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Winter 2021 Newsletter


Recipe of the Month ..........2

LIHEAP Update .................3

Fall Prevention Tips............4

Staff Spotlight ...................5

Volunteer Spotlight.............6

Client Spotlight...................7



25 . Christmas Day

31 . New Years’ Eve


1 . New Years’ Day

17 . MLK Jr Day|Day of Service


14 . Valentine’s Day


17 . St. Patrick’s Day

Message from the Executive Director

Winter brings to mind the comfort of good food shared over a table with family and friends, a walk in the crisp cold air and the blast of warm air as you come inside, and gratitude for being able to experience it one more time.

These past 20 months have reinforced my gratitude for the small things which make the day a bit brighter and the big things that make the world a bit kinder. The Senior Meals and Meals on Wheels continue to fill over 800 of our neighbor’s stomachs each day with a hot, healthy, delicious meal like the Southwestern Bowl (pg 2). While the Fall Prevention Team, including Maria (pg 5), continues to keep seniors moving and the Energy Team brings the gift of power and warmth (pg 3).

The most important part is the connection to others that happens every day. There is nothing I’m more grateful for than the experience of sharing life with others and watching our seniors connect with each other.

As you enter the holiday season and new year, what connections and parts of life are you grateful for? What would you miss if it wasn’t here any more? What action will you take to make the day a bit brighter and the world a bit kinder?

2621 Barrington Ct., Hayward, CA 94545-1100 · (510) 881-0300 ·

Recipe of the Month


Serves 6 | Cook Time: 60 Min | Prep Time: 15 Min

This one-bowl meal is loaded with vitamins A, C and K, is high in fiber and low in sodium.


2 teaspoons canola oil

1 cup chopped red onion

2 cups chopped green bell pepper

1 chili pepper of your choice, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced sweet potato

1 cup chopped tomato

1 cup brown rice

1/2 cup green lentils

1/2 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper

2 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock

2 cups water

4 cups chopped kale

1 cup cooked black beans

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

4 lime wedges


Step 1 : In a large saute pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, garlic, sweet potato and tomato. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until onions begin to look translucent.

Step 2 : Add rice, lentils, spices, vinegar, stock and water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked.

To Serve : Toss with kale, black beans and cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges.
Source: southwestern-vegan-bowl/rcp-20152941?p=1


Make a Meatless Day: By eating meatless one day a week it not only can improve your health, but it can help the environment. Try including plant-based proteins like beans and legumes.

Get more of the Sunshine Vitamin (Vitamin D): Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health. Try spending 5-10 minutes in the sun, 2-3 times per week.

Practice Mindful Eating : Be present and in the moment when eating. Use all of your senses and savor each bite.

Focus on what you can eat and not what you can’t: Try focusing on adding in more nutritious foods to your plate instead of what you should avoid.

Try new plant-based recipes: Research shows that plant-based diets, such as ones that include plant-based proteins, are associated with lower risks of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Try a new recipe once a week using vegetables, grains, legumes or fruit as the main entrée.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Update

Winter can be a stressful time—especially if you are one of the many people who anticipates a spike in your utility bills during the colder months. Historically speaking, it’s not unusual for many people to see higher utility bills in the winter as a result of staying indoors more, turning on the lights earlier, poor insulation, and cranking up the thermostat.

However, recent developments might cause an even bigger spike in heating and electric bills than people are used to seeing. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to spend even more time at home than they would otherwise. Further, inflation trends have prompted the government to warn households to expect increases in their heating bills of up to 54%. Fortunately, for those willing to put in the work, there are steps you can take to weatherize your home, cut back on energy use and, in doing so, reduce your electricity bill:

. Make maintenance a routine. As it turns out, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach might actually be costing you money. Things like dirty furnace filters can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system, causing it to use more electricity and drive your heating bill up.

. Health & Safety. This winter season is a great time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working properly or if they need to be replaced. Smoke alarms should be installed in all bedrooms and sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 15’ of the entrance to all bedrooms and sleeping areas.

. Check for heat loss. Most people would probably be shocked to find out how much heat they lose from unexpected places. To mitigate your heat loss, consider sealing around your doors and windows, insulating your water heater and pipes, and checking for drafts around your outlets and vents.

