My name is Shilo Wells and I am a Homeless Access Transportation (HAT) Driver at Hospitality House. My primary role is to help people experiencing homelessness reach their appointments, employment, medical needs, stores, etc. to better their livelihood, as most of the people we serve lack transportation, which can be a barrier to basic needs.

One person who has made a big impact on me is a girl I’ll refer to as Bethany. Bethany is just 18 years old. She was referred to me for help getting to high school after she became homeless. To make a long story short, I learned Bethany’s dad passed away last year and her mother, who is elderly and disabled, was unable to afford their home on her own and was forced to sell. The only thing her mother can afford now is senior housing, which Bethany isn’t eligible to live in. While her mother has new housing arrangements, she and her brother were left to fend for themselves. Her older brother is couch surfing with friends currently, but Bethany didn’t have any options, so I gave her a ride to Utah’s Place, our homeless shelter.

Our shelter manager, Geoff, arranged for Bethany to immediately stay in our family dorm with another homeless teenage girl, also barely 18. Every Monday – Friday, I pick up Bethany first thing in the morning to drive her to school. Despite now living in our shelter and being separated from her mom and brother, Bethany’s perseverance to succeed hasn’t wavered. Her principal has shared that Bethany is an exceptionally smart and dedicated student and one who is set to graduate with honors in the spring. It’s my understanding that Bethany will be the first person in her family to receive a high school diploma, too.

Our focus right now with Bethany is to aid her in graduating from high school and then following, our team will help her find housing matches and employment. I’ll still be here to help with transportation to her job or if she pursues college, which we anticipate.

I share this story specifically because when we think of homelessness, we often think of adults but at Hospitality House, we serve people of all ages and backgrounds, including infants, toddlers, small children, teenagers and students like Bethany who just want their chance at having a stable life. If you’d like to help Bethany and others like her, please consider a gift today. No donation is too small to create impact.

As we head into winter, Night of Giving is back 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! Tickets are expected to go on sale Nov. 15 but visit our event page NOW for early perks, exclusive to Hospitality House supporters: A big thank you to Wildwood Self Storage and PE Consulting Associates for sponsoring Night of Giving this year!

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. I’d also like to thank George Dunstan for providing spiritual support at our senior housing complex, Sierra Guest Home, every week too. Thank you also to the Repeat Offenders cook group for serving your famous marinara pasta last night—the guests loved it as always! 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. We are also looking for event volunteers for Night of Giving. 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:

  • Twin-size blankets
  • New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
  • Ponchos
  • Men’s shoes, sizes 10-14
  • Women’s shoes, sizes 8-10y

Special Giving Opportunity: We need help in order to offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter. Please pledge a turkey today by emailing, calling 530.615.0852, or bringing your store-bought turkey directly to the shelter, attention to Chef Brian.

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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