Helping Our Heroes Campaign
As we navigate these challenging times, more and more we are taking to heart Cooperative Principle Seven, “Concern for Community.” Paying it forward with kindness and respect can go a long way in someone’s day and brings a little light into our world. That’s why we want to honor and help our local heroes – those folks working tirelessly on the frontlines during COVID-19.
Every week, the Co-op will donate food and supplies to members of our community who are going the extra mile, working every day despite shelter in place orders. Like our BriarPatch employees, these folks bring much-needed comfort to others in trying times. They are keeping neighborhoods safe, gathering news and information we need, distributing food, providing transportation and shelter and medical care. We are grateful for these heroes and ask you to join us in recognizing them!
We’d love to hear more about all the good happening in our community. Please send us your stories or suggestions for local heroes who deserve a little comfort in return, by emailing: email@example.com
The Co-op Marketing Team
September 23, 2020
BriarPatch gives thanks to local first responders from Dr. Lace’s office
The BriarPatch Support Team is grateful to share the same building with many of our local first responders in the medical community. Last week, we recognized the team from Dr. John Lace, MD’s office. Dr. Lace took some time for a little Q & A.
Can you tell me how long you have been a BriarPatch Owner? Co-op supporter?
I have been a BriarPatch Owner since 1999 when I moved here. I have been a member of co-ops everywhere I have lived dating back to college in 1978.
Why is this important to you?
I am passionate about making sure that healthy food and other products are available to me and to members of my community.
Can you briefly describe your practice and what services you provide to the community?
I am the only Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Medicine physician in our small community. I am the Medical Director of Critical Care and Respiratory Care at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and also the Medical Director of Sierra Sleep Diagnostics Sleep Laboratory here in Grass Valley. I have a busy solo office medical practice and am active in patient care at the hospital as well.
How are things going for you and your staff right now in light of the pandemic? How have you changed the way you help your patients?
The pandemic has been a challenge for me in particular and the practice of medicine in general. Our hospital has created an effective response paradigm for the pandemic, and we have instituted effective infection control practices that have minimized the risk of COVID-19 incidence in our community, and best treatment practices for the small number of COVID-19 patients we have encountered. My office converted rapidly to provide telemedicine services to the majority of my patients, and we are seeing a few new patients in person each day, with rigorous infection prevention practices. We are hopeful that faithful adherence to sound infection prevention practices will reduce the scope and duration of the pandemic.
I am also proud of how the Briar Patch has responded and have previously written a letter in support of Chris Maher’s efforts.
Thank you for lunch and the opportunity to give you this information. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.
September 21, 2020
Recognizing our local firefighter heroes
Last week, in recognition of all their hard work keeping Californians safe, BriarPatch donated a pallet of Proud Source Water to seven local fire stations.
The fire departments are part of Grass Valley Fire Department, Nevada City Fire Department and Nevada County Consolidated Fire Department.
We’re so grateful to these folks who worked with CalFire and other fire personnel from California to help protect lives and property during the Jones Fire!
“They did a great job of holding fire at Jones Bar. It was such a great coordinated operation,” said Battalion Chief Gary Dunne of Grass Valley Fire Department.
But these local heroes don’t stop there.
“We send a lot of people out of the county,” said Dunne. Firefighters from Nevada County have returned safely from battling blazes across the state such as the Creek Fire (278,368 Acres), Sequoia Complex Fire (137,508 acres) and nearby North Complex Fire (293,843 Acres). The ones who stay behind work extra shifts to keep us safe at home.
“We just got everyone home and rested. This is one of the busiest seasons ever,” said Dunne.
2020 is a record breaker of his career in terms of the number of fires, the number of acres burned, the number of big fires and the length of time it takes to put the fires out. October is still to come.
“This will continue until we get a solid rain,” said Dunne.
Do you want to help and support our firefighters?
“The best way to help is to have defensible space and to be safe and prepared,” said Dunne.
September 17, 2020
Q & A with Executive Director of Hospice of the Foothills
This week, we caught up with our Community Heroes from Hospice of the Foothills. We provided breakfast for staff and donated $500 to the organization for their upcoming fundraising event, Moonlight Magic. Executive Director Viv Tipton took time out of her busy day to share with us an update about this important non-profit organization.
Briefly describe what your organization does and who you serve.
Hospice of the Foothills provides compassionate end of life care to patients, their families and our community. We do this through a multidisciplinary approach to whole-person care. This is done with a team that includes an MD, a Nurse practitioner, RNs, Social Workers, chaplains, health aids and a variety of volunteers. A person is eligible for Hospice care when they are no longer seeking curative care and they are believed to be in the last six months of their life. We help normalize the death process and help families find peace and live their lives fully ( whatever that means to them) to their last day. What I love most about this care is it is unique to each patient and family and their journey. A big part of our care is family-focused – Hospice care lasts well after our patients have passed and we provide bereavement support to the families for over a year after the patient has passed. We offer our bereavement services to the community regardless of whether their loved one was on our service or not.
It’s been a challenging year with Covid, Wildfires and PSPS events. How are these things impacting Hospice?
Wow-what a question. 😊 From the COVID-19 perspective procuring PPE which was rarely necessary prior to this virus has been a challenge. The costs have skyrocketed and the quantities needed to keep our families and our staff have increased exponentially. With the wildfires and the PSPS issues- the challenge lies in the fact that our patients are typically in their homes, and extremely physically fragile, this means often times they are oxygen-dependent and even bed-bound, this makes evacuations tricky and power ever so essential. For us, that means constant monitoring of patient needs, outage mapping and projecting needs that may occur.
Donations are always helpful when we are purchasing extra oxygen, or PPE, or as happened during the jones fire paying for a patient to be transported safely to be with family in Lincoln. Donations allow us to say yes when those unique needs arise.
