Last spring, Maria Januzys wasn't sure she could stay in her home. The 87-year-old Morgan Hill widow tripped, fell and lay on the floor, badly injured, for three days before a neighbor found her.
But now, thanks to the generosity of Mercury News Wish Book readers and volunteers, Januzys' home has been cleaned, organized and renovated with new steps and handrails, making it safer for her to stay there and live independently.
Januzys' continued independence is one of the "wishes" aided by readers of the 2012 Mercury News Wish Book. More than 1,600 readers have donated $397,000 to Wish Book since Thanksgiving, when the first of 24 stories about local people and organizations in need was published.
"Even though the economy is still recovering, we're really pleased with Silicon Valley's generosity," said Dave Butler, Mercury News executive editor.
For Januzys, 16 volunteers with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley gathered at her home in January to replace her countertop and sink, repair the front steps, install lighting and shelving and organize her cherished belongings.
The volunteers were "real angels, because there is so much that is missing in this house," Januzys said. She hopes the volunteers will keep in touch even when she doesn't need anything, and she was impressed they would give away their time and skills "with love."
"We really try to make sure people can stay in their homes. Most of our clients are in their
Thanks to readers' contributions, Wish Book will also support Grace Baptist Church. The church needs $10,000 to fix up its dilapidated shower facilities so homeless people attending Grace Community Center next door to the church have a place to clean up. Clients must be clean in order to take part in the center's services. Wish Book readers' donations will also supply shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and towels.
And Wish Book will help the 10 members of the San Jose Rockets power wheelchair soccer team travel to the National Founders Conference Cup Tournament in Minnesota in June. Donations will help to defray the estimated $3,000 cost per player for travel, meals, tournament fees and a personal care attendant.
The Rockets have been practicing hard and recently won all three games at their last tournament in San Jose, said Chris Connolly, mother of team member Ryan Connolly.
Since 1983, Mercury News readers have helped the needy in Silicon Valley and surrounding counties through Wish Book. Nearly $7.5 million has been distributed, paying for such things as nutritious meals, furniture at domestic violence shelters and help for children with disabilities.
Readers may still make tax-deductible donations, either at www.mercurynews.info/wishbook or by sending a check to Wish Book Fund, c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation, 2440 W. El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, CA 94040.
The following is a partial list of Wish Book donors:
Sara Abraham; Maria Allison in honor of Inez; Adu Bagley; Karla Barnette; Helen Barrios; John and Linda Bauer in honor of David and Sarah Bradley, Nick and Amy Ardito, Jena Nash and Mollie Nash; Brendan Best in honor of Chris Oreglia, Molly and Nolan Best; Jayaram Bhat; Richard and Carolyn Boschert; Daniel and Marion Bourbon in honor of Katie and Louie; Karen Brieger in honor of Stephen Brieger; Christian Bremeau in honor of Rick Lauth; Helen Brendage in honor of Lu-chan; Gordy Burton; Glen Buschbaum; Kathryn Butler in honor of Andy Lippman.
Judy Calegari in honor of Joan Anne Hughes; Robert and Catherine Calloway in honor of Jack Calloway's 11th birthday; Theresa Calloway in honor of Jack Calloway's 11th birthday; Tom Calloway in honor of Jack Calloway's 11th birthday; Don and Eileen Campagna; Capitol Dance Company in honor of Chip Fields; Christopher Cecil in honor of Andrew Cabatingan; Phyllis Chai in honor of Harriet Yamada; Mary Beth Chambless in honor of Marcella Gaffney; Marsha Chan in honor of Tiffany, Tobie, Bryan, Kendra, Kevin, Vicki, Terry; Kim Chau in honor of Gilbert, Nyrene, Layla, and Evan Aviles; Claudia Cherlin; Cherryl Chow in honor of Li-Chun Chow; Edmund and Sharon Chu in honor of Mr. and Mrs. James Winzeler; Hector and Fran Cisneros in honor of Linda Watts; Rouble Claire; Sharon and John Coburn; Nancy Cole; Jennifer Cray; the Crowe Family; Patricia L. Curia.
Damberger's Insurance Agency; Catherine Dardenne; Madan Das in honor of Radha Rani Das; Cheryl de Gier; Herb Deitz; Peter Delevett in honor of my family; Daniel and Linda Dentone in honor of Reno Ghiorzi; Veena Dharmadhikari; Vu Doan in honor of Jenson, Emma, and Johan; Martin Donez in honor of Lidia Donez; Donald and Catherine Draper; Sanjeev Dua; Mikki Dundon in honor of all of our friends from Rosies; Susan and James Dyer.
Diana Eichman in honor of Rocco Contini; Martha Elderon; Joe Epstein; Vivian Euzent in honor of my mother, Wilma Fretz, Elmira, NY; Kate Evard; Ronald and Linda Farr in honor of Athena and Christian; Timothy and Carolynne Farrell in honor of Taylor and Jillian Riese, Will and John Hieks; John Fensterwald; Fairbanks Trust in honor of Rica ten Bruin; Katharine Finlay in honor of Douglas Johnson; Vicki Firstman; Martin Fishman in honor of Holly Hayes; David and Ann Fitts in honor of Amy Duncan; Michele Fuller in honor of Dale Flowers Family.
Martin Ganschow and Marta Olds in honor of Greg Duarte; Donna Gavasse in honor of Thomas Montero; James and Dawn Georgiou in memory of David Louis Normadin; Steven Gerdt; GFWC Peninsula Hills Women's Club; Doris Ghiorzi in honor of Reno Ghiorzi; Robert Goldberg; Deb Goldeen and Erik Gutfeldt; Dave Gonzalez; Donald Gordon; Michael Gotuaco; Elaine and Stan Gould; Evelyn Grandinetti; Richard and Rosemarie Gravelle in honor of Gravelle Grand Kids; Junita Green in honor of Paul Chesterman; Jean Gryc; Al and Nora Gurevich; Robert Gurian in honor of Tim Agar.
