My name is Fred Skeen. I’m an RN case manager at Hospitality House. My job is to assist guests with qualifying for social services benefits, arranging medical care referrals, and eventually getting them into independent housing. We make every effort to guide our guests in their transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency and housing.

Today, I’d like to share a story that involves our partnership with Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and a woman, who I’ll refer to as Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue is 67 years old and was living with her mother and brother right here in town. In recent months, however, Peggy Sue had a falling out with her family and was kicked out. While without shelter, Peggy Sue began to feel very sick; she was unable to eat; she was vomiting frequently; and her stomach ballooned significantly.

Peggy Sue was encouraged to go to the ER by partner providers and while at the hospital, we were contacted for support. Peggy Sue had 2.5 liters pumped out of her stomach. Once stabilized, Peggy Sue was released into our Recuperative Care program at Utah’s Place, our shelter, with follow-up treatment needed. The program is designed to give homeless individuals released with the hospital a safe place to rest and recuperative 24 hours a day, seven days a week with medical support from the hospital.

In the time I’ve known Peggy Sue, we’ve spent a great deal of time in doctor offices, have helped her learn how to manage and treat her stomach condition, have gotten her a PET scan, and now we will be seeing an oncologist in the coming days to better understand the severity of her condition.

While I’d like to tell you Peggy Sue’s story will end on a happy note, the truth is right now doctors suspect malignancy has spread throughout her entire body, which means it’s possible Peggy Sue’s time may be limited. If this is found to be the case next week, we will still be here for Peggy Sue through and through. We don’t talk about death and dying often at Hospitality House, but it has always been a part of our story. Helping guests with end-of-life care, final wishes, and ensuring each person, when the time comes, dies with dignity is important to our organization. If it’s important to you too, we appreciate any and all help to further our efforts to ensure Peggy Sue and others in need continue to receive customized care and services.

This week, I’d like to give a shoutout to Hilary Dart for helping with grocery shopping and to Twin Cities Church for sponsoring a dinner for every guest this week. If you have an interest in learning about our cooking and shopping volunteer opportunities, please call us at (530) 615-0852 or email A big thank you also to our food partners, SPD Markets, BriarPatch Food Co-Op, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Bishop Store (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nevada City) and Nevada County Food Bank for donating food and produce on an ongoing basis. We also want to thank all of our community members who have been giving financially in place of donating goods during construction at Utah’s Place. However, we do have a need for the following select items:

  • Men’s summer clothing – t-shirts and shorts/pants only
  • Depends / adult diapers
  • NEW Pillows (must be new)
  • Twin-sized bedding, including blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and quilts

To increase safety during construction, donations are no longer being accepted at our shelter. Please drop off your items Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm at our admin office, located at 488 Crown Point Circle, Suite 100, Grass Valley, Ca 95945 (the admin office is closed on all major holidays and weekends). 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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