How the community can support us is by shopping in our thrift stores, and it sounds trite but, by being kind to each other as we navigate this challenging time. Our staff is primarily met with gratitude from the community however in the stores, staff and volunteers are sometimes met with hostility regarding the precautions we are taking to keep our community safe. We believe here at HOF that each and every kind interaction with others plays a role. So to steal a line, a little Peace, love and understanding goes so far and ends up helping us all.
Anything that you would like to share or add?
The importance for all of us to have those tough conversations and thoughts around our end of life desires. Advanced care planning is so important and it always starts first with a conversation and some reflective thought.
September 15, 2020
Outpouring of community donations given to Food Bank of Nevada County
September 9, 2020
Q & A with Fire Safe Council Executive Director Jamie Jones
The site is part of the Ponderosa West shaded fuel break project. Under moderate weather conditions, a shaded fuel break provides easy access and a good line of defense for firefighters, in addition to slowing an advancing fire and reducing fire intensity. This project is just over 1200 acres in size. We are currently at 60% completion. This has been achieved by several methods, including mechanical treatment, but primarily the work has been hand cut and chip. This method has allowed us to protect the valuable resources, wildlife habitat and endangered species within the project boundaries. Today we have a crew of 10, comprised of supervisors, sawyers, and chippers. Many days you will also find a biologist and forester on site too. This crew is a paid crew, however amongst our resources, we are very fortunate to have an army of volunteers that work in many of our other education programs.
How many homeowners have you helped become fire safe this year?
The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County offers a variety of services to help homeowners prepare for wildfire, such as the project site you visited today. Each participating property owner has directly benefitted from the improved resistance to wildfire. A project of this magnitude may also help an unknown number of property and business owners in the areas surrounding the treated acreage.
In addition to the homes included in Ponderosa West, we have provided residential and roadside chipping services to more than 500 homes per year. We ask only a donation of $75 per hour, which is a fraction of what it would cost to hire a commercial provider with a four-person crew and provides an easy way to treat green waste generated by residents as they clear defensible space around their homes. This service is offered to renters, as well.
Our Green Waste Collection event, partially funded by the Nevada County OES and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District, took in over 10,000 loads of green waste that would otherwise have to be burned, brought to the transfer station, or masticated by the property owners.
Our volunteer advisors conducted over 1,200 defensible space advisory visits in 2019, helping the residents identify areas of vulnerability to wildfire and come up with a plan to improve their home’s ability to survive a fire. COVID-19 has slowed us down some this year, but we’re finding ways to adapt, and the program is regaining momentum.
The Fire Safe Council also helps organized communities to obtain recognition as a Firewise USA Community, and there are currently 47 of these communities in good standing, covering about 98,000 acres and 33,000 parcels. This recognition can help owners to insure their property or get discounts on their rates.
Finally, we offer free clearing of defensible space through our Access and Functional Needs program, when funded by grants. This service is provided for elderly and disabled individuals who qualify based on income level. This program just came back online, and we anticipate serving many homes.
Has this need grown?
Most definitely this need has grown. The total acres burned by wildfire in California have grown exponentially over the last few decades. Fire season has lasted longer, droughts have left us with more dangerous fuel loads, and fires have grown larger and more difficult for fire agencies to fight. From the homeowner perspective, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain, or retain, fire insurance. Managing fuels reduction projects and providing residents of Nevada County with services and education to prepare them for wildfire, has never been more important than it is today.
Can you keep up with the demand?
There is never an end to demand for wildfire preparedness services. But yes, our organization has grown to accommodate much of what we are trying to accomplish.
Wildfire season is here. Is Nevada County ready? What can folks do at this point to prepare?
Nevada County did a great job of improving upon their defensible space, if the participation in our Green Waste Collection event is any indication. The most important thing residents can do today is to register for CodeRED alerts and identify at least two evacuation routes. Next, prepare a Go Bag using the list available on our website. The next thing is to request a free defensible space advisory visit and start working on the first 100’ around your home. We can help you with chipping, if needed.
What services do you provide the community that you want more folks to be aware of?
We are surprised that so few people know about defensible space advisory visits. It is a great way to ensure your property is compliant with County code on a voluntary basis, rather than waiting to get bad news from an official inspection.
Learn more here
August 31, 202o
“We touch and save lives every day”
Last week, BriarPatch brought a picnic lunch to the people from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation to show our appreciation for all they do for our community. It turned into a fun social distancing reunion for all their staff who work remotely.
We caught up with Executive Director Kimberly Parker for a little Q & A.
Can you give us a brief description of the foundation and how you serve the community?
Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMHF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves as a bridge between Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and the community of western Nevada County. SNMHF utilizes philanthropy to ensure exceptional services, programs, equipment, and technology are available at our local Hospital and throughout our community today and for future generations.
SNMHF Mission: We touch and save lives every day by helping Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital deliver superior healthcare through outreach programs, education, state-of-the-art technology and facilities by means of philanthropy and volunteerism.
How have you all been affected by COVID?
COVID-19 has provided SNMHF with a unique opportunity to pivot our fundraising efforts from in-person and event-driven to a primarily digital format. Staff and board members are in contact with donors and residents by phone and Zoom to check in on them during COVID-19 and the recent fires. While the change was unexpected, it has given us a chance to test our ability to adapt as a nonprofit organization. Beginning in February, SNMHF became a primary drop off site for masks, and scrub caps being made by the hundreds for our hospital and local healthcare professionals. Now, more than ever, our Hospital plays a vital role in keeping our community safe, whether we are faced with a global pandemic or the threat of wildfires. With this in mind, SNMHF has increased communications using technology applications and local media to stay in touch and ease feelings of uneasiness within the community. In March, SNMHF was approached to become the fiscal sponsor of the Nevada County Relief Fund and more recently the Wildlife Relief Fund. Since then, over $425,000 has been released back into the community to frontline nonprofits and small businesses.
