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Weathering a Crisis - Together...

Catholic Charities Volunteer and Case Manager in Conversation

January 2023 

Happy 2023 and best wishes for the new year to you and your loved ones! 

Northern California has been subject to remarkable storms the past couple of weeks, and we may be set for more before the season is over. While we need rain, it seems to be coming all at once, creating an entirely new set of challenges… 

We are reaching out to let you know your friends at Catholic Charities are thinking of you during this time. We pray you are safe and well. 

There is no question that 2023 has gotten off to a remarkable start. As we weather ferocious storms, recover from the devastating Ferndale Earthquake and its aftershocks, and work together to keep our sisters and brothers experiencing homelessness warm, one thing is clear – we all count on each other! 

As a compassionate member of our community, I know you are with us in prayerful consideration for our neighbor in need. Without assistance, one natural disaster can be enough to derail many from their path. Our team stands at the ready to serve all who have been affected by this brutal winter whenever possible.  

Continue reading to learn how our team steps in during times like these… 

Collaboration Through Torrential Rains 

Since the 2017 Tubbs Fire, Catholic Charities has become a source of trust and hope for people affected by natural disasters. Through our preparedness efforts, immediate relief, and long-term recovery, we have been at the forefront of a community-driven movement to bolster new systems better equipped to support survivors through disasters.

Whenever a disaster hits, our team is on the frontlines of response, coordinating public and fellow nonprofit response. Community support makes it possible for us to remain nimble throughout even the most unpredictable of situations, like the recent rains. 

Alongside the Sonoma County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) and the County of Sonoma, our team is able to coordinate response as well as swiftly triage needs so the people who need it most can receive help navigating their situation. 

Though the rains will end, for those affected who are holding on so dearly to all they have, the impact will continue beyond the rains’ end. Our team stands with them to ensure they can overcome the struggles they face. 

Responding to the Ferndale Earthquake 

Amy Holter and Melissa Reece of Catholic Charities joined hands with the Humboldt County COAD to bring much-needed help to those affected by the recent earthquakes which hit during the holidays, a cherished time that should be a moment of peace and renewal. 

Thanks to generous community support and disaster relief funding from Catholic Charities USA, our team, alongside the Humboldt County COAD, has distributed nearly $100K in gift cards to over 300 individuals affected. 

COADs are powered by a myriad of unique expertise and collaboration as they launch on-site to support earthquake survivors in their time of need. We at Catholic Charities are thankful for the opportunity to bring our expertise to the collective. 

A Place of Warmth 

Imagine all of your belongings crammed into one cart exposed to the elements. One surprise rainstorm and your belongings are wiped out. With this brutal winter, many live in this fear of losing it all. To address a dire need for warmth and security, the City of Santa Rosa has partnered with our team on several occasions to make the Caritas Drop-in Center a temporary overnight refuge for our unsheltered sisters and brothers.

At Caritas Center, people can escape the elements. For some, this may even be the next step toward home. 

One participant shared, “Thank you for caring for us when it appears that the rest of society doesn’t acknowledge us. The Drop-In Center has saved me in more ways than I am even aware of. I could never find the perfect words to express my gratitude…”   

This is our community’s generosity in action! In the former service center, there were great difficulties providing a warming space such as this. Now we can go further to address the need. Our community built Caritas Center- thank you.