Tenderlovin' is a community out reach program that caters to the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. The Tenderloin has a reputation of being a dirty and dangerous neighborhood; most people even avoid the neighborhood all together. But once you come here and actually talk to the people living here, you will notice a really strong sense of community; the people here remember your name... they ask how you are doing, they actually care.
This is one of the biggest issues with our society: we forget that these are people just like us. We dehumanize them, call them "crack-heads" and "junkies"... these are people that need help. We all are under so much pressure in our daily lives, and if a few things went wrong, who knows how we would be able to cope? What is an addiction but self-medicating?
Tenderlovin' is trying to give a voice to the people living here by asking them to share their stories. We provide ways for the public to contact and donate to them directly so you know exactly who you are helping and how; it is a more intimate way to donate. There is also a quarterly reading series that is charity-driven. All the donations from poetry reading go towards cooking meals for vulnerable individuals in the Tenderloin.
How it happened
Before moving to the tenderloin,I was living in the Inland Empire. I knew nothing about SF or the neighborhoods. All I knew was everything was crazy expensive, but I had no choice because I was starting graduate school at SFSU. The only place that seemed reasonable was the TL...But everyone said it was a bad idea, and I was going to end up getting robbed. But when I moved here, I noticed people here remember my name... they remember my dog's name. I do not think that I have ever lived in a place with such a strong sense of community before. Now I want to do everything I can do to help the people suffering here, which is why I started Tenderlovin; I was talking to a man named Jesse, and he said the a very eye-opening statement regarding addiction:
"The first time I smoked crack, It was like a hug for my soul... I just needed love."
After hearing this, my entire perspective changed: The TL is not the most dangerous neighborhood in SF, it just needs the most love...