I’m Leah Farkas, the Volunteer Manager at Hospitality House. I have the pleasure and honor of working with the wonderful people in our community who donate their time to help further our mission. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to announce our monthly Volunteer Spotlight, which this month goes to another great jack of many trades, Rick Baron, who recently found his way back to us.

Rick began volunteering at Hospitality House many years ago, taking the overnight shift, back when we were a nomadic shelter. These were the days when various local churches would alternate the shelter nights to open their doors and their arms to our community members experiencing homelessness, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Rick would work a night with a few others, arriving at midnight and leaving at 6 a.m., making sure our guests were able to get safe and a good night’s rest.

Recently, Rick rejoined our team, after hearing right here on KVMR about the new pet program at our shelter. Immediately after the broadcast, Rick gave me a call and quickly came on board as an invaluable member of our Volunteer Department team, helping plan and manage our October camp cleanup and Night of Giving this past December. As many of our listeners know, the success of Night of Giving largely rides on the backs of our robust volunteers, which this year included over 100 unique individuals who filled 124 volunteer positions. Largely thanks to Rick.

After the event, I asked him quite frankly, why he dedicates his time to our mission, he said, “I do it for my soul.” He pointed out that the issue of homelessness is growing both in our community and throughout the nation and that the best way to address this issue is to in his words, “be an advocate for humankind.”

Thank you, Rick!

Great news! The Pet Program is open! We opened our doors to homeless pet owners and their pets. Both will receive shelter and services at Hospitality House without the need for pet separation in exchange for assistance. To commemorate the program, the Grass Valley Chamber & Visitors Center will host an official ribbon cutting ceremony next Thursday, Jan. 23 at 12 p.m. at the shelter, Utah’s Place, located at 1262 Sutton Way. Please join us!

Please also save the date for Saturday, March 14. Our artist-driven Empty Bowl benefit returns to Peace Lutheran Grass Valley, CA and we’re looking for business sponsors! Our friends at Telestream are helping us out again this year and we hope you can too! Please call us at 530-615-0852 or email info@hhshelter.org.

This past week, we were blessed by many caring individuals and I’d like to give a big thank you to Alta Sierra Latter-Day Saints Church, Twin Cities Church, Trinity Church – Episcopal: Historic Faith for Modern People, Mountain Stream Meditation Center, Kitchen KutUps, The Home Team and Abundant Life Community Church for coming out to cook. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the shelter for this week…

• Ibuprofen
• Pepto Bismol – individual doses
• Cough drops
• Thick blankets
• Rain gear
• Hand warmers
• Warm gloves

Please drop off urgent items to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way. For all other donations that may benefit a homeless guest or the shelter in general, please take them to the backdoor of Bread & Roses Thrift and More, our thrift shop, located at 840 E. Main Street, directly next door to Sierra Cinemas. Guests at our shelter are given shopping vouchers for the store to buy what they need, so your donation directly helps them. All other items are sold with 100% of the sales supporting the shelter’s operations. If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need. Thank you!