California Dairies’ executives provide appliances, clothing and a variety of other resources for families in the community
VISALIA – During the season of giving, a local nonprofit, a dairy company and churches across the county have come together to provide 10 different families with items on their “needs list.”
Raquel Garica, who is part of City Serve Tulare Kings in Visalia, went alongside executives from California Dairies to deliver a special gift this holiday season. She went to the home of two sisters, who are both single mothers and shared their home’s expenses to make ends meet.
She helped deliver a new dining table, appliances, clothing and furniture to the sisters who had difficulty affording these resources on their own. These sisters were one of many families to receive a variety of free resources from City Serve and their partners. The recipients of the donations are anonymous to the public.
“It’s a beautiful day of giving and giving abundantly. It’s overwhelming,” Garcia said.
With the help of California Dairies and local churches, City Serve was able to help 10 families in need this holiday season. Those families span from Visalia, Tulare, Goshen, Exeter and also some in Kings County. During the event, local churches nominate families in need, and City Serve will then make a list alongside each family that records the specific resources they need.
California Dairies then received the “needs list” from City Serve, and donated all of those items to each family. The executive team and other members of California Dairies went to each family’s house alongside City Serve and local churches to deliver the resources and meet the families who they are serving.
“It could be that the family has a need for a new appliance, or a piece of furniture; maybe beds for their babies, clothing, they could have food insecurities,” Garcia said. “They could even need gas in the car. It could be a number of things.”
Garcia is part of the team that collects the needs lists every year, and said that they do so privately and “with dignity.” Once she hands the needs lists to California Dairies, each executive member signs up for the items that they are able to contribute. Though California Dairies has chosen to remain anonymous givers during this annual “giving day” event for years, they recently went public about their partnership with City Serve via social media.
Over 50 local churches volunteer to help City Serve in their ministry to families in Tulare and Kings counties, and they come from all denominations, according to Garcia. Throughout the year, City Serves also does multiple other charity events. They also do a food distribution twice a month, on the second and fourth Friday every other week.
Garcia said that it is at the food distribution events where many of the volunteers learn what people’s needs are. It is through forming relationships that the volunteers can understand how to better serve the community. Oftentimes, people will share that they have winter clothing needs, or their kids need backpacks and even that their appliances, such as their washing machines, need to be replaced.
“[Volunteers] are making connections, they’re building relationships, and then when they see them again in two weeks, they can follow up with them,” Garcia said.
City Serve Tulare Kings is also developing a plan for a transitional youth housing unit for those 18 to 25 years old, who are among the highest to become homeless, according to Garcia.
“Oftentimes, they’re sort of forgotten about because they aged out of foster care and were never adopted. They’re left to their own devices, and they either end up living in their car, couchsurfing or they become homeless,” Garcia said. “They don’t have any place to go.”
A large reason why this age group is at such a high risk for homelessness is because of the lack of familial support and lack of education. One way that the transitional home can aid with this is by providing pathway programs where individuals can learn a trade, or even be set up to attend college.
City Serve is not just local to the Central Valley, though. They are a faith-based organization that stretches across the States, and they have even reached parts of Europe, as well. Their motive to help those in need can be found in their slogan “All in for 10.”
This term comes from the Old Testament, and outlines the 10 groups of people who should be cared for, which are the hungry, the exploited, the prisoner, the orphan, Israel, the vulnerable, the widows, the unreached, the addicted and the poor, according to Garcia. City Serve has a specific initiative or project that ministers to each of these groups.
“We want to keep doing what we’re doing through the faith community and helping to make our families in our counties stronger, because stronger families are healthier families,” Garcia said.