My name is Melissa Hatcher, and I’m the Facilities, Maintenance and Purchasing Supervisor for Hospitality House. My role is to ensure that our buildings are well-maintained, fully functional and safe. I also make sure that each building is stocked with the essential items that are required to serve 718 homeless clients over the span of a single year. While dropping off supplies and making repairs at each of the complexes, I often get the opportunity to chat with our homeless clients and guests, one of whom I’ll refer to as Violet.

One day, while working on a repair at Sierra Guest Home (SGH), Hospitality House’s senior transitional housing complex, I met Violet. She was immaculately and stylishly dressed, with a no-nonsense attitude that I could appreciate. At 82 years old, Violet was eager to supervise my work, critique and give technical advice freely. What surprised me was that this petite elderly woman knew what she was talking about when it came to plumbing, and a lot of other topics too.

Violet kept me company on various occasions, as I made deliveries and improvements, sharing stories such as the time she went to the Kentucky Derby, wearing the biggest hat she could find, or when she drove through the Dolomites of Italy in a convertible Carmen Ghia. Her style, confidence and knowledge about far corners of the world led me to believe that she had once been quite the jetsetter, and it reminded me that even the least suspecting people could end up without a home. Violet is happily housed in her own apartment now, and I miss her presence at SGH. However, there are always more residents and guests of SGH, and the shelter, who enjoy helping me with my job.

My next big project is reflooring the shower room in the Outreach Dorm at the shelter. This area of the shelter gets a lot of traffic as it’s the place people stay when first coming to Hospitality House for help. In an effort to provide a safer, and more durable flooring option in the shower room, I will be removing linoleum and installing tile. After years of use, the linoleum is buckling and is no longer 100% waterproof. Look for before and after photos of this project on social media over the next week or two, and don’t be surprised if you see a guest leaning over my shoulder offering a helping hand.

If you’d like to help guests like Violet make their way back to permanent housing, please consider donating today. I also invite you to become one of our amazing volunteers.

On that note, I’d like to thank the amazing volunteers who have generously helped out this week: Hilary Dart and Kathy Perkins helped by grocery shopping for the shelter. Bill Blount and George Dunstan provided spiritual support at SGH. Two of our amazing cook groups spoiled the shelter and SGH guests with food made with love. The Ramblers made sloppy joes, tater tots and coleslaw while the Repeat Offenders made beef marinara pasta with vegetables, salad and garlic bread. We are incredibly grateful to all of you who give your time, energy and compassion to those who need it most.

Now down to the shelter’s wish list of the week:

  • Twin-size blankets
  • Sweatpants -men’s and women’s (all sizes)
  • New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
  • Men’s winter coats, jackets and hoodies
  • Hand warmers
  • Bottled water

DONATION HOURS AND DROPOFF LOCATION: Donations from our needs list above and all unexpired/store-bought foods are accepted at Utah’s Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am – 3:30pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Our shelter is located at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945. We greatly appreciate the community’s help at such times of uncertainty. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!

A special thanks also to our partners for providing ongoing food and/or financial support: SPD Markets, BriarPatch Food Co-op, Telestream, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Bishop Store (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nevada City) and Food Bank of Nevada County. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

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