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News: 05/15/2020

SV Women's Club campaign for the homeless

General Vallejo watches over his beloved Sonoma Plaza

The Sonoma Valley Woman's Club (SVWC) has launched the “You Can't Quarantine Love” campaign, an effort by local women to both boost morale for valley residents while also supporting the hungry and homeless.

The SVWC is selling lawn signs featuring the slogan on a sliding scale, from $15-$50 each, and will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Sonoma Overnight Support (S.O.S.). Since 2007, S.O.S. has been dedicated to feeding and sheltering the homeless at their food bank, The Haven, located at 151 First St. West, as well as other locations throughout Sonoma Valley.

“People have no idea how great the need is,” said S.O.S.'s Executive Director, Kathy King. “Since the shelter-in-place restrictions have drastically reduced our volunteer force and our ability to serve our clients safely, we've gone from spending $2 per person per meal to $10. Fortunately, we've had several local restaurants to help us make meals, but the cost difference to feed our clients is huge.”

Sonoma Valley estimates roughly 250 homeless residents, of which S.O.S. feeds up to 40 per day and currently shelters up to 12 per night through their partnership with Sonoma Alliance Church at 125 East Watmaugh Road in Sonoma. Since March 17, 2020, when the county ordered shelter-in-place and social distancing regulations, S.O.S. has been unable to welcome volunteers, and no one under the age of 65 can make food from their home to donate.

“We can't cook or accept food anymore; only donations. This is just the beginning of a much bigger homelessness problem in the valley,” King said.

S.O.S. went from serving meals buffet style to sending clients with food to-go, prepared by local restaurants, packaged safely, and distributed from a large pop-up tent in the backyard of The Haven, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., including breakfast, snacks and lunch. Since installing their ADA portable shower set-up across from the Veteran's Hall in Sonoma on April 11, they have been able to provide 110 showers, while still facilitating safe social distancing between their clients.

The Sonoma Valley Woman's Club was founded in 1901 and boasts a rich legacy of civic and philanthropic engagement with the City of Sonoma, including the planting of Sonoma's historic plaza, the building of the Carnegie Library, and the restoration of the Mission of San Francisco de Solano. Today, SVWC's President, Alison Kilmer, is working to motivate the club during these challenging times with renewed vigor. “Our communications team put everything together in a matter of days, and there was a lot of enthusiasm around the project,” Kilmer said. Inspired by “The Love in the Air is Thicker than the Smoke” signs that appeared during the 2017 Nuns Fire, Kilmer explained that SVWC's “You Can't Quarantine Love” is a way to remind everyone in the community that we're all in this together.

SVWC's lawn signs are available for purchase through their fundraising efforts on their website. You can place your order at Members of the SVWC will be making deliveries around the community over the next few weeks.

Those who want to pay by check can send it to the following address:
Sonoma Valley Woman's Club Foundation
P.O. Box 674
Sonoma, CA 95476

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