Give the Plate and Volunteering

On the third Sunday of every month, the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma give the offering to a local non-profit organization that is helping the community.  Below is a tentative schedule of Give the Plate offerings for 2012.

2012 Give the Plate Recipients (tentative)
January: Petaluma People Services Center (ED Elece Hempel spoke this Sunday): Petaluma People Services Center is dedicated to improving the social and economic health of our community by providing programs that strengthen the dignity and self-sufficiency of the individual.Our goal is to reduce poverty, physical and mental abuse, chemical dependence, violence, ignorance, isolation and mental illness, among children, adults, families and seniors. PPSC is comprised of 34 human services programs based on best practice research with measurable outcomes. They are a community of caregivers existing within the larger community whose sole purpose is to help make people’s lives better. They strive to do this one child, one adult, and one senior at a time. Last year they served over 7,000 people through our programs. The hands-on, face-to-face support that individuals receive from PPSC is wide ranging; counseling, job placement, gang prevention, daily hot meals, rides to the doctor, case management, financial assistance for homeless prevention, informational and referrals….People Helping People. PPSC has five significant core service areas:

  • Senior Services – Meals-On-Wheels, Adult Day Care, Case Management, Nutrition Site-Senior Cafe
  • Homeless Prevention and Fair Housing
  • Employment & Training – Adult and Youth
  • Counseling – Individual, Couples & Family, Drug & Alcohol Prevention, Gang Prevention
  • Petaluma Paratransit – Door-to-Door for seniors, physically and mentally challenged individuals

Their agency values DIVERSITY. Whatever your ethnicity, religion, country of origin, language, abilities, sexual orientation, or gender YOU ARE WELCOME at PPSC.

February: Daily Acts: Daily Acts mission is to transform communities through inspired action and education, which builds leadership and local self-reliance. Daily Acts addresses the root issue of behavior change to unleash human potential. ­rough sustainability tours and workshops, sustainability consulting and program development for local governments, and through engaging the media on issues of sustainability, they inspire effective action, strengthen leaders and grow community self-reliance.

“My volunteer work with Daily Acts has largely involved helping with their direct mailings a couple of times a year. This is a fun activity whereby you work along side three or four other volunteers in the Daily Acts office, and get to converse while you’re collating and applying address labels etc. The mailings are centered around fundraising and publicity. They have other volunteer opportunities.” -Camille Jordan

March: Rebuilding Together Petaluma (to highlight before their April event): Rebuilding Together Petaluma is a local non-profit volunteer organization that provides home modification and repair services free of charge to individuals and organizations in our community who are in need of some helping hands.  Homeowners who are low-income, particularly elderly, disabled and/or families with children are eligible for our services. Non-profit organizations may also apply for repairs for their facilities.  Phil Boyle, Berkley Sturgeon, David Dodd, George Beeler.

April: UUP – Pledge month (all proceeds go to support UUP).

May: COTS:  Founded in early 1988, COTS was an expression of Mary Isaak’s and Laure Reichek’s concern for children and adults who were sleeping outdoors in culverts, dumpsters or in other unsafe and unsuitable conditions. Raising money from private donors, enlisting the support of the faith community and fraternal organizations, educating the community and monitoring sleepovers at temporary shelters throughout the city, Reichek and Isaak spearheaded the drive for homeless services in Petaluma.  Copperfield’s Bookstore’s basement, the United Methodist Church, Elim Lutheran Church and a house on Howard Street provided by the City of Petaluma were all early sites for COTS’ homeless shelter.  COTS has helped thousands get back under a roof of their own. COTS provides almost 350 beds every night. Their Petaluma Kitchen serves over 124,000 meals a year and delivers over 750,000 pounds of food annually. Their award-winning programs have helped thousands to rebuild their lives.

