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The Fall/Winter Potluck Was a Blast!

Our 2020 Fall/Winter Potluck fundraiser!

Did you miss it? Oops, that was last year! We sure miss our in-person potluck fundraisers! We had our 3rd ZOOM potluck fundraiser on Sunday, November15th and although it wasn't as luxurious as the one in the picture above from last year, we had a lot of fun and raised a lot of money! Total raised coming in next week's newsletter! The South SLO County Womenade board of Ann McDowell, Caity McCardell, Jill Ostrove, Sue McCutcheon and Rosemary Cleaves all worked together to make this ZOOM meeting entertaining, informative and exciting. If you attended you’ll get a chance to revisit some of what you learned, and if you couldn’t attend you can now learn what you missed. Rosemary Cleaves opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. She provided the following review of the status of the matching grant and the 3 projects we have running through the holiday season. Matching grant – As of the meeting date we met the $5,000 matching grant with so many fabulous supporters giving awesome donations. We are so very grateful for all the support! The three projects are: the book drive, the holiday food drive and the sock drive.

  • The Book Drive – runs until 11/30. We are collecting new books for Nipomo Elementary School (NES) and new and lightly used books for the Pacific View Academy (PVA) library. The PVA is a new school, and they don’t have a library. So far people have donated about 250 new books for NES or about 50% of our goal. We have received about 20 crates of books for PVA from Grover Community Library, a retired Nipomo teacher, the Nipomo library and Jeff Martin and his wife. Kathy Ichien is collecting books at Trilogy, and Sue McCutcheon is collecting at Cypress Ridge.

  • Holiday food – collecting holiday food through the November 16th. Marcella Gelman volunteered to spearhead the project. Judy Woo has been collecting food from residents at Trilogy. They have collected about half of our goal to make 50 baskets! Marcella will shop for the remaining needed items this week. We will pack everything on Thursday 11/19 and deliver that morning. We will be packing the donated holiday food at Sue’s house Thursday morning. Many thanks to Mary Anne Morgan for shopping at the food bank for some of the basic foods for this program. Sue and Rosemary packed the basic food items Sunday morning. Each family will receive 2 bags of food. Many thanks to Marcella, Judy, Mary Anne and Sue for making this project happen.

  • Sock drive – Nancy Terrell volunteered to spearhead this project. She is at the Avila Bay Club. She’s collecting socks until 12/15. Drop off at Avila Bay Athletic Club 6699 Bay Laurel Pl, or Sue McCutcheon’s 2342 Willett Way in Cypress Ridge. So far we have about 100 pairs of wool socks or about 20% of our goal of 500 pairs. Socks will be donated to the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition.

  • Many Thanks to everyone who has bought books, socks and food! You are making a difference in so many people's lives.