Our primary focus continues to be fundraising for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. Current emphasis has been given to the essential needs during COVID-19, but we have not lost sight of other health priorities. SNMHF recently completed fundraising for three pieces of equipment for the Family Birth Center and a new mammography unit for the Women’s Imaging Center. We also continue to focus on our own programs which include our Alzheimer’s Outreach program, Read Me A Story program, Social Outreach Program for depression screenings, Falls Prevention program, Comfort Cuisine for cancer patients, wellness classes, and more.
What message do you want to share with the community?
As the source for philanthropy, community outreach and education for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH), we want our community to know that the success of a hospital relies on a strong partnership with its community. SNMH is YOUR community hospital. Thanks to the support of BriarPatch Food Co-op and others in our community, the Hospital Foundation provided over $1.6 million back to the hospital last year for critical hospital needs. Community donations helped to build a nationally accredited Cancer Center in the 1990s, a state-of-the-art Women’s Imaging Center which opened in 2006, a comfortable and calming Infusion Center that opened in 2019, and a re-imagined Emergency Department in 2020. Your generosity is part of the reason SNMH can continue to provide exceptional care while receiving high marks in patient satisfaction from national organizations such as Leapfrog and Healthgrades.
How can the community support you, get involved or learn more?
Support from our community is crucial to our success. Individuals and businesses can help further our mission of helping our Hospital deliver superior healthcare through a variety of options that include: a straight donation, volunteering for SNMHF or our Hospital Auxiliary, donating a vehicle, including SNMHF in your estate plan or will, honoring someone special with a tribute or memorial gift, becoming a Community Business Partner, or joining us as a Red Rose Society supporter (donors giving $1,000+). For information, visit www.supportsierranevada.org or give us a call at (530) 477-9700.
“Keep pushing forward!”
August 19, 2020
We are so grateful to our firefighters and all the folks working round the clock to keep our community safe and informed during the Jones Fire! A special thanks to our firefighters, local law enforcement, County Office of Emergency Services and local media during this scary time.
BriarPatch helps distribute food on San Juan Ridge
Q & A with Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake
On July 21, BriarPatch delivered lunch to staff members of Nevada County Public Health, recognizing the team for helping to keep our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health Director Jill Blake took the time to give us an update on the state of things in her department and the community that she serves, Nevada County.
Every single person from our department is doing more than one job – holding down their regular job as well as doing something entirely different as part of our response to this pandemic and in our effort to protect the health and safety of the community we love and hold dear. Everyone is juggling multiple responsibilities, mostly without complaint, and working extraordinary hours, and often seven days per week. In my opinion, they are the epitome of the dedicated public servant.
How has the pandemic impacted what you do? How many folks are working remotely, from home, social distancing in the office, etc.? How is everyone holding up?
Some people work remotely because they are at higher risk of serious illness if they contracted COVID-19, others because their kids are home from school, and others work remotely in order to limit exposures to one another. There is, however, a core team that work in the office, all day, every day, because we need to be able to quickly huddle and coordinate and share information, and others are here because they are still providing direct services while also supporting our COVID response efforts. The film Groundhog Day gets referenced a lot. But as the voices of community support start to drown out the voices of those who do not support our work, we are more and more bolstered to carry out our core mission to protect the community’s health.
What information do you provide the community?
Because there is such a demand for information and that demand quickly exceeded our capacity, we work closely with the County’s PIO team. Together we developed the www.mynevadacoutny.com/coronavirus webpage that we work to keep updated with relevant information for community members and local businesses. It gets so information heavy that we’ve had to revise it multiple times to make it more user-friendly. We provide a daily update on our case count, the demographics of those cases, and the mode of transmission. We also work with the PIO team to produce videos and PSAs on timely subjects, and we provide a COVID-19 update at every Board of Supervisors meeting. We also present at multiple community meetings and we have staff dedicated to responding to the many, many emails and voicemails we receive every day.
How often is this updated?
The webpage is updated daily, Monday-Friday.
What is the data telling us now?
We’re seeing more young people infected than we did a few months ago, and while they may not get as sick as older adults, they can infect others who can become seriously ill. We have emphasized that many of our recent cases of COVID-19 are due to social gatherings and the mixing of households where people did not take basic precautions, but that is the only source of new infections or the only scenario that poses risks for infection. We also have numerous workplace exposures and transmission (e.g., construction sites, bars, restaurants, health care settings) as well as transmission at other places where people gather (e.g., places of worship), travel-related cases, and we also have numerous cases with a still unknown mode of transmission.
What is the best thing people can do to stay safe?
Don’t mix households, be aware that there is no risk-free environment, and that precautions, including face coverings, social distancing, and frequent handwashing should be consistent no matter where you are. In addition, people should engage in self-care, eat well, exercise and get rest to keep their immune systems strong. Lastly, we hope that people will choose to patronize businesses that have made changes and worked to create environments that are safer for both their employees and their customers.
How can the community support you?
Take care of yourselves, take the basic precautions we regularly recommend, be kind to one another, do simple things to support and protect others even if you can’t see the immediate benefit, be patient, be aware that progress will be gradual, and stay well-informed using trusted sources for science- and fact-based information.
July 19, 2020
Yubadocs Urgent Care Clinic recognized for commitment to public health during pandemic
BriarPatch delivered lunch to Dr. Hicks and his AMAZING medical staff at Yubadocs Urgent Care in Grass Valley this week, recognizing them for their commitment to community health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Hicks has been serving the community for over 18 years and is a regular contributor to The Union. He’s written some informative articles during the pandemic including a great editorial that helps demystify testing.
You can read it here: https://www.theunion.com/…/dr-roger-hicks-whats-the-story-…/
Yubadocs offers curbside testing along with all of your traditional urgent care needs at the clinic. You can even book a telemedicine visit if you would rather talk with medical staff from home.