“Volunteering with COTS program for parenting classes, taking care of babies and toddlers was a wonderful and fulfilling experience. I learned first-hand about the needs of COTS’ families and witnessed the important work their team is doing for our community. I highly recommend volunteering with them! “ -Kelly Sturgeon

“Ingrid Larnis and I have just begun driving for COTS one Saturday a month, delivering food boxes to low-income families in Petaluma. It feels worthwhile to me and the families are generally appreciative of the food, some meeting us even before we have rung the doorbell.  I have also been doing a weekly route for COTS that involves picking up from a Petaluma Thrift Shop a full car-load (12 plus bags) of adult clothes which they feel are unsuitable for their store and driving them to COTS, partly to provide suitable clothes for COTS people to wear when undertaking a job interview. This takes less than an hour a week but is very rewarding. The COTS residents come streaming out to my car to help and will hardly allow me to carry any of the bags into the building.” -Kay Hardy

“Volunteering to tutor kids at COTS has been an incredibly rewarding and heart-breaking experience.  The relationships I’m cultivating with the family I’m working with are deeply satisfying and the safety net of compassion called COTS that caught this family as they were plunging over the edge of destitution is nothing short of miraculous.  I get to watch miracles every week.” -Stacey Meinzen

June: Petaluma Animal Shelter: Petaluma Animal Shelter is an advocate for all animals.  They provide adoption services, helping people find their lost pets, humane education, fostering pets, and guidance for people with animal-related questions or problems.

July: Petaluma Bounty: Formed in summer 2006 with initial seed funding from the Hub of Petaluma Foundation, Petaluma Bounty is a community-based nonprofit that is helping folks to grow their own healthy food, redistributing surplus food, and providing affordable fresh food to low-income families and seniors.  Their core programs include:  a network of Community Gardens throughout Petaluma to increase food self-sufficiency and strengthen community; Bounty Hunters–a community food gleaning program that collects  fresh, surplus food from backyard gardens, farms and businesses and distributes it to food pantries and senior centers; the Bounty Farm–an educational urban farm growing sustainably farmed food for the community and teaching sustainable agriculture to students, interns and the general public; the Bounty Box Food Club–weekly boxes of organic fruits and vegetables sold at wholesale prices to low-income families (with retail Boxes also available); and, Backyard Bounty–their newest program, that will build your new Victory Garden or expand your existing garden, with pre-built garden boxes and containers, or a custom designed, “permaculture” inspired food forest.

August: Mentor Me Petaluma: Mentor Me Petaluma was founded in 1999 at McNear Elementary School in Petaluma, CA. A group of concerned parents, teachers and community members noticed that some students were “falling through the cracks”. During the same time period, the state of California drastically cut its funding for elementary school counselors, leaving a lack of support and guidance for many students whose life circumstances put them at risk.  After 18 months of research and fundraising our mentoring program was launched in early 2001 with three mentorships the first year.  The program has continued to expand, meeting the needs of more and more Petaluma young people. As of August 2011 they operate Mentor Centers in 14 schools over 3 school districts, serving 250 students.  Mentor Me Petaluma works hand in hand with other local youth-serving organizations, the Petaluma Youth Network, local school districts, service organizations and businesses to provide a safety net for Petaluma youth. Community volunteer mentors are the backbone of Mentor Me Petaluma. They mentor children and youth ages 5-17.

“At first I wasn’t sure my mentoring was having much of an impact on my mentee. Now that our relationship has had time to be nurtured and grow, I realize that the effect has been a powerful experience for both of us. His teacher and his mother say they have seen some big changes for the better in him. I think that sometimes all a kid needs is for someone to listen to him and maybe play a game of catch”. – James Coyne

OR

Petaluma Educational Foundation: In 1982, a group of teachers, business leaders and community activists in Petaluma convened to develop funding solutions for area schools in response to major budget deficits throughout the California school system. The outcome was the creation of the Petaluma Educational Foundation (PEF), a privately funded, non-profit organization whose primary goal is to raise money in the community to benefit the education of all 13,000 students attending Petaluma’s 36 public and not-for-profit private schools, from kindergarten through high school.  In the first 30 years, the foundation has raised and distributed over $4,000,000 to local schools.

