My name is Jennifer Keefe, and I’m the Public Relations Coordinator for Hospitality House. My role is to connect with the community in a variety of ways. I help publish these weekly news stories along with the monthly newsletters, help with special events and campaigns, write grant submissions and work with our amazing volunteers. As April is National Volunteer Month it feels appropriate to focus on the many people who contribute their time, energy and compassion to the guests of Hospitality House.

Prior to the pandemic, we had upwards of 400 volunteers serving on a regular basis, saving the organization money that could then be redirected to serve the homeless population in other important ways. However, when state mandates and concern for everyone’s health forced us to suspend the Volunteer Program, the previous momentum was lost. Slowly we are rebuilding a team of dedicated volunteers, some returning, others brand new, all incredibly appreciated. The staff regularly remark how nice it is to see volunteers’ smiling faces again; hearing them rattling pans and chatting while working to provide for our guests.

As Hospitality House is supported by donations, grants, fee-for-service contracts, partnerships and volunteers, I can’t emphasize enough how important the community is to our successes and the work we do day to day. There are several roles our volunteers play, but the majority enjoy providing comforting and nutritious food for our homeless guests. Some cook alongside our Culinary Specialist, Brian Bliss; others spend one or two days a month making a meal from start to finish with their cook teams (made up of 4-5 family members, friends or colleagues); and some prefer to wash dishes or grocery shop.

Over the past fiscal year, the shelter kitchen provided 77,480 meals, across all programming. That number includes bag lunches handed out to people living on the streets who may not have eaten for days. It also includes the warm meals provided to guests staying at the shelter and Sierra Guest Home (our senior housing complex), and those sheltered at motels. That’s nearly 80,000 meals coming from our humble shelter kitchen! So when a volunteer cook team takes time on a Saturday to come into the shelter, with their arms full of groceries and a willingness to do what it takes to provide for approximately 90 people, they are truly Hospitality House’s superheroes. If you’d like to become one of our amazing volunteers, individually or with a group, we welcome you to email us at or call (530) 615-0852. Weekend support is especially appreciated.

On that note, I’d like to thank the amazing volunteers who have generously helped out this week: Hilary Dart and Kathy Perkins helped our Culinary Specialist, Brian Bliss, by grocery shopping for the shelter. Bill Blount provided spiritual support at Sierra Guest Home and Larry Gruver kept us organized at the Administrative Office. We are SO grateful!

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!

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