Let’s hear it for these rock stars!!! 🎸🤩
Learn more https://www.yubadocs.com/
July 10, 2020
Hospitality House works 24/7 to help the local homeless community during COVID-19
On Friday, community members wearing masks picked up one-of-a-kind ceramic bowls made by local artists and donated to a raffle in support of Hospitality House Community Shelter. Volunteers from the BriarPatch Marketing team pitched in to lend a hand during the fundraiser, Empty Bowl 2020.
The annual event, an important funding stream supporting programs for people facing houselessness in our community, looks much different this year. But that’s not the only thing impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve shifted from a single overnight shelter into a 24/7 operation at multiple locations,” said Ashley Quadros, Development Director.
As staff work round the clock to keep people and small children well cared for and safe, Hospitality House’s expenses have rapidly increased. They support an average of 85 people per day at Utah’s Place and at six motels in partnership with the County of Nevada and FREED Center for Independent Living.
The nonprofit provides three meals a day, mental health counseling, job training and customized case management and continues to help people move into homes. Three months after the pandemic started, the group celebrated 27 people returning to housing.
Volunteers continue to help how they can. Food acquisition, preparation and distribution have now become predominately a staff function with the added challenge of serving multiple sites while also responding to an increased need to safely transport people to medical appointments and to help people on the streets.
“While we continue to stand strong and move forward, this shift has not been without its challenges. We’ve had to temporarily suspend almost all volunteerism to reduce exposure and to comply with Public Health directives. Our volunteers are the backbone of our operation, as we rely on our 300-volunteer workforce to supply donated food and help to prepare evening meals at Utah’s Place,” said Quadros.
Donations are always needed. Learn how you can help here: https://hhshelter.org/giving/donate-food-clothes-or-other-items/
June 17, 2020
So many opportunities to lend a hand
On Thursday, the crew from the Co-op’s Marketing Department helped out with drive-thru food distribution at Seventh Day Adventist Church organized by Food Bank of Nevada County.
Since the COVID-19 shelter-in-place-orders were issued in March, needs for food have quadrupled at the Food Bank, organizers say.
“We are still seeing a high number of families come through our line each week. We are averaging about 1900 individuals served at our Grass Valley Location, 600 individuals in Truckee and about 600 people being feed in North San Juan,” said Executive Director Nicole McNeely.
This summer, the Food Bank will distribute free lunches to children at area libraries and apartment complexes. A new partnership with FREED Center for Independent Living will provide assistance with food packing and grocery deliver to people with disabilities and seniors who need to shelter-in place.
Monetary donations and volunteers are always needed. Lightweight face masks for summer are also needed.
“We have so many opportunities for folks to lend a hand – – drivers, packers & distribution helpers.”
You can become a volunteer through the PatchWorks program. Learn more: https://www.briarpatch.coop/community/volunteer/
June 12, 2020
BriarPatch donates $8,000 to Nevada County Relief Fund in effort to support local nonprofits
The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between the County of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMH Foundation), Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), and the Sierra Business Council (SBC) in consultation with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNL) and the Economic Resource Council (ERC).
The BriarPatch donation represented a portion of the Co-op’s profits earned in mid-March, a time when customers filled their shopping baskets at unprecedented levels in response to news of the pandemic and the looming shelter-in-place order.
“We operate under a set of cooperative principles that guide us to support our local community, especially in times of need,” said Andrea Echegaray BriarPatch Finance Manager. “So, it made sense for us to contribute to this important county-wide effort.”
BriarPatch has a long history of supporting local nonprofit groups through programs like the Co-op CAUSE (a campaign that allows shoppers to round up at the register for local nonprofits) and Patchworks (mobilizing customers to volunteer for local nonprofits). In 2019, shoppers donated $65,531 from the CAUSE program and BriarPatch donated an additional $167,554 to the community, which represented more than 10 percent of the store’s total operating profit.
To date, the Nevada County Relief Fund has raised $331,000 and distributed $210,000 in small micro-grants to eight safety net nonprofits and 28 small businesses.
“We’re just touched to be part of the first round,” said Naomi Cabral, Development Director for Interfaith Food Ministry, a group that improves food security for the region’s most vulnerable residents.
The Relief Fund received 175 applications from small businesses for its micro-grants of up to $5,000 each, and nearly two dozen applications for the “safety-net” grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 each. The combined requests totaled over $1,175,000, nearly six times more than the Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council had available to award. Applications will open for the next round in the coming week.
Last week, Nevada County saw a 30 percent increase in COVID-19 confirmed case count and neighboring counties are seeing sharp increases as well. Despite the uptick in cases, Nevada County is now entering Stage 3 of re-opening, and a sense of optimism is emerging. But it remains to be seen what long-term impacts Covid-19 will have on the local economy.
“Yes, it is certainly good to see doors opening, but there is still a tremendous financial impact. We won’t go from being completely shut down to fully at capacity for months, perhaps even a year. It is important for our community to both be safe and take care of each other. It’s a complete ecosystem. As long as we focus on solidarity, we’ll come out stronger,” said Cristine Kelly, Chair of Marketing and Communications for Nevada County Relief Fund.
June 8, 2020
BriarPatch donates organic apples to Emily’s Catering & Cakes Free Friday Lunch Program
“We’re hooking everyone up. There’s a need. It’s so touching to give back”
Last week, BriarPatch Food Co-op donated 125 organic Fuji apples to the Free Lunch Fridays program, a drive-thru service hosted by Emily’s Catering & Cakes.
For years, the husband and wife team had provided lunches to Yuba River Charter School as a passion project, Earlier this year, the couple decided to let go of their contract with the school in order to focus on weekend events like weddings. Then COVID-19 hit.
“John’s first thought was, ‘what about the kids?,’ said Emily.
