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Sponsored By:

Community Recovery Fund And The Mother Lode Food Project

Individuals + Unity = Community

Community means so many things to so many people. One of the great things about being with the Sonora Area Foundation is the fact that I’m able to see so many different types of communities here in Tuolumne. They range from friends and neighbors caring for one another, to those who live in the geographical area of Sonora and Tuolumne, to groups of likeminded people working towards the same goal. I’m always impressed by the impact each has on the others. For every one of them to function, it takes individuals who are selfless and dedicated to make change happen and serve our community.

The last year has been a rough one for all of us. Our local non-profits do an amazing job of serving our community in a typical year. This year has been anything but typical. Resources and creativity have been stretched in figuring out how to meet the increased needs. These needs were wide and varied, including helping parents feed their families, making sure our seniors are safe, helping people stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and more.

As the pandemic barreled towards our country and our community, here at the Sonora Area Foundation we quickly established the Community Recovery Fund as a dedicated place where those who wanted to donate to COVID-19 related community help could give money. This fund is for the sole purpose of awarding grants to help non-profits in their missions. Those who receive help are in many different circumstances, from those who have suffered from the virus, to those losing their jobs, businesses and livelihoods because of the shut-downs. In order to help as many people as possible, we offered a matching grant of up to $100,000, and that’s when our amazing community responded in the only way that they could. They, you, came out and gave of your resources and your time.

One of those community givers was the Mother Lode Food Project that acts as a support for the ATCAA Food Bank. Basically, they help people feed others by providing them with green bags that the participants, affectionally called Green Baggers, then fill at the grocery store. The Mother Lode Food Project picks up the green bags and takes them to the ATCAA Food Bank. You can find out more about the program here Stay at home orders and the threat of community spread impacted how they operated. The issue was profound, how to continue with a much needed program when safety dictated that the less human contact the better?

The solution was both sensible and simple. The Mother Lode Food Project encouraged their Green Baggers to make a cash donation, which is where we came in. Ellen Beck called us, asking if we would support their effort. Since we already had our Community Recovery Fund up and running with donations from generous community members (with donations starting at $5 and going up from there) we were able to provide a funding match of almost $60,000 that went to the ATCAA Food Bank!

We love working on projects like this, and it’s not over. The founders of the Mother Lode Food Bank, Sue Beck and Ellen Mundy, are moving on. Their position is being filled by Green Baggers Tristan and Anastasi Kaiser. To thank Ellen and Sue for their generous work in our community, we’re partnering with their organization for its February cash donation drive with a grant match of up to $5,000. So, if you’re a Green Bagger, and even if you’re not and would like to get involved, please visit our website at to find out how to make a donation to help support this worthwhile non-profit, and take a look around while your there, we’d love to partner with you to help our community.