We provide low barrier resources, such as syringe exchange and disposal, operating outside the county-run SSP availability, as well as running a hotline delivery option. Additionally, we provide naloxone (Narcan) and overdose prevention education, fentanyl test kits, safe injection equipment, wound care, sharps containers, hygiene products, food and water. Moreover, we offer a range of different educational resources and support through referrals to services that extend beyond our reach. While we received authorization by the California Department of Public Health to operate a Syringe Service Program (SSP) earlier this year, we are still lacking the funds to fully meet the needs of our community.
A local philanthropist has extended us a most gracious offer! Every dollar you give will be matched up to $70,000. If you’re in the position to give generously, please consider doing so. As a needs-based organization, we want to ensure that no one walks away empty handed. We are now calling in our allies and comrades to help uplift us and the community we serve in this critical time. There is no donation too grand, nor too small!
At least half of your donations will go directly to purchasing harm reduction supplies for our participants, allowing us to bridge the current gap in supply funding that exists across the state, so that no one who comes to us walks away empty-handed. The rest of the funds will expand our part-time staff positions for two people who have been actively committed to HRCSCC for multiple years. This would ensure the strength of our organizational structure, allowing us to remain a permanent fixture of Santa Cruz County’s public health resources. As a frontline social service provider during COVID-19, and a critical support system for people affected by the recent wildfires, we are more motivated than ever to meet the needs of people who use drugs.
This fundraiser is being posted by Dani Drysdale, the SSP Coordinator for HRCSCC. The funds will be withdrawn directly to HRCSCC, which is a Registered Charitable Trust in California and a fiscal sponsee of the North American Syringe Exchange Network, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations made through this fundraiser will not be tax deductible, if you would like to make a larger tax deductible donation, please refer to this document for instructions on how to donate through our fiscal sponsor: https://bit.ly/HRCSCC-BigDonations
We’re ready to continue to deepen this critical work. Please help us in keeping our commitment to community care and consider donating however much is meaningful to you.
If you’d like to know more about us, please read on:
We were founded in the Spring of 2018, providing outreach through the doors of a minivan in direct response to the needs of the people. Since then, HRCSCC has grown significantly, through the work of dozens of volunteers and hundreds of program participants, and has become an integral resource for our Santa Cruz community. We were recently honored with two awards from Community Prevention Partners for our commitment to the health and well-being of county residents.
A November 2019 study evaluating syringe access in Santa Cruz County revealed that the most common barriers to syringe disposal are: limited hours of disposal locations, distance and transportation to locations, and the fear of the presence of police. Moreover, persons who experienced a lack of syringe access were four times more likely to reuse their own syringes and six times more likely to share a syringe with others.
HRCSCC offers an additional option to the county-run SSP, providing greater accessibility outside the county’s days, hours, and fixed locations. Through our delivery hotline, we offer supply delivery and pick-up of used syringes to compensate for barriers in scheduling and transportation. Furthermore, we conduct an average of three sweeps a week in densely populated areas, picking up and disposing of used syringes.
A fundamental aspect of harm reduction work is the connection we build with our participants. We meet people where they are, both figuratively and literally. Ruthy, a program participant, comes to our Sunday exchange to get syringes, alcohol pads, and a hot meal. She credits our syringe exchange for her practice of not reusing needles. For her, the exchange is the first step in regaining agency. “When you’re making these small moves to take care of yourself, it makes you want to take care of yourself even more.”
We recognize and value that small changes in care can have profound positive effects in well-being and community health. We all do better when we all do better. Thank you for your support.
- Katherine Behrenwald
- Basil Scoppettone
- Katie Spencer
- Isabella Atencio
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