They did the math and could afford to donate $1,200 to provide simple bag lunches for local families. Soon, when the community caught wind of the project, donations began pouring in. This funding helped to take the lunches to the next level – from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to bean, rice and chicken burritos. Community contributions also helped keep the program going through the end of the school year.
“We didn’t expect anything. People have really stepped up,” said Emily.
What’s next? With the future still uncertain for events, Emily is talking with folks like Ana Acton from FREED – Center for Independent Living to participate in Great Plates Delivered – a program funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to bring meals to homebound seniors while supporting restaurants and food providers during the pandemic.
In addition to the lunches for kids, Emily’s Catering has a Cookies for a Cause program that each month raises money for local nonprofits and organizations in need, like Center for the Arts and Off Broad Street Theatre.
Week by week, Emily and John are gauging the need for the lunch program and for now plan to keep the lunches going through June.
“We’re getting calls from people who are so thankful for these meals. People really do appreciate them.”
Learn more about Emily’s Catering: https://emilyscateringandcakes.wordpress.com/
May 20, 2020
BriarPatch recognizes FREED staff and volunteers as local heroes
Months ago, when the Governor set the shelter in place order, the staff and volunteers of FREED Center for Independent Living quickly saw a dire need arise in the most at-risk sector of the community.
“We basically realized there was a gap in services for home deliveries,” said Executive Director Ana Acton. FREED’s Mission is to eliminate barriers to full equality for aging populations and people with disabilities through programs which promote independent living, while honoring dignity and self–determination.
On Tuesday, BriarPatch donated 20 gift cards to FREED volunteers, acknowledging them for their hard work packing and distributing groceries to homebound people considered at risk of COVID-19 throughout Western Nevada County.
Half of FREED’s staff are considered at-risk. Volunteers have stepped up working harder than ever to keep up with client’s basic needs for food, shelter and independence. Almost all of FREED clients qualify for food assistance.
When the shelter in place order was issued, a program was quickly set up to bring weekly groceries to 60-70 homebound seniors, people with disabilities and younger populations with underlying health conditions. Now FREED is partnering with The County of Nevada, 211-Connecting Point, Gold Country Community Services, Food Bank of Nevada County, Interfaith Food Ministry and others to meet the need for grocery delivery.
This will allow FREED to focus on other needs like mental health support and rental assistance to prevent eviction and homelessness. Another big issue uncovered by the pandemic is the need for resources that will help homebound folks bridge the digital divide like access to broadband or tech assistance. With wildfire season right around the corner, the agency is also preparing for another PSPS event and looking for volunteers to help deploy solar setups and batteries to individuals for charging power wheelchairs, oxygen and CPAP machines.
Ana continues to advocate at the state level and is concerned that proposed state budget cuts to independent living centers like FREED will negatively impact her organization next year.
“This is going to be an ongoing situation for people at risk, like me,” said Ana.
Volunteers and donations are always a good way to help. Learn more at https://freed.org/
BriarPatch donates $1,000 of organic produce to Food Bank of Nevada County
On Monday, Food Bank of Nevada County arrived at BriarPatch to pick up a donation of 39 cases of organic produce valued at $1,000 for food distribution in North San Juan, Grass Valley and to homebound seniors and people with disabilities.
“The love is getting spread and shared,” said Nicole McNeely, Executive Director of The Food Bank of Nevada County.
On Tuesday, the Food Bank teamed up with county employees to distribute food to as many as 1000 individuals in North San Juan. The BriarPatch donation helps supplement groceries for folks living in rural “Ridge” and outlying communities such as Penn Valley, Pike, Alleghany, French Corral, Camptonville and Sierra City. Normally this time of year, the Food Bank distributes to 400-600 individuals at that location.
“There is a huge need up there. There are a lot of seniors and people who don’t have good running vehicles to get to town,” said McNeely.
The donation included slicing cucumbers, mini seedless watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, Valencia oranges, Fuji apples, celery, yellow onions, cauliflower and zucchini.
“They haven’t been getting enough produce. This will be perfect for them,” said Facilities Manager Bob Dion.
Food donations like this are important right now.
The Food Bank can no longer take donations from individuals because of the risks of contamination. Other resources, like a postal food drive that typically brings in 15,000 pounds of food, has been postponed. Meanwhile, the community’s need for assistance is at an all-time high. For the past two months, the Food Bank has been feeding an average of 2,000 people a week. Before the pandemic, they were feeding 2,000 people per month.
“It’s quadrupled,” said Rita Dolphin, Volunteer Coordinator. Many of the people receiving food are “first-timers” to the Food Bank. The Food Bank distributes to communities like Grass Valley, North San Juan and the Little Town of Washington.
The Food Bank is working with FREED Center for Independent Living to make deliveries to individuals in high-risk groups like elderly clients and people with disabilities who are homebound and sheltering in place during the pandemic.
“We have so many clients who need delivery right now,” said McNeely.
Last week, BriarPatch donated store gift cards to the volunteers who are working hard to keep up with those numbers.
“I think they are getting tired. It’s a huge ask,” said McNeely. The Food Bank is starting to see a shortage of volunteers and is in need of more help for grocery packing, its regular distribution days in Grass Valley, drivers for homebound clients and its summer lunch program for children.
“We all have to work together to get through this,” said McNeely.
Become a volunteer. BriarPatch owners who volunteer through the Co-op’s PatchWorks volunteer program receive 15% off a shopping trip for volunteering six hours of time per month.
May 14, 2020
We think local journalists are community heroes!
Volunteer Broadcaster Joyce Miller had a 20 year career in newspapers including 9 as an editor for the LA Times. Joyce has been filing in-depth reports and interviews on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, covering the economic impacts and state orders and recovery plans during this time.