. Get smart about your thermostat. If you keep your thermostat turned up around the clock, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to reduce your electricity bill. If you’re able, throw an extra blanket on the bed and turn the heater down by a couple of degrees overnight. Alternatively, consider investing in a smart

thermostat that you can program or control remotely from your smartphone. Many of these devices have features that allow you to turn your heat down while you’re out of the house, or during set hours (such as while you’re at work).

. Adjust your habits. Dayto-day activities consume a surprising amount of energy. Consider the ways that you can adjust your heat usage by making small changes to your daily routine. For example, you might wash your laundry on cold rather than hot, or hang it to air-dry rather than using the dryer. You might also start reducing your showers to every other day and only running the dishwasher when it’s full.

If you’re feeling anxious about your utility bill this winter, it may be time to get help with the weatherization process. Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance, and services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or to download a copy or our energy assistance application.

Year-End Giving


As the 2021 tax year winds down, owners of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) might consider combining the 2021 tax benefits of charitable giving with a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA. If you are at least 70 ½ years of age, you can make an IRA distribution of up to $100,000 to a qualified charitable organization and the distributed amount is excluded from your gross income for federal income tax purposes. In addition, the distribution will count towards your required minimum distribution amount for the tax year.

Year-End Tax Planning
Charitable CARES Act Contribution
Tax Deductions:
$300 for singles and
$600 for married couples

For the distribution to count as a qualified charitable distribution, you must meet the following requirements. First, you must have a letter of acknowledgment from the charity recipient of your charitable contribution. Second, the trustee of the IRA must transfer the funds directly to the charitable organization (the distribution cannot be made to you first). Third, the charity recipient of the qualified charitable distribution must be a 501(c)(3) organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

The following charities, however, do not qualify for qualified charitable distributions: Private foundations; Supporting organizations (i.e., charities carrying out exempt purposes by supporting other exempt organizations, usually other public charities); and Donor-advised funds, which public charities manage on behalf of organizations, families, or individuals.

For 2021 as well, taxpayers that itemize deductions will benefit from a higher tax deduction limitation for cash charitable contributions. As part of the 2020 CARES Act and year-end legislation dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, Congress increased the adjusted gross income limit for cash contributions to qualifying public charities for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. The deduction limits are now 100 percent of adjusted gross income (up from 60 percent of adjusted gross income prior to the CARES Act). Therefore, if you make cash charitable contributions in 2021 (other than qualified charitable distributions), you may deduct the full amount of the charitable contributions against your adjusted gross income for federal income tax purposes. Taxpayers who exhaust their 100% deduction limit can carry forward additional charitable contribution amounts for the next five years.

Consult your tax advisor about making qualified charitable distributions and other charitable contributions, as the rules surrounding their deductibility are complex.

Sourced from

Fall Prevention


Winter brings so many wonderful things, but we need to be cautious as we move into the colder months. Crisp foggy mornings can create slippery surfaces outside our homes and extra care is needed to be sure we stay fall free! Here are some tips to keep you safe:

Wear good shoes with good traction

Keep an umbrella and a flashlight in your bag or car

Dress in layers

Wear gloves, scarves and hats

Avoid crowded areas where others are rushing around

Take our time and move slowly

Keep in touch with family and friends, and make them aware if you feel unsafe

Pictured from left to right: Eric, Little Eric and Maria Sandoval

Let’s Meet


The eldest of three children, Maria Sandoval was born and raised in Fresno, then moved to the Bay Area to pursue her education and started a family here. Maria has a three year old son, Eric, who keeps her very busy, and is excited to announce that they will add a new addition in May of 2022!

Maria is a Fitness Instructor for Spectrum’s Fall Prevention program and first got involved with the program as part of class credit for school courses she was taking at Cal State East Bay. Right after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Maria applied to work for the Fall Prevention Program.

The best thing about her job is, “the impact that I can have on the participants. It feels very gratifying when I hear participants tell me that they are able to do certain things that they could not do before attending the program.”

