My name is Brian Bliss and I am the cook at Hospitality House, responsible for ensuring every man, woman and child in our care receives well-balanced, nutritious meals not only at Utah’s Place, but at Sierra Guest Home too, which is our low-income senior complex that we opened last year.

This week I’d like to share a little bit about one of the guests who regularly helps me in the kitchen, who I’ll refer to as Stanley. Stanley has been helping me in the kitchen since February as he works toward permanent housing. In the beginning, Stanley needed a lot of hands-on direction and support, but today, Stanley is a culinary leader and leader amongst his shelter peers, too. He has an amazing work ethic and needs no guidance or supervision. He cooks seven days a week in our shelter, on top of taking on-call work at a local restaurant to build up his income.

I hope Stanley will find full-time work soon and of course a new home, too. Until then, I’m grateful for his him and all he gives back.

Recently, things in our kitchen got a little easier, too. As many know, our shelter has been under construction for several months now and our freezer-cooler combo has been finally installed! This large, walk-in freezer allows Hospitality House to buy in bulk to reduce costs and also accept large food donations. Our friends at Interfaith Food Ministry already offered to start donating us crates of milk, romaine and more to help us reduce costs and feed more people. Thank you, IFM!

Last year as we neared Thanksgiving, we had so many generous people asking to donate turkeys, hams, pies, potatoes, and more and we didn’t always have the room to say yes. As a homeless services provider, stretching every dollar is important so to turn down any food when food is always needed is discouraging. I’m pleased to share now that we can take on all your holiday food donations because of our jumbo freezer/cooler combo, so if you’d like to help make this year’s Thanksgiving extra special, please pledge your turkey, pie or other food product by calling (530) 615-0852 or email Due to health code provisions, all food products must be store bought (we sadly are unable to accept your home-baked goodies). And if you’d like to help us do something fun for Halloween next week too, let us know!

In addition to daily meals and holiday meal prep, our next big event is Night of Giving, which returns Thursday, Dec. 15 at The Center for the Arts. After two years of virtual shows, this is the first in-person Night of Giving since 2019 and one you won’t want to miss! Get ready for Alasdair Fraser and Cameron Fraser, along with dozens of local talent who are ready to hit the stage for this year’s Night of Giving. Tickets are expected to go on sale Nov. 15. Visit in early November to learn about special offerings, exclusive to Hospitality House supporters. If you or your business might be interested in sponsoring Night of Giving, please email or call (530) 615-0852.

Right now I’d like to give a shoutout to our two volunteer food shoppers, Hilary Dart and Marna Duncan, for helping us with shopping needs each week. If you have an interest in volunteering, we have several opportunities available in our culinary department, including grocery shopping, cooking, food delivery and dish washing. Call us at (530) 615-0852 or email to learn about our opportunities. 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!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the week:

  • Winter Clothing – Long-sleeve shirts for men and women; sweaters for men and women; weather-resistant coats/jackets only for men and women (sizes L, XL most needed); beanies for men and women; and men’s pants sizes 30-36 only. NO scarves; NO socks.
  • Twin-size blankets and towels
  • Hand/Feet warmers

NEW DONATION HOURS: To streamline our donation process, donations are no longer being accepted at our shelter (unless it’s food). Please drop off items from our needs list on Tuesday or Thursday, 830am – 5pm at our admin office, located at 488 Crown Point Circle, Suite 100, Grass Valley, Ca 95945 (admin is closed weekends and all major holidays). 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!

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