Jacquelyn Hall in honor of Dave and Susan Key; Linda Halloran; Leslee Hamilton; Kathleen and Fred Hanes; Patricia Hannon in honor of the Mousseau and Baker-Kujawa families; Poul Hansen; James Haworth in honor of Jim, Susan, Kari, Mark, Holly, and Jeff; Lee Heathorn; Donna Henderson in honor of John C. and John M. Henderson; Patricia Hendriks; Dexter Hermstad; Annie Hikido; Elaine Hikido; Deforrest and Bonnie Home in honor of Holly Hayes; Jeff and Maria Hongo in honor of Joao Franco; Paul Hsieh; Patsy Hughes in honor of Victoria Angelo, Don and Georgie Hughes.
Judith Ingols; Mahadevan and Purnima Iyer in honor of Lalitha Narasimhan; Tamar Jacobs; Jerome and Rita Jacobson; Jeffrey and Kathryn Janoff; Esther John; Maureen Karpan; Clarence and Millie Kellogg; Dana and Mary Kellogg; Kevin Kingston; Mary E. Kittoe Smith; Steve Kohler; Wanda Kownacki; Klaus Krause; Sreenivas Krishnan; Richard Kulish.
Susan Lam; Gary Larson in honor of Josefina Quilez; LawTech; Frances Wang Lee; Marilyn Loomis; Anita Lusebrink in honor of Fay Matsumoto.
Milt Mallory and Mary Artibee in honor of Sarah-Ann and Brian Badenoch; Kathy Marchand; Christopher and Rita Mausler in honor of Brandon Mausler; Richard and Pamela Mayer in honor of the children of Sandy Hook; Larry McGowan in honor of Gordon and Lillian Falk, Marvin McGowan; Jerry McGrew in honor of Dorothy R. McGrew; Diane Means in honor of Martha Wood; Paula Meier in honor of Joseph Schumaker Jr.; Andreas Meisel; Victoria H. Mendoza; Maqdooda Merchant; Elizabeth Messmer; Clement and Josephine Miles in honor of Maria Miles; Greg Miller; Todd and Jennifer Miller in honor of Jack Calloway's 11th birthday; Scott W. Mitchell; Barbara Morrey; Gail C. Moser, Esq. in honor of Josephine Moser; Patricia Munoz; Cookie Murata.
Karen Nelson; Christine Nguyen; Mai-Phuong Nguyen in honor of Khou, Thy, An Tran; Jane Odell and Steve Jenks; John O'Farrell; the Omura Family; Mark Oto; Alfred Ottino.
Tom Paramo in honor of Dr. Conor O'Malley; Vinayak Parikh in honor of Ewe Parikh, Kailashben Gandhi; John and Ernestine Paros in honor of Betty Plata; Stefani Parrish in honor of Carl and Teddy Schulz; Doug and Judy Pereyda Family Foundation; Phil Peterson; Kevin and Ann Ponty.
Gladie and Art Rabitz; Harold and Susan Reichstein; Gail and Ron Ritucci; Paige Riveron in honor of Ligia and Carlos Villa; Tom and Amy Rizzi; Mari Lu Robbins in honor of Mark Nigro; Simon Wooley and Leila Rochmann in honor of Lilo Rochmann-Jacob; Dick and Ruth Rosenbaum; Oscar Rosenbloom in honor of Steve Whitehill; Robert and Jeanie Rosette in honor of Raymond Yee; Marion Rubinstein in memory of Paul Hamilton.
Philip and Maxine Sampson in honor of Christopher Sampson; Joe and Anne Sanfilippo in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School; Bob Santos in honor of Andrew Cabatingan; Mr. and Mrs. Douglas L. Sarver; Saalini Savita; Andrea Schacter; Julie Schaer in honor of Robert A. Cameron; Charles and Amy Schulz; Parag and Pallavi Shah in honor of Jayant Shah; Sherri and Mike Shaner; Rod and Lee Shatto in honor of Luke and Jacob Oliver; Theresa Smith; Mr. and Mrs. Terry Snowden; Mr. and Mrs. Donald Stites; Carole and Greg Swan; Elizabeth Szymanowski.
Cindy Tacci in honor of Betty Oddo; Michael Talley; Katina Tang in honor of Eugene Young Tang; Steven Taniguchi in honor of Keith Kingston; Betsy and Mark Templeton; Marjorie Throndson in honor of Kim Throndson; Ray and Grace Tom; Laura Torres; Colleen Tresaden in memory of Etta Tresaden; Karen Trydahl; Kathleen Twomey in honor of Brendan Twomey.
Ayden Van den Berg in honor of Tobie Schweizer; Jeremy Van den Berg in honor of Tobie Schweizer; Georgina Van Horn in honor of Richard Van Horn; Huy Vu.
Matson Wade; Rev and Mrs. Erwin G. Walz; Wangsness Boys; Richard and Aleene Wanter; Jason Warshawsky; Caralee Weich; Harriet Weiss; Christoph Werres; Gloria Kaye Williams; Jack Williams in honor of Saul Mendoza; Tracy Williams in honor of Eddie Ramirez and Nick Williams; Holt and Cindy Wilson in honor of Jack Calloway's 11th birthday; Anne Winter; David Winters; Stephen Wright and Lori Eickmann.
Henry Yee; Loris Zimmerman; Norm and Adrienne Zimmerman; Sally Zurcher.