As a firestorm enveloped much of California’s Sonoma County in early October, destroying entire neighborhoods from Calistoga to northwest Santa Rosa, thousands of seniors were forced to fend for themselves against one of the greatest natural disasters to ever hit the region. Now, as our community begins to rebuild, it’s quickly becoming apparent that older Californians were hit the hardest. For that reason, we've decided to honor this season of giving by funding emergency relief for seniors impacted by the 2017 Tubbs Fires through the Sonoma Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program.
Chef Josef Keller prepares meals for local seniors.
“We had a least 100 clients who were displaced in October,” said Diana Faulkner, a coordinator for the Sonoma Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program. “Some of the lucky ones just got back into their places a few weeks ago.”
Our support will provide more than 9,000 meals for seniors in need.
Faulkner says the Council on Aging had quite a few clients living in the Coffey Park area, which was totally destroyed. Roughly 2,900 Santa Rosa homes were torched by the Tubbs Fire, and 1,000 of those homes were in Coffey Park. Most of the residents in that area were displaced for more than a month while trying to find a new place to live.
Cheryl Humber, an employee of the Sonoma Council on Aging, says she and other volunteers deliver up to a thousand meals to seniors in need every week. For many seniors, a Meals On Wheels delivery is their only contact.
By funding this emergency relief program, we hope to provide our community with more than just a hot meal — but also to ensure that seniors know they are not alone. Even before this tragedy, many seniors say their only contact each week was sometimes a Meals on Wheels volunteer. That’s why part of the funding from Shreve & Co. will support a new Case Management position at the Sonoma Council on Aging. This new employee will serve as an advocate for seniors desperate for relief.
“There were so many people affected,” said Marianne McBride, President, and CEO of the Sonoma Council on Aging. “Our existing staff was simply not equipped to help with the level of need we’re seeing. This new staff member will work with people one-on-one, as well as in groups, to make the greatest impact possible. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful we are. This kind of support is incredible.”
A Sonoma County Meals on Wheels beneficiary smiles after receiving her delivery from Cheryl (pictured above).
As a fifth-generation, family-owned and operated luxury jeweler with deep roots in Northern California, it is our honor to invest in this extraordinary program that will put more than 9,000 nutritious meals into the hands of Sonoma seniors. While there has been an incredible amount of destruction and sadness over these last few weeks, our hope for this project is that it will inspire a new sentiment of resilience and compassion. Thank you to the Sonoma Council on Aging, and all of the volunteers behind this program, for proving that the love around us is stronger than the smoke in the air.
For more information on how you can help, click here.