The following is a letter to the editor, published here as opinion. The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the writer. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor feel free to write to email@example.com.
How lucky we are to hold each other in our intentions and actions with so much love, concern and caring behavior. We want to update you on what Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund has accomplished so far and is working on during the coronavirus crisis.
Thanks to your generosity, we were able to locate a donation of 1,280 N-95 masks.
When the November, 2017 Redwood Valley Fire happened, under the leadership of Redwood Valley community member, Danilla Sands, a Disaster Center was set up in an empty storefront in Ukiah. Community members could donate needed items and fire survivors could access the free store for clothes and other essentials. MCCF sent funds and advised the Center. Our decades of experience as grassroots responders to emergencies made us a perfect team.
In 2017 and 2018, MCCF donated seventy-five thousand dollars to the Disaster Center efforts, paid the rent, met with them regularly, took over a thousand N-95 masks to inland agencies, sheltered evacuees here on the coast, and helped our inland agencies and inland neighbors to make sure their disaster center could succeed.
We partnered with the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and North Coast Opportunities, as we all did what we do best, helping our communities help each other. We reached out to coastal and corporate donors and spent down our reserves.
Unlike other agencies on the coast and inland, we are a grassroots nonprofit and receive no governmental funds. We belong to you, our community. We are all-volunteer and have no employees. The City of Fort Bragg and Fourth District Supervisor, Dan Gjerde graciously provide us office space so we can serve children in need. While our focus is on children, children live in families, and when a disaster happens everyone in the family and community is affected.
MCCF has been responding to nearby wildfires since 2015. We have helped Lake County, our inland Mendocino communities, Santa Rosa, and Paradise. We have sheltered fire evacuees and sent funds and resources. We have trained community groups and offered technical assistance as we prepare here on the coast for future events.
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, at our request, the MendoLake Complex Fire Relief Recovery Center generously sent us 1,280 N-95 masks, 500 non-coronavirus masks, other needed supplies, and a pickup load of donated diapers that they had in their Redwood Valley warehouse.
Mendocino Sheriff Matt Kendall personally met Danilla Sands at the Disaster Center in Redwood Valley and then drove these items to the Mendocino Coast Clinic. There, Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams, who has worked with us for years, met Sheriff Kendall to help unload his truck. Mendocino Coast Clinics Operations Manager, Meryl Schlingheyde, after an eighty-hour week, gratefully met them at the door!
Mendocino Coast Clinics is storing these items. They will help get diapers to pediatric patients and the Food Bank and will share N-95 masks with key first responders who need to be protected as they protect you. We are in touch with the hospital and our medical professionals, and first responders will meet to make decisions about resources.
1280 N-95 masks are a wonderful start, but many, many more are needed. We have to protect our health providers and first responders so they can save lives—yours, ours, and theirs! If you have access to N-95 masks, please contact us and we will get them to our fire departments, clinics, and hospital. We can save lives if we treat our neighbors like ourselves.
We have started a Mendocino Mask Project, with several community members sewing masks based on best practices from the CDC and other medical advisors. While these masks are not N-95, they can help with other medical needs, freeing up N-95 masks—they are a “Plan B.”
We also are buying infant and children’s items, more diapers, and making donations for food and other essentials that folks need, like gas to get to the hospital. Requests are coordinated through our partner agencies. We know how to work from home as our volunteers have been doing this for twenty-eight years.
We are working with the County, City of Fort Bragg school districts, Fort Bragg Food Bank, agencies, hospital, clinics, community volunteer organizations, Communty Foundation, Red Cross, and local businesses on logistics and connecting resources for people of all ages. It’s a big job, as many agencies have had to close. Our experience is critical at times like this, and your support means we can save lives.
We need your help so we can help our community. We have young families out of work, out of food, out of gas, and out of hope. Please send donations to www.mccf.org. One hundred percent of your donation goes to the community. We use your donations to catch the SOS cries for help from your neighbors.
MCCF has been the community’s nonprofit heart for twenty-eight years. MCCF and MendoLake Recovery Center are grassroots community organizations. We are what this county is about: neighbors helping neighbors.
If you are on Facebook, key in MCCF COVID-19 SOS to donate. PayPal is the safest and most efficient way to quickly get funds to the neediest situations. You will automatically receive electronic receipts. Checks can be mailed to: MCCF, P.O. Box 1616, Mendocino, CA 95460. You can use your credit card by going to www.mccf.info.
If you have questions, please email or call us. If you need help, let us know and we will try to connect you with the right agency.
Love your neighbor, stay home, wash your hands, and know that you are not alone.
Annie Liner, volunteer exec director
Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund
P O Box 1616
Mendocino, CA 95460
www.mccf.info (credit card donations)
Facebook: Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund
The preceding was a letter to the editor, to be construed as the personal opinions of the author, not as fact, nor as the opinions of this publication. Furthermore it was not edited for punctuation or spelling, all errors are those of the author. It has likewise not been fact-checked. While, we reserve the right to fact-check opinion pieces and letters to the editor run in this publication — and to annotate such pieces with fact-checking — in the interest of time (and of not being annoying nitpickers) we usually don’t.