“My volunteer work with the Petaluma Educational Foundation during the past 12 years has been fun and rewarding. I have worked  mostly as a retail clerk at Alphabet Soup, which is their store for selling used merchandise. The store is their primary income generator and enables them to give money to both public and private schools in town. These monies are used to buy equipment etc. for which the schools have no budget. One is kept busy in the store and meets lots of interesting customers–there is often time for a brief chat. Volunteers also receive a discount on all merchandise! Schedules are very flexible & they are always in need of retail volunteers.” -Camille Jordan

September: Petaluma Arts Council (To highlight them before the Day of the Dead Month in October): The Petaluma Arts Council began in June 1998, as a grassroots effort to acknowledge and celebrate local artists and their contributions and to involve the whole community in appreciation, involvement and recognition of art as an enriching component of our daily lives.  The mission of the Petaluma Arts Center is to promote awareness, appreciation and expression of the cultural arts for Petaluma and southern Sonoma County.  In September 2008—with the support of the City of Petaluma and a particularly generous donor – the Petaluma Arts Council opened the Arts Center, a 4,500 square foot facility located in the historic Railroad Depot Freight Building, next door to the Petaluma Visitors Center.

“Dia de los Muertos is one of the finest organizations I have ever been involved with.  Great leadership, wonderful volunteers, and fun – we eat, greet and meet.  Highly recommended.  And it all takes place in October so it’s over.  Ask me if you want to join up.” -Dick Allen

October: The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a religious organization that combines two traditions: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. They consolidated into the UUA in 1961.  Both groups trace their roots in North America to the early Massachusetts settlers and to the founders of the Republic. Overseas, their heritages reach back centuries to pioneers in England, Poland, and Transylvania. Each of the 1,041 congregations in the United States, Canada, and overseas are democratic in polity and operation; they govern themselves. They unite in the Association to provide services that individual congregations cannot provide for themselves. Each congregation is associated with one of the UUA’s 19 districts.  The primary purpose of the Association is to serve the needs of its member congregations, organize new congregations, extend and strengthen Unitarian Universalist institutions and implement its principles. The UUA is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of District Trustees selected by the various districts and at-large Trustees, who are elected by delegates to the General Assembly. The General Assembly is the annual business meeting of the denomination, held in various parts of the continent. The Board of Trustees meets four times each year, three times in Boston and once at the General Assembly.  An elected moderator presides at the General Assembly and at meetings of the Board of Trustees, and represents the Association on special occasions. A financial advisor, elected by the General Assembly, also sits on the Board. An elected president, an appointed executive vice president, a treasurer, and ten others form the leadership council, manage the day-to-day business of the Association.

November: The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. We envision a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights.  Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties, and preserves the rights of people in times of humanitarian crisis.  UUSC also engages local communities through their service-learning program, JustWorks, which introduces participants to the work of their domestic and overseas partners — who are often on the front lines of addressing social-justice issues.  UUSC’s work is built on the conviction that all people are entitled to basic human rights, which transcend divisions of class, race, nationality, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and gender.

December: Petaluma Kitchen: In this community kitchen located at 900 Hopper Street in Petaluma, COTS provides a nutritious meal each day to homeless and at-risk families and individuals. The volunteers and staff at the Kitchen serve more than 125,000 meals per year.  Petaluma Kitchen hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week.  long list – see below.

“Delivering boxes of food once a month is the least we can do. Gerry and I do it together, and that makes it much faster and more fun. Our lives can get so busy, and we get so self absorbed, its easy to say “I can’t”… but really it’s a small inconvenience, and it helps Petaluma Kitchen get it’s job done. And it’s an important job! We can take an hour to help a worthy organization. If it were not for the volunteers, the food delivery program simply would not exist.” -Cindy Wood

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Other great local causes:

“I cannot recommend highly enough giving good things you don’t need directly to someone who needs it.  Personally, I gather bikes people can part with, fix them up and give them to the Latino men standing on the corners hoping for work.  They so appreciate both the gift – riding sure beats walking – but also being noticed, spoken to, smiled with by someone who shows some care for them.  It’s a great feeling to receive so much appreciation – and it costs nothing but a little time.” -Dick Allen

