How About You?
As the seasons change and we transition from spring into summer, it's easy to turn our attention to activities for which our area is well known. The Farmer's Markets, unlimited recreational opportunities, live theater and art shows, or sipping a cool beverage on the patio of your favorite restaurant - these are just a few examples of activities that help to define why we call Tuolumne County home.
As I sit writing this in the evening shade of a fully blooming locust tree, it's easy to forget that in spite of all the opportunities that summer brings, there are needs that exist in our community year-round. Here are a few concerns that come to mind:
Feeding the Hungry - There is a substantial, on-going need to help feed our community. From children to seniors, the demand is great while funding has been further constrained. Keep an eye out this month for the Sonora Area Foundation's summer newsletter which features an article written by Amy Nilson about local charities that work hard throughout the year to bring food to those in need and have recently received grant funding from the Foundation to assist in those efforts.
Homelessness - This is a problem that never seems to get better, made only more difficult by the area's slow recovery from the national recession. Beetle Barbour, Housing Resources Director for the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, annually tracks statistics of Tuolumne County's homeless. The 2011 Tuolumne Homeless Count reported 381 homeless persons. 178 of those were dependent children and 9 were unaccompanied youth under the age of 18. Beetle told me that "people would be amazed" by the number of homeless that camp out close in to our developed communities and neighborhoods.
At-Risk Youth - Sometimes, it's the most innocent members of our community that have the greatest needs. Those needs can begin prior to birth with pregnancy counseling for prospective parents and continue through life with documented concerns associated with the provision of food, shelter, and clothing; tutoring and mentoring; educational incentives; and suicide prevention. Stealing a slogan from the recent local political campaign, "We can do better!"
If you would like some suggestions about how you can help, give Lin, Cathi or me a call at 533-2596. Even better, stop by our office at 362 S. Stewart Street so that we may talk about where your charitable interests lie and where your gift may be directed.
Maybe it's time for me to leave the comfort of the evening shade and go write a check to one of my favorite charities. How about you?