SAN FRANCISCO—On Sunday, November 15, the organizer and founder of the UR BLESSINGS organization, Ute Releford announced her community and family will hold an annual Holiday Hope Initiative event from now until they reach their goal of $10,000. The goal is to raise funds to help seniors, children and families by providing groceries, turkeys and toys in the Western Addition neighborhood.
UR BLESSINGS is a new non-profit organization founded by Releford, who is known as “Mother Fillmore” or “Mama Tay.” For the last 15 years, Releford gathered funds from close friends and families to support her community’s initiative in the Western Addition of San Francisco. In 2019, event distributed over 600 toys in the region. Recently, they provided groceries during the holidays to an average of 140 families in 7 different housing districts, the organization stated.
Releford’s son, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., told the San Francisco News that they deliver groceries and turkeys to seniors at Royal Adah Arms Apartments and other individuals. Jackson released that they got permission to block an alley on Rose and Buchanan Streets in the Hayes Valley area to hold the event outdoors, possibly the weekend before the Christmas holiday for people and kids to receive their services.
On March 1, 2019, Mayor London Breed described Releford during a press conference for Women’s History Month stating:
“Ute Releford has been just an important figure in our community. She has done many amazing things for many people. She’s done around the turkey giveaways, the toy giveaways. The time when there’s a funeral, she’s the one who’s cooking the food. And oftentimes, she serves by pulling her own money out of her pocket to help people in the community. Ute is there to uplift us, to pray for us, to support us and to comfort us, especially during the challenging times in the Western Addition community.”
From an interview with Rodney, he said his mother is always direct and gives so much that is how he learned about the importance of giving. “Because she gives so much, I have to give back to her and help her create this. And now, together, we are going to give to the rest of our community,” Rodney stated.
A note from Releford shared her motivation for making efforts in her community on social media:
“That giving spark came from my mother, who was such a giver when I was a young girl. She used to pack up boxes and clothes, and then went out to give people laying on the streets and feed the homeless all the time.”