KVMR’s Keith Porter was already doing stellar interviews for the public affairs program Sages Among Us and is on KVMR’s Emergency response team. During COVID-19, Keith’s beat is the impacts on local non-profits during this crisis.
Claudio Mendonca has produced interviews and new features for KVMR as well as engineering the popular program Higher Frequency on KVMR. Claudio covered mental health and homelessness during the COVID-19.
Steve Baker has been “the voice” of KVMR during every emergency for the last 22 years as KVMR’s Program Director. In June, Steve is moving into a new position as KVMR’s news host and reporter.
Charlotte Peterson is a regular member of the KVMR evening news team with Paul Emery and Felton Pruitt, but during the pandemic she stepped up to be the headline reporter covering Education issues during COVID-19.
General Manager Ali Lightfoot has a 10 year background in radio journalism as a host and reporter. Ali has covered healthcare during the pandemic, conducting regular interviews with Dr Brian Evans, CEO of Sierra Nevada Memorial.
Check out this video with The Union Newspaper’s Editor Brian Hamilton as he shares his story of what it’s been like to work remotely for several months during the pandemic, continuing to cover the stories that matter to the community while faced with the challenge of slow WIFI and declining funding streams.
This week, we donated gift cards to volunteers of Food Bank of Nevada County in honor of local journalists from The Union, YubaNet, KVMR 89.5FM & 105.1FM and KNCO Newstalk 830. We appreciate you!!! Keep up the good work.
We ask the community to support these news sources with membership and subscriptions. Are you a Co-op Owner? You can get a discount on a one-year subscription to The Union! See how at the end of this video.
May 12, 2020
Volunteers are working so hard and deserve recognition
Reporters asked that we donate to a local cause and the volunteers feeding our community deserve a treat! They are all community heroes in our book!
It’s been a hard pull for the 44 volunteers at the Food Bank who have been packing an average of 2,000 bags of groceries every week. They are feeding quadruple the number of people they were before the Coronavirus hit Nevada County.
“I think they are getting tired. It’s a huge ask,” said Nicole McNeely, Executive Director for the Food Bank of Nevada County. “I feel so grateful for these gift cards. I know the volunteers are working so hard and deserve recognition.”
May 7, 2020
BriarPatch donates to county employees helping those impacted by COVID-19
Since the pandemic hit, most of the 90 employees in the county’s Social Services Department have transitioned to teleworking, while caseloads are growing.
“The past couple of months we have seen applications for most programs significantly increase. We anticipate significant caseload increases particularly with Medi-Cal and Cal Fresh. Projections show our Medi-Cal caseloads rising from about 13,000 to 16,000 and Cal Fresh caseload increasing from about 5,000 to 6,500,” said Tamaran Cook, Nevada County Eligibility and Employment Program Manager and Public Guardian.
Social Services handles Eligibility and Employment Services, Veterans Services, Housing, Child Support Services, Child Welfare and Adult Services.
“We want the community to get the benefits and support that they need as soon as possible,” said Cook.
People seeking assistance are a mix of those who have lost their jobs and others who have seen their hours reduced because of the Coronavirus. Accessing food and food benefits are the biggest need county staff are seeing in the programs that they administer.
Tamaran says it is too early to know the full impacts and she remains hopeful.
“I think we are months out from seeing how this may permanently affect the market... Our community is amazing, and I continue to see individuals and organizations pull together to provide support.”
Folks who have lost their jobs and need assistance, can apply for benefits using C4yourself.com or contact the department at (530) 265-1340. Paper applications are available for pickup outside at the Brighton Greens and Rood Center locations.
May 5, 2020
BriarPatch donates lunch to SPIRIT Peer Empowerment Center
The comfortable mental health recovery day center that feels like home on five sprawling grassy acres is entirely peer-run. The donated sack lunches filled with healthy deli-made sandwiches, fruit, sparkling beverages and bakery-fresh cookies helped the center supplement its food pantry.
“Our staff and participants very much enjoyed and appreciated the lunch. It was nice having fresh food. Those cookies were right out of the oven,” said Executive Director Pauline Abrons.
The center serves anyone struggling with a mental health issue – like substance abuse or homelessness – who wants to make positive changes in their life.
“We lost more than half of our staff and volunteers. They were either in the high risk category or the people that they lived with were in high risk,” said Abrons, adding that now interns are working to help fill the gaps.
Everyone is diligently making and wearing masks, keeping a distance and washing hands. To date, no illnesses have been reported.
In the past, the center served upwards of 40 people per day, but since COVID-19, the numbers have dropped to 10-20 people per day.
“A lot of our participants are staying at home. I think people are trying to be safe and responsible and stay home. But we do have people who really need social contact for mental wellness,” said Abrons.
While the numbers the center serves are down, the percentage of participants with homelessness has grown during the pandemic.
“Those folks don’t have a place to be,” said Abrons.
Peers on staff offer one-on-one counseling to individuals and host a variety of support groups including Diagnosis with Dignity, Co-Occurring, Women’s group, Men’s group, and Identity Diversity (LGBTQ+).
The group aims to create pathways toward connection and creativity in a way that meets each individual’s interests and stage of growth. They play board games, puzzles and planned activities like music, beading, yoga or tend the organic garden.
Besides basic needs like food, showers and laundry facilities, the center offers life skills and wellness classes, helps with referrals to other agencies and offers access to public computers for housing and job searches.
Learn more: https://spiritpeerempowermentcenter.org/
Do you want to help?
Donations of the following will help people meet their basic needs:
- Underwear/ boxers
- Dixie cups (to give shampoo/ conditioner/ toothpaste in at the center)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Food like nourishing frozen dinners and canned soups. Expired food cannot be accepted.
