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Grants Support Safety Net Services

Sonora, CA — Several efforts to provide food and shelter to Tuolumne County residents recently received grants from the Sonora Area Foundation.

Sierra Bible Church was awarded a $25,000 grant for its food pantry and We Care Sober Living Recovery Homes received $20,000 to support the organization’s group homes in Tuolumne and Sonora.

Directors of both the We Care and pantry programs said demand for their services are at an all-time high across the community, with no let-up in sight.

Sierra Bible Church members have been supporting their pantry for three years with food drives and contributions. Lori Fields, who runs the pantry and Community Needs Network for Sierra Bible Church says, the program served 310 families in May – up from 80 families per month when the program started. Fields says they serve many people but noted, “We’re seeing a lot of grandparents who are now taking care of their grandchildren and need help.”

The Foundation grant, Fields said, matches what the church plans to provide and will help meet the growing need.

Beki Medina, Program Director of We Care Sober Living Homes, said demand for safe group housing is also growing. The program she and her husband, Bobbie Medina, founded 11 years ago now has two group homes for people in recovery, people with mental illnesses and those who are homeless for other reasons.

The grant supports rent, utilities and maintenance on the homes, which can take up to 14 adults. Medina says, “We couldn’t do this without the Sonora Area Foundation. This gives us hope.”

In addition to the safety net grants, Foundation Directors also completed a $50,000 grant to the Youth Sports Foundation for help with improvements to playing fields at the Sonora Dome. The grant was approved earlier this summer, pending some revisions to an agreement between the Youth Sports Foundation and the Sonora Union High School District. According to the Foundation those changes are now complete and work is well under way.

Sonora Area Foundation Executive Director, Ed Wyllie, writes a blog with more information about the Foundation view it here.