Dec 12, 2019
BY David Adams
On Tuesday December 10th the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Leadership class had their annual “Nonprofit Day”. David Adams owner of Quality Printing Services and graduate of Leadership class 2019 this year’s nonprofit day chair brought together a wide mix of the nonprofits in Petaluma from a variety of categories to share the rich diversity of services and organizations that Petaluma is blessed with. From Fraternal organizations, service groups and social services, the class gained an understanding of all the ways that those in need can obtain a hand up in Petaluma.
The day started with a tour of the Masonic Lodge on Western and Petaluma Blvd. Took a walk down the Blvd for a tour of the ODD Fellows Hall. “Fraternal groups fly under the radar as far as their contribution to the community,” Adams said. Both organizations not only offer aide, assistance and support to their members but have scholarships for kids going off to college and support brick and mortar nonprofits like Mentor ME, COTS and the Salvation Army. Class member Jay Monahan said “ I now understand the difference between a fraternal and social organization”.
Next the class moved onto Mentor Me and heard about the great work they do in the schools of our community helping to give kids that extra-added support in growing up that is so valuable. Next they visited COTS and learned about the housing issues facing the community and how COTS partners with other organizations to supply needed services and housing to the community. They stayed and had lunch in the COTS cafeteria. The food at COTS was very well prepared and the class was greeted by a smile from the volunteers that served in the cafeteria. Darby Ciampi mentioned “I had no idea that COTS had permanent housing.”.
After lunch the class went over to the Petaluma Salvation Army for a tour and learned about how the SA is feeding over 300 families a week with their food pantry program. The class was shown the SATURN station (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) a short wave network that is able to keep communities connected in times of disaster and cell phone outages. The class also toured the disaster warehouse where emergency food, cots, water and bedding is stored to roll out in evacuation scenarios as it was in the fires of October.
A panel comprised of nonprofit organizations was then held in the Salvation Army Youth center community room. Organizations that participated were the Petaluma 20/30 club, Petaluma 7-11 Lions, Petaluma Peoples Services, Kiwanis Club, Village Network, Rebuilding Petaluma, Petaluma Rotary Clubs, Keeping Music in the Schools, Aqus Community Foundation and Petaluma Valley Baptist Church. Each organization gave a presentation on how they help the community. Afterwards the class had a Q & A to learn more details about how the nonprofits in town work together to help in the community, how they could become involved as well as the challenges the organizations all face for membership and fund raising. The combined programs, grants and resources that these groups provided the community are too many to list here. The easiest way to convey the help they provide the community is to say that it is in the millions of dollars annually. Class member Christina Arndt,” I knew of all of the organizations on the panel, but was unaware of everything they did”.
Then the class went off to their last tour of the day at the Petaluma Elks lodge. Learning about member benefits like the members only RV park, as well as the tens of thousands of dollars the Elks give the community made up of kids programs, scholarships, and aide to veterans. Class member Charlie Castillo, “ The Masons and Elks were a surprise. I knew the Salvation Army was obvious about the help they give, but I had no idea how generous the Elks were’.
The Elks hosted the class to refreshments and finger food and provided them with a room to work on their 2020 class project to benefit the community.
I think you see a theme here. Petaluma “cares”. We care about each other, our surrounding communities and are not hesitant about stepping up and volunteering through so many opportunities that Petaluma has to offer.
Non-Profit Day Chairman
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