Staff Spotlight

Spectrum has become “an integral part of the lives of seniors that live in the community and helps seniors to live their best lives. Across the board, seniors want to have independence and I feel Spectrum is able to help them achieve that goal. Many of the seniors in our program still live on their own, can drive, and travel all over. I personally love to see that they are able to enjoy their retirement years to the fullest and in ways that they probably did not think was possible.”

Maria says her job as a Fitness Instructor has really changed over the last couple of years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are completely online. It has been a good experience being able to work from home. I enjoy being able to communicate with the participants. I also like the fact that we can focus on the participants in these smaller online classes. Another plus is that our clients are better able to see their movements during exercise class and make adjustments.”

During her time outside of work, Maria likes to relax by doing decorative planning. If you have never heard of decorative planning, you aren’t alone. Think of it almost like scrapbooking in a daily planner. Maria says that it’s a way “to keep my schedule organized and be a little crafty.”

Volunteer Spotlight


“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill

As the holiday season approaches, it is very easy to get swept up in the hussle and bussle of celebrating and shopping. Not everyone will be invited to a holiday party or share a meal with family, some will not even receive a gift. For those of us who look forward to this holiday season because we are fortunate to have all of the things that we need, take a moment to be kind to others and do not underestimate the impact that sincerity and genuine interest in your neighbors might make.

Here are highlights of several volunteer groups who practice the spirit of giving, not only during the holidays, but year round.

Recently, the Young Men’s Service League of Livermore hand-crafted 91 blankets that were distributed to Meals on Wheels clients. The Young Men’s Service League (YMSL)

is a non-profit organization of moms and their teenage sons who volunteer together to serve their local communities during their four years of high school. YMSL offers moms service opportunities and time together with her son(s) to grow their relationship and to instill in him a heart of service to last a lifetime.

Unchained Labs, a life sciences tools company in Pleasanton, has once again partnered with Spectrum Community Services to fulfill holiday wishes for homebound seniors in the TriValley. For the past 3 years, Unchained Labs’ employees have selected seniors off of our senior Giving Tree. As a group they have provided 25 gifts each year. They help to brighten our senior’s holiday. Through additional community outreach, community members have stepped up to fulfill the Holiday Wish List items of 172 seniors.

Sending holiday cards to loved ones is a timeless tradition that many of us look forward to all year. Writing out cards containing well wishes and holiday sayings is a way to make the holidays feel even special and stay connected with friends and family. Meals on Wheels program manager, Carrie Oldes, saw an opportunity when seniors began telling her they would be giving up the tradition because they could no longer get around well enough to go purchase holiday cards like they once did. Several years ago, Carrie began tapping into her local connections and was able to solicit boxes of holiday cards to distribute to interested clients. Thank you to everyone who donated boxes of holiday cards! Can you believe that we have over 1500 cards ready to go out to our seniors this week?

San Ramon Women’s Club recently held a pet giveaway to collect items to help launch the Meals on Wheels of the Tri-Valley Pet Program. The members spent Saturday morning manning a drive thru donation site. They gathered pet toys and treats that will find homes with our seniors and their furry companions.

Are you interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with Spectrum? If so, please visit our website at

Supervisor Wilma Chan

1949 - 2021

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Supervisor Wilma Chan. She has been at the forefront and a leading voice advocating for children, families and the rights of those most vulnerable. Her service to Alameda county will be deeply missed. As a powerful leader on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, she has pioneered changes at all levels in our local communities and throughout the state.”

Client Spotlight

Let’s Meet SHELLY

I have been a neighbor of Josephine Lum lodge for 30 years. All these years, I have seen seniors come and go to Senior Meals. Time flew by so quickly and now I’m retired. I joined the program. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like the food. After a two week trial, I

enjoyed it so much that I asked my husband and sisters to join. We all find the food delicious and healthy. Not too salty and not difficult to chew. We enjoy all types of food like a rainbow. It’s affordable and plentiful. We are thankful to have a program that helps seniors. We are thankful to the workers and volunteers who make the program successful. (Translated from Chinese)

Year End Gifts for Tax Purposes

2621 Barrington Ct., Hayward, CA 94545-1100 · (510) 881-0300 ·


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Hayward, CA Permit No. 217

2621 Barrington Ct.
Hayward, CA 94545