Petaluma Hospice: Rooted in community, Hospice of Petaluma has been providing quality, compassionate hospice care and grief services to individuals and families facing life-threatening illness or the death of a loved one since 1977. Hospice of Petaluma and their sister program, Memorial Hospice, are a service of the St. Joseph Health System, a Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. Patients and families receive interdisciplinary patient care with individualized attention to nursing, psychosocial, spiritual and practical needs that may arise at the end of life. Hospice services are provided by professional staff and specially trained caregiver and grief support volunteers. Volunteer trainings are held in the spring and fall with both daytime and evening classes.

“My volunteer work at Petaluma Hospice is very fulfilling, having done death vigils, and bereavement support to those who have lost loved ones. There are also opportunities to work with hospice patients directly, frequently in their homes and sometimes in care facilities. In the latter work you are there as a friend and good listener–there are no direct ” patient  physical care ” duties. Here, too, schedules have some flexibility. In bereavement work you meet with the client once a week for  eight weeks. Patient work can be brief or last for six months ( sometimes longer). Again, you meet with the patient once a week and you arrange a mutually agreed upon time which can vary from week to week.”
-Camille Jordan

“My other volunteer jobs are shelving books weekly at the Petaluma Library and working one afternoon a week in the office at the Petaluma Museum. The most fun I’ve had there was emptying over 100 gunny sacks of styrofoam pellets. These had been used for “sand bags” in the Vietnam exhibit and outsiders were amazed to see me heft the sandbags and empty them.”
-Kay Hardy

Petaluma Latinos Active in Civic Engagement (PLACE): Petaluma Latinos Active in Civic Engagement or PLACE is Petaluma’s first nonprofit organization devoted entirely to Latino issues. The group’s mission is to promote civic and social engagement of Latinos in the community.  After hitting an impasse more than five years ago, a group of residents has revived the idea of building a day labor center in Petaluma, a place where workers could access basic health services, take English classes or learn skills that would keep them safe on the job.

Past Years Recipients

2011
COTS
Faithful Fools
Mentor Me Petaluma
Petaluma Animal Shelter
Petaluma Bounty
Petaluma Kitchen/COTS
Rebuilding Together Petaluma
UUA
UUSC

2010
COTS
Daily Acts
Haiti (hurricaine relief)
Hospice of Petaluma
Petaluma Kitchen
UUA
UUSC

2009
Petaluma Educational Foundation
Petaluma Wetlands Alliance
Petaluma Kitchen
Petaluma People Services Center
Petaluma Educational Foundation
Petaluma Kitchen
COTS
Redwood Empire Food Bank
UUA
UUSC

UUP Volunteers for Local Orgs:

COTS / Petaluma Kitchen
Ellen Beeler
Jodi Boyle
Harriet Coyne
James Coyne
David Gardner
Janice Hardy
Kay Hardy
Ingrid Larnis
Stacey Meinzen
Diana Spaulding
Kelly Sturgeon
Joyce Tischler
Cindy Woods

Daily Acts
Ellen Beeler
George Beeler
Camille Jordan
Stacey Meinzen

Hospice of Petaluma
Jean Conrad
Camille Jordan

Mentor Me Petaluma
George Beeler
Harriet Coyne
James Coyne

Petaluma Bounty
George Beeler

Petaluma Community Access
Amy West

Petaluma Educational Foundation
Camille Jordan

Petaluma Library
Kay Hardy

Petaluma Museum
Kay Hardy

Petaluma People Services
Rabia Hunter

Rebuilding Together Petaluma
Phil Boyle
David Dodd
Berkley Sturgeon

San Antonio High School Teen Parents Support Network
Carol West

Shollenberger Park Docents
Ingrid Larnis

Sonoma County Bar Association.
David Gardner

Sonoma County Conservation Alliance
Nancy Blake
Tony Blake

American Philharmonic, Sonoma County
Tony Blake

Surfrider Foundation
Greg Bard

Wings of Glory
Ingrid Larnis

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