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Prevent PG&E Shut-offs with Efficient Water Heaters & Furnaces

If you have been feeling the sting of rising utility costs since the new year—as much as 9.4% for combined electricity and gas, according to a Dec. 31, 2021 San Jose Mercury News article—imagine the shock for low income households when they opened their February utility bill to discover that on top of the skyrocketing costs to heat their homes, they could also be facing discontinuation of service for nonpayment.

The lifting of the pandemic-induced moratorium on shut-off notices—originally slated to lift last fall—couldn’t have come at a worse time for vulnerable communities in Alameda County. Many had been diligently applying for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) throughout the pandemic, but the once-a-year assistance cannot help those who have not yet passed their 12-month re-application window.

Each Spring, as the grass grows and the flowers bloom, we get the sweet smell of fresh air and all the pollen the trees can release. You may not think of Spring allergies when it comes to fall prevention, but many of the risks we face everyday become exaggerated when our hay fever acts up.
When an allergy occurs, the cells release histamine. In an attempt to stop allergens from entering the body, histamine induces sneezing, and causes the nose and eyes to swell. These symptoms can be disorienting. 
Red watery eyes, sneezing, itchy runny nose, stuffy nose, puffy eyes, coughing or difficulty breathing can all be hazards when trying to move around.
Fall Prevention is all about being aware, and removing hazards. Allergies can compromise our senses, leading to increased risks, which means we need to be extra careful.
Here are some tips to avoid allergy flare ups:

• Limit time outdoors when the pollen levels are high
• Cover up completely when outdoors.
• Wear a mask when gardening.
• Change clothing after being outdoors.
• Wash your hands.
• Remove your shoes before entering the house.
• Use a room or whole-house HEPA filter.

Stay safe and fall free this Spring!

Anniversaries are usually happy occasions full of love and celebration. Spectrum is celebrating our 50th anniversary of service and this March marks the 50th anniversary of the federal senior nutrition program! If you see the “March for Meals” logo, you know that is us, along with thousands of local organizations across the country celebrating caring for our neighbors.

Some other anniversaries bring mixed feelings. As we cross the second anniversary of the Shelter-in-Place due to COVID-19, let’s remember those we have lost and celebrate those who are with us. I’m not sure if it’s just growing older or the pandemic, but I have been more purposeful in reflecting and prioritizing how I spend my time - who I spend time with and what activities I choose to do. As you’ll read in the pages that follow, the Spectrum community of clients, volunteers and staff have an abundance of love, caring, hope, and service to others. They choose to spend their time connecting with others in meaningful ways. Audrey & Charlie’s love story continues everyday as they connect with each other and the volunteers who bring them a smile, and a friendly visit each day along with their meal.

You are invited to join us at the “Show Your Love” wine tasting & pairing event on May 7th to gather, have fun, and support more than just a meal for our senior neighbors. Anniversaries are not for wishing that everything is the same, but for remembrance and planning for our best day today.

Veggie Burrito Bowls

Serves 4   |   Cook Time: 20 minutes   |   Prep Time: 15 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup brown rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 15.5-oz. cans black beans,
drained, rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 ½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen,
thawed if frozen
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, julienned

Optional garnishes: sour cream,
shredded cheese, cilantro leaves,
shredded lettuce, sliced radishes,
chopped pickled jalapeños, lime
wedge, avocado slices or guacamole,
or tortilla chips

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 ·