paint
• Gift cards – H-E-B, Walmart, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Visa
• Candy (snack-size to give out at outreach events)

Charity Spotlight: The Rape Crisis Center2016-11-25T10:59:32-06:00

Charity Spotlight: SAMMinistries Back to School

About SAMMinistries

SAMMinistries is an interfaith ministry whose mission is to help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless attain self-sufficiency by offering, with dignity and compassion, shelter, housing, and services. Since 2008, SAMM has prevented 20,000 San Antonians from entering homelessness. Each night, SAMM offers 350 families a place to call home. In 2014, 98% of the families served through SAMM’s Homeless Prevention Program remained out of homelessness after 18 months.

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Homelessness in the SA Metro Area

Homelessness is a real problem in San Antonio and its surrounding communities. We will get a new survey later this month to count current homeless, but 2015 numbers are available from SARAH, the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless. In 2015, there were 2,891 homeless individuals counted at the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used in determining federal funding for San Antonio’s homeless programs. 546 of these were children (average age of 6) and 309 of these were veterans. This total number has been largely steady for the last three years (2,892 in 2014 and 2,980 in 2013). SAMMinistries estimates the current San Antonio homeless population at approximately 3,211.

While 3,211 may not seem like a very large number in a city with a population of 1.4 million, the reality is that nearly 50% of San Antonio’s population is living with no savings, which puts them at a high risk of becoming homeless if they experience a loss of income. More than half of all homeless individuals in San Antonio cite a loss of income as their reason for homelessness, and affordable housing is the most requested service by homeless individuals in San Antonio.

SAMMinistries offers the following services:

  • Homeless Prevention: Providing rental assistance, utility assistance and supportive services to enable individuals, families, veterans and seniors who are in imminent danger of eviction avoid homelessness.
  • Transitional Housing: SAMMinistries offers 65 families transitional housing through individual homes in San Antonio, as well as the Transitional Living and Learning Center (TLLC). The Transitional Housing program provides housing, support and resources to families who show a commitment to gaining self-sufficiency. The individual needs of all family members are supported for a two-year period, promoting the viability of the family as a whole while they transition out of homelessness.
  • Rapid Re-Housing: The Rapid Re-Housing program reduces the amount of time a family experiences homelessness and rapidly re-houses families into permanent, affordable homes. Financial assistance is provided for up to 3 months along with 12 months of case management.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing: Permanent Supportive Housing assists and empowers families to live as independently as possible. SAMMinistries has a permanent housing program that assists families with whom one member of the family has a disability. SAMMinistries also manages 100 set-aside housing vouchers to help families find permanent housing in the private rental market.
  • Supportive Services: In order to serve their clients and the community holistically, SAMMinistries offers supportive services to all program participants to support them spiritually, mentally and physically. These services include spiritual services, educational assistance, wellness classes and employment development.

What are we doing to help?

Our July Nerd Night events on July 8th and 24th will support SAMMinistries’ annual Back-to-School Bash, taking place in August. Each year, SAMMinistries invites more than 200 children from their programs across the city to attend and shop for back-to-school clothing and supplies. See the list below for “most needed” items.


3″ – 4″ Binders
Pocket Folders with Brads (different colors)
200-count Kleenex Tissues
9″ x 12″ Assorted Construction Paper (loose)
Red Pencils 10-count Divider Pages (for the binders)


Pants (Khakis):
30×32 Adult Slim Men
16 Adult Women
6 Adult Women

Women’s Shirts:
XL Juniors

Boys: 1 Youth
Girls: 2, 11 Youth
Men: 6, 7, 10.5 Adult
Women: 7, 8, 8.5 Adult

Charity Spotlight: SAMMinistries Back to School2016-11-25T10:59:32-06:00

Charity Spotlight: Texas Burn Survivor Society

June’s partner organization is the Texas Burn Survivor Society. TBSS founder David Jayne was critically burned in a helicopter accident and spent three years enduring treatment and rehab at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Burn Unit. David and his wife Jane were determined to provide the kind of support for others they themselves had so sorely needed, and in 1962 TBSS was born.

Since formally organizing in 1996, TBSS has created successful programs of patient support which have assisted thousands of burn and thermal injury survivors to achieve a successful return to normal and productive lives. These include purchasing scar management garments for burn survivors who can’t afford them otherwise, providing emergency assistance of all kinds to burn survivors and their families, a scholarship program for burn survivors to help them obtain vocational degrees, several programs working with wounded warriors, a peer support group, a fire and burn prevention education program in association with the San Antonio Fire Department, and Camp David, a summer camp for burn survivors, their siblings, or children of burn survivors ages 7-16.

Camp DavidWe will be stuffing backpacks for Camp David. The camp provides pediatric burn survivors with a week of adventure, discovery and fun, designed specifically for pediatric burn survivors aged 7 to 16. Camp David is unique among burn camps because it also includes siblings and children of burn survivors, whose lives are also severely impacted by burn injury. This amazing camp is made available to the children free of charge.