April 24, 2020
BriarPatch donates nearly 400 pounds of fresh produce to North State Food Bank
On Wednesday, BriarPatch Food Co-op donated 368 pounds of fresh organic produce valued at $330 to Oroville-based North State Food Bank (NSFB) for distribution to people living in Northern California impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We serve roughly 6,700 individuals or 3,000 households monthly. We have 45 sites we deliver to and we serve five counties in the North Sate which include Butte, Colusa, Plumas, Glenn and Sierra,” said Program Manager Lee Wells.
Currently the Food Bank does not have enough food to meet demand.
“We are seeing approximately double the demand that was experienced after the Camp Fire,” said Wells.
The Co-op’s Produce Department gathered a pallet heaped with boxes and bags of yellow onions, celery, carrots, gold potatoes, fuji apples and Murcott mandarins that will be distributed directly to households in need, supplementing emergency food the Food Bank is already providing.
“Fresh organic produce is vital, as most of our available resources are shelf-stable items. Quality produce, such as the offering from BriarPatch is important because those in need deserve to have wholesome, healthy food,” said Wells.
In neighboring Sierra County, NSFB delivers monthly to rural mountain communities of Alleghany, Pike and Downieville. The extra food they are sending during the pandemic has become a vital lifeline.
“These communities are remote and somewhat isolated from the services readily available to households in the more populated areas,” said Wells.
If people wish to help, they can make food or monetary donations or become a volunteer.
Learn more: https://www.buttecaa.com/north-state-food-bank/
April 17, 2020
BriarPatch deli makes lunch for 211 Connecting Point staff working from home
On Wednesday, BriarPatch delivered deli lunches to staff members and call specialists from 211 Connecting Point who are working from home keeping the county informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The public agency is a call and resource center that provides the community with programs and services that promote health and independence. Though they are working from home, they are busier than ever during the pandemic.
Since March 1, Community Heroes from Connecting Point have answered over 3,500 calls, for a total of 642 hours, nearly double their call volume.
“211’s role is to provide accurate, up-to-date information and to connect individuals to community resources,” said Communications Manager Heather Heckler. “For most of our callers, that means connecting them to resources for healthcare, housing, food, and other basic needs. For some, however, a 211 call specialist may be the only person they speak with in a day and a trusted resource for information. We are honored to serve as Nevada County’s community call center, whether it’s during this pandemic or in normal times.”
The agency has been an important resource for information from the state and county on the Stay at Home Order; quarantine and isolation guidance for cloth face masks, mental health resources and more.
You can speak to a local call specialist 24/7 by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-833-DIAL211) or find resources online at 211connectingpoint.org.
Go to the COVID-19 page for resources specific to the pandemic: https://211connectingpoint.org/nevada-county/covid-19/.
Folks can also subscribe to COVID-19 text updates from 211 by texting NCCORONA to 797979.
You can support 211’s mission and contribute online here: https://nvcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1481
April 8, 2020
BriarPatch donates two-week supply of pet food to Sammie’s Friends
Grass Valley – BriarPatch Food Co-op donated a two-week supply of pet food to Sammie’s Friends, to support the community heroes who have stepped up to foster shelter dogs and cats awaiting adoption in Nevada County.
On Wednesday, BriarPatch donated the organic cat and dog food valued at $400 wholesale to the animal shelter located on McCourtney Drive. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Sammie’s Friends, a non-profit corporation, has had to cut back to a skeleton crew of staff workers and no volunteers. Usually, the shelter relies on hundreds of volunteers to operate each month.
“It’s just not safe. Our limited staff are providing all the care for our shelter animals right now (including two daily walks for the dogs),” said Dina Jacopi, Marketing Director.
Some staff members are choosing to use sick time during the “stay at home” directive or finding ways to work from home.
At least 40 dogs and 50 cats need “forever homes” and kitten season is right around the corner – which adds an estimated 400 kittens to the mix. Of the animals that need adoption now, most have found temporary foster families to care for them during the pandemic.
Sammie’s typically goes through 18 cans of wet dog food per day and 48 cans of wet cat food. Animals at the shelter and with foster families can eat through two to three 40-pound bags of dry dog and cat kibble every week. Adoptions are still taking place, and now every step can be done digitally, said Lizette Taylor, Shelter Director.
Due to the coronavirus, Sammie’s Nifty Thrift Shop, the biggest source of income for the shelter, has been closed for four weeks. The shelter continues to need monetary donations, canned food, more homemade face masks and isolation gowns. Shelter staff foresee a need for volunteers and more foster families in coming months when the trickle-down effects of a depressed economy begin to translate to an increase in abandoned animal populations.
“We are anticipating needing many more foster homes. Once we all truly feel the effects and stress of what is happening, a lot more people will be needing to turn their pets into the shelter,” said Dina.
Learn more about how to help: http://www.sammiesfriends.org/#sthash.YvGqHhKF.dpbs
April 7, 2020
Donations to Food Bank of Nevada County come at a critical time
This week, Co-op staff emptied the overflowing barrel, sanitized the outside of the shelf-stable packaged goods, boxed them up and donated the haul to the Food Bank. The donation comes at a time when the Food Bank is seeing a record-breaking need by people in the community who have lost their jobs or have seen a huge reduction in pay, or can’t find childcare for their children who are now home from school.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank went from serving 400 individuals and 250 households to now serving 1800 individuals and almost 600 households on their first day of the new drive-thru service. This week, seven volunteers prepared 950 bags for Thursday’s drive-thru.
“Our need is increasing exponentially. It’s staggering to even meet the need,” said Executive Director Nicole McNeely.
The Food Bank warehouse crew is working round the clock and has had to ration the bags because with the increased need they are limited by the amount they can give right now.
“It’s so many more than what we are used to seeing. This is record-breaking for us. We’re one of the first resources people hear about when they’re in need of dietary support,” said McNeely.
The Food Bank distributes food every Thursday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Grass Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborn Hill Road, Grass Valley, near Union Hill School. Folks who need help will get food.