Breaking News! The Community Foundation Grant – we just learned that the Community Foundation gave us a grant for $10,000. We are so excited and honored. This money along with the matching grant, the matching donations and donations made at this potluck fundraiser will make a big difference to our supported agencies over the next few months. In other breaking news! Jill Ostrove announced that we will be having a raffle with prizes to be awarded at our February Potluck. Details in the next issue of our newsletter. Reminder – there are still t-shirts and totes available for purchase. In an attempt to make our ZOOM Potluck more enjoyable we added a couple of entertainment features. Entertainment: Board member Caity McCardell has been hard at work making a video collage of all the pictures we received from South County Womenaders of what we have been doing during the last 8 months, and she shared the fabulous video with the meeting. Here is the link to the video. Enjoy! More Entertainment The video was followed up with a scavenger hunt. Caity announced the rules and the prize. Attendees were sent out around their homes in search of 3 things: a paper clip, a salt shaker and a holiday ornament. They were given 2 minutes, and the first one back with all 3 items won a donated bottle of wine and wine tasking from the winery in Arroyo Grande. Linda Fibich was the winner, and she was back with all 3 items in record time! She was delighted to be the winner, and Caity delivered the prize on Monday! I’ve heard back from a number of the attendees that they enjoyed both entertainment features. The agency update part of the program began next. The needs mentioned below are the types of situations that donations from South SLO County Womenade funds are used for. Sara Zepeda from the South County Youth Coalition told us about SCYC, and how they have been coping with changes in the pandemic. SCYC is the umbrella organization for the Oceano, Nipomo and Arroyo Grande Family Resource Centers. They have not been able to have their usual fund raising events, and are so grateful for all the financial assistance that South SLO County Womenade has provided them. Sara presented the needs of the Nipomo and Oceano’s family resource centers and Jessica Baza, the advocate from the Arroyo Grande presented the AG family resource center needs. They are sponsoring an “Adopt a Family” program for the holidays. Contact Rosemary at if interested Arroyo Grande Family Resource Center Family Advocate Jessica Baza Need #1 Single mom is requesting assistance for child-care at $50/ week each. Family of four, 6th grade boy, 8th grade girl, and 18-year-old college student. Mom has recently started back up at work, she works at a restaurant making minimum wage. About a couple weeks ago she called a district employee in crisis not knowing what to do or how to help her two children who have attempted suicide. Coordination between the Director of student services,and the family resource center they developed a plan to have the children supervised with the Boys and Girls club. Family is requesting financial assistance with the payments. With this help mom will be able to go to work comfortably knowing that both children are safe and supervised at all times. Requesting $500 for this family Need #2 Single mom of 4 young children under 6 years old. Mom is between jobs and needs help paying for the internet. Mom went through a long custody battle with dad and finally got full custody. She is struggling to keep afloat financially, and all her money is accounted for the basic necessities. The hot spot that the school provides them with does not work very well in the area she lives therefore she is in desperately in need of assistance with her WIFI payment to ensure the proper connection is available for distance learning. Requesting $200 for this family. Nipomo Family Resource Center Family Advocate Karina Ayala Need #1 Family of seven has incurred sudden financial stress due to sudden life changing events. Mom was diagnosed with cancer which has taken a toll on her daily routines, dad had to step away from work to help with their children and to care for her. This family went from being financially stable to coming out negative on their monthly bills. With five growing children in the home it has become very difficult to keep up with distance learning and the increase in food cost each week. Family advocate supports family with a weekly food drop off to help however because of the number of people in the family it only goes so far. Requesting a $100 food gift card and $200 for rental assistance. Need #2 Single mom trying to flee a hostile home environment with her 3 children. She is undocumented but has a permit to work in the US but will be expiring in a month. She is living in a home that she helped buy her ex-partner who has now made the home so uncomfortable for her by putting surveillance in every room to ensure that he is aware of all the conversations that happen between their children and mom. He plans to sell his house and leave mom with nothing. Mom is looking to move out on her own and is currently working with Family advocate to secure housing for this mom and her children. Requesting $400 to help with a move-in deposit. Oceano Family Resource Center Family Advocate Stella Medina Need #1 Single mom of four children under the age of 12 was able to secure housing on her own for her family. The family has officially moved in and all four children are currently sleeping on the floor. Mom is working six days a week to ensure that all her bills are taken care of. Her budget has no room for extra expenses such as beds for her children since he relies on every penny to cover rent, utility bills and basic needs. Mom is currently using community food resources and gets food delivered to her door by the family advocate to help alleviate some of the cost of food. Requesting $300.00 to help purchase bunk beds for her children. Need #2 Family of five have suffered a huge loss of income due to COVID-19. All family members tested positive for COVID which resulted in quarantine, both mom and dad stopped working. Family did not qualify for unemployment due to being un-documented and were not paid during their time off. Family is struggling to make December’s rent. Both parents are now working and have been cleared for COVID. Requesting $300.00 for rental assistance. Next Katie Gonzalez reviewed Lopez High School’s (LHS) needs. With COVID19, the students have not been on campus, and they are looking at another very abbreviated graduation in 2021. LHS is looking ahead and hoping to buy custom face masks for staff and students, graduation gear – custom shirts and lanyards, small items for their reward store including: school supplies, art supplies, journals, candles, card games, ping pong balls, juice, tea, water, chips and crackers, candies, pastries, $5 or $10 gift cards, LHS sweatshirts and t-shirts. After a short break, Mary Anne Morgan, the new leader of the Nutrition Team gave a review of the way we are working now. Many thanks to Candyce Guldeman, Mary Browning, and Jill Ostrove, and Judy Woo and her tribe of brown bag packing women, for buying the contents and filling brown bags; and also to the baggers – Lori and Phil Connolly, Phil and Candace Guldeman and Kathy Cohl and Joanie Thomas. Mary Anne has been shopping at the Food Bank for the bulk of the food for the Lopez HS bags. The first semester is coming to a close, and she will be looking for people to fill brown bags for Judkins and Mesa Middle Schools, and the bagging for Lopez High School. Please contact Mary Anne if you are interested: Lisa Fraser, executive director of the Link, filled us in on what Erica Andrade, the south county advocate at both Judkins and Mesa Middle Schools, has been dealing with in south county and shared a couple of current needs of her clients. Her first client was able to locate an apartment but needs help with the deposit for the apartment. $300 The second client is in need of a refrigerator as her current one is no longer working. (Erica just let me know that she was able to locate one through HelpSLO). Rosemary covered the needs of the agencies who were not able to attend the ZOOM potluck. The county nurses have: Many clients in need of baby wipes A Single Mom with a new baby needs help with her water bill of $300. Two moms in need of play mats for their infants to help with tummy time The First5 Early Learning Centers Are holding a children’s shoe and coat drive and an “Adopt a Family” program. Contact Rosemary at if interested The Wolf Den at LHS – since the students are not on campus the Wolf Den has been keeping the den stocked with items they have in stock. Casa Solana – Renee Poirier is very grateful to South SLO County Womenade for funding a full 90 program for one of their “gift beds” for a client who wants to become sober but can’t afford the cost of the stay. The Nipomo Elementary School Food Distribution - The November distribution took place on November 10th, and it was a banner crowd but unfortunately we ran out of food. It was a very busy afternoon - dark early and a little chilly by the end. See story below.

More Entertainment: To end our meeting we had one more video. This one was by KCOY/KEYT highlighting one of our young volunteers, David Bautista, who has been volunteering at our Nipomo Elementary School food distribution for 5 ½ years! It was filmed at the November 10th food distribution. You can get a real sense of how our distributions runs. We hope you have followed along and enjoyed the recap of our fall/winter Zoom potluck!

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