11755824_1086064558089215_354587327223238191_nCamp David, named in honor of TBSS co-founded David Jayne, is in its 21st year and will take place July 10-16 at Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, where it has been since 2007. On average, the camp hosts 55 campers each year. This year, they will host at least 65 campers. The camp is financed by private donations and is free of charge for all campers.

10985040_1086066988088972_9013959566192124012_nAt Camp David, children learn the core spiritual values which enhance the ability to survive injury and gain the self-confidence, self-esteem and coping skills that will allow them to re-enter and function happily in society. Surrounded by caring mentors, volunteers of the Texas Burn Survivor Society, and the incredible men and women of the San Antonio, Austin, and Kerrville Fire Departments. Camp David allows the children to discover that anything is possible. Here, potential has no limit.

For further information about Camp David or Texas Burn Survivor Society, visit, call 210-824-8499, e-mail, or visit their Facebook page.

Camp David Group Picture

Backpack Items

Beach Towels/Large Bath Towels

School Supplies

Snack Items (granola bars, sugar free mints/gum, etc.)

Beanie Babies or Similar Small Stuffed Animals

Small Puzzle Toys

Small Journals or Notepads

Decals and Stickers

Friendship Bracelets


Charity Spotlight: Texas Burn Survivor Society2016-11-25T10:59:33-06:00

The Big Give

Today’s a big day! The Big Give S.A. is all day today, May 3. For those who may not be familiar, The Big Give S.A. is a 24-hour day of giving. It’s organized by the Texas Nonprofit Council and the San Antonio Area Foundation, with the support of the New Braunfels Community Center and the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country.

The Big Give S.A. launched in 2014 with a goal of raising $1 million in donations for local nonprofits. They exceeded that goal, with $2 million in donations raised.

In 2015, The Big Give S.A. expanded to include the 11 surrounding counties and doubled the goal, increasing it to $4 million. Again, it was exceeded, raising over $4.3 million raised for local nonprofit organizations.

The goal this year is $6 million, and all the nonprofits we have helped in this past year or will help later this year are fundraising extra-hard today! Many are participating in special events all day. Here are their Big Give links. If a particular organization over the last year was special to you, or if one of our upcoming nonprofit partners has a special place in your heart, please give and GIVE BIG!

Elf Louise (November 2015/16)

San Antonio Food Bank (December 2015/16)

Family Violence Prevention Services (January 2016)

SAMMinistries (February 2016/July 2016)

Animal Defense League (March 2016)

San Antonio AIDS Foundation (April 2016)

San Antonio Youth Literacy (May 2016)

Texas Burn Survivor Society (June 2016)

The Rape Crisis Center (August 2016)

Texas Diaper Bank (October 2016)

For any questions about The Big Give S.A., you may reach a Big Give team member at 210.774.GIVE.

The Big Give2016-05-15T09:22:06-06:00

Charity Spotlight: Book Buddies

Book Buddies is an initiative of San Antonio Youth Literacy, an organization founded in 1984 to provide one-on-one reading assistance to elementary school children through the Reading Buddies program. They attempt to increase the number of children reading at grade level while fostering their enjoyment of reading.

SAYL is committed to reducing functional illiteracy among the youth of San Antonio and seeing that every child in South Texas enters 3rd grade reading at level. Reading Buddies provides one-to-one reading assistance to elementary children in 65 schools across San Antonio. Volunteers tutor children who struggle with basic reading and comprehension skills.

Book Buddies collects books suitable for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade and distributes them at the end of the school year in free book fairs at their Reading Buddy Schools.

Children choose books to take home to read over the summer, which helps prevent the “summer slide” — a regression in learning over summer vacation when they are not being actively taught. Studies also show that children who grow up in homes without books, and who are not read to as children, are far more likely to fall behind in school, fail to complete high school, and suffer the unfortunate outcomes associated with failure: drug use, criminal behavior, early pregnancy, etc.

The Reading Buddy program exists in San Antonio Title 1 schools where at least 75% of the families are below the poverty line. Children at these schools attend the free book fairs at the end of the school year and take the books home and keep them as their own. They can read them over the summer, share them with family and friends, or even their parents. In many cases these donated books are the only books in the home. An added benefit is that children in more advantaged homes learn to share their no longer needed books with another child.

May Nerd Night is holding a book drive to collect books for this year’s fairs. Bring your new or gently used books to Geeks Café on May 13th!

Types of Books Needed

Picture Books (Example: Where the Wild Things Are)
I Can Read series
Children’s chapter books
Any book appropriate up to a 6th grade level

Amazon Shopping Suggestions 

Charity Spotlight: Book Buddies2016-11-25T10:59:34-06:00
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