“We don’t want anyone to go without,” said McNeely.
Right now, the Food Bank is not taking food donations from the public. They are only taking food donations from grocery stores and distributors. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated and can be made online, at: https://foodbankofnc.org/
April 3, 2020
BriarPatch Meat Department donates 300 pounds of chicken to Hospitality House
This week, BriarPatch donated 300 lbs (five cases) of whole chickens to Hospitality House to feed shelter guests and motel clients. ❤️ The chickens are Rocky and Rosie Chicken whole chickens from Petaluma Poultry. When a mistake by our distributor was credited but not picked up, our Meat Department decided to make a donation where it was needed. ❤️ “Hospitality House is grateful to have BriarPatch Food Co-op as one of its strategic partners. They do so much already for our shelter throughout the year, but this week, they surprised us with 300 lbs. of fresh, organic whole chickens. 300 POUNDS! Our operations have shifted significantly over the last several weeks to increase the safety of our staff, volunteers and guests. We’ve expanded into four locations, 24 hours a day, out of absolute necessity with an increased need for food support, so this gift comes at a much needed time to keep families, children and individuals all well fed and safe throughout the pandemic. Thank you, BriarPatch!,” said Ashley Quadros, Development Director.
BriarPatch Deli donates lunch to Sierra Care Physicians
Aren’t they doing a tremendous job of demonstrating social distancing? “We are SO THANKFUL and blessed by our community. From all of you at BriarPatch treating us to lunch, to our patients and community members donating all kinds of supplies, making masks to donate and most importantly your thanks and words of encouragement. We are so lucky to be part of such an amazing community!,” said Tammie Shust, Office Manager.
The medical office has been on the front lines during COVID-19 while continuing to serve their patients with other needs by offering phone calls and virtual visits. We think they are true heroes.
March 24, 2020
BriarPatch and Earl’s donate 2,501 pounds of fresh produce to Interfaith Food Ministry
Grass Valley – In an effort to feed Western Nevada County’s hungry during COVID-19, BriarPatch Food Co-op and Earl’s Organic Produce teamed up to donate four pallets totaling 2,501 pounds of fresh produce to Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM).
“The Co-op has been a lifeline for so many people during this challenging time and we’re grateful we can support them. But we know there are community members really struggling right now. We wanted to give back to families who lost their jobs or are staying home with their kids without much to eat,” said BriarPatch Marketing Manager Rebecca Torpie.
“Earl’s Organic wants to do our part to help people in need during this time of health safety. We are happy to partner with our long-time customer BriarPatch Food Co-op to donate organic produce to IFM, an organization they support throughout the year,” said Susan Simitz Marketing and Social Media Manager for Earl’s Organic Produce.
Tuesday morning, a driver from Earl’s Organic Produce delivered more than a ton of asparagus, oranges, apples, sweet potatoes, Swiss Chard, kale, cilantro, parsley, Romaine lettuce, spring mix lettuce, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomato and mandarins valued at $2,000 to IFM. The organic produce will be added to bags of groceries to be distributed on Wednesday and Friday to meet a growing demand for fresh food from families experiencing food insecurity.
“This is really critical. That’s what people are short on,” said Bob Thurman, IFM Board President.
The food is supplemental for people living with limited means like limited refrigeration or storage space, people who can’t store food for long periods of time.
Currently, 14,000, or roughly one of seven Nevada County residents live in food insecure households. In 2019, IFM served 8069 individuals. With COVID-19, IFM is seeing a flush of new clients – people who have recently lost jobs and families struggling after the closure of schools throughout the county.
At a time of greater need, IFM has lost half of its volunteers because many are over 65, seniors in high risk groups who are following state mandated stay at home orders in light of the pandemic.
Interfaith Food Ministry plans to continue its curbside/ drive through distribution days from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. IFM is also working with the Food Bank of Nevada County to identify where the gaps are.
“Everyone is coming together and helping,” said Thurman.
Food Supply Remains Strong
“Now more than ever, there is a need to provide people and their families with fresh healthy food during a time of economic and job uncertainty. Earl’s intention is to eliminate as much concern about one’s food supply as we are able,” said Simitz.
The donation comes at a time when national food supply chains have come under tremendous stress yet remain strong, vibrant and able to serve and be accountable in times of crisis, said Earl Herrick, Owner and Founder of Earl’s Organic Produce.
Earl’s partners with more than 300 sustainable growers to deliver a full line of organic produce to its customers – a mix of restaurants, natural food co-ops, independent retailers, regional grocery markets and national chain stores between Arcata and Monterey and a few select retailers scattered across the country and in Hawaii.
“The virus has challenged us to reflect on our responsibility to all we serve – providers, employees and their families and our customers,” said Herrick.
How to Help
For those that want to help and do more locally, it is “March Matching” an important fundraising month for IFM, a campaign that funds about one-third of the organization’s annual budget. With IFM’s buying power, every $1 donation goes far, as much as two to five times its value to purchase supplies that are needed.
“We’re getting more smaller donations. I think because of what’s happening, people are seeing the need.”
With seniors staying at home, more volunteers are needed from everything like on-the-ground pre-packaging Tuesday and Thursdays, distribution days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and for those that prefer to stay home, there are admin tasks available.
Learn more: https://www.interfaithfoodministry.org/ https://www.briarpatch.coop/ http://www.earlsorganic.com/
Know & Go
Interfaith Food Ministry: Distributes food 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 440 Henderson St. in Grass Valley (to the left of the Prosperity Lanes Bowling Alley and the Beam Easy Living Center). For information, go to interfaithfoodministry.org or call 530-273-8132
The amount of food provided depends on family size. Each family can come to one distribution every two weeks. New clients are asked to bring a photo ID and a proof of address. Clients who are making the decision to stay home due to high risk reasons can send a pick-up person to get their groceries for them, with a signed note[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]