A trio of community service organizations will be vying for top honors at this month’s annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, recognized for contributions to the community. This year’s nominees for the Community Service Award are Oakdale Community Sharing, Oakdale Quilters Guild and the Oakdale Youth Sports Association.
The winner will be named at the Friday, Jan. 19 awards night. Information about the nominees has been provided by the Chamber of Commerce.
Oakdale Community Sharing
Established in 1957, Oakdale Community Sharing originally intended to supply emergency food services and food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the years it has evolved into a weekly food provider to those in need who qualify and live in the zip code 95361.
They provide groceries to the poorest in our community. Families are given food depending on their size and income. Preparing for the weekly food distribution program requires planning of the menu, ordering food, picking up food and donations, warehousing and categorizing food and then putting it all together in preparations for every Tuesday morning distribution. Community Sharing also has a wardrobe and small household appliance area to help fulfill those needs.
Last fiscal year (2016-2017) they served 11,511 families which translated into 24,482 people. Food distributed averages 35 pounds per visit every week. They are currently in the process of adding a 6,000 square foot warehouse in order to better serve the community and volunteers. The process is in the design, permit and fundraising phase. They are enjoying more and more support from the community members, businesses and corporations. Community Sharing has gone through the process of obtaining non-profit status making donations tax-deductible.
This is a volunteer organization. No one is paid for the work they put into this service. Community Sharing is supported by donations and a small grant. The volunteers have worked over 10,000 recorded hours per year. They find joy and satisfaction in serving the needy in our midst and making a difference in their lives.
Oakdale Quilters Guild
The Oakdale Quilters Guild creates and donates hundreds of handmade quilts, pillowcases and items such as walker bags to individuals and organizations in Oakdale every year. This year their main philanthropic focus was supporting the residents of the Oak Valley Care Center. In 2017 they handmade and donated more than 85 quilts, pillowcases, 25 walker bags, and innumerable chemo caps to Care Center residences. As a group, the Guild also purchased and donated 20 new iPods valued at $1200 and $500 iTunes gift cards to be used by the Care Center residents.
The Quilters Guild donated personalized handmade quilts to present to Veterans and active-duty service men and women of our military branches. Fifty of these quilts sewn by the Oakdale Quilters Guild went to local Veterans. Along with their donations to Oak Valley Care Center and our service men and women they also donated 75 handmade pillowcases to Camp Erin. Camp Erin is a camp for grieving children who have lost a parent or sibling. Additionally, they donated 25 quilts to young mothers attending Oakdale High School. The Quilters Guild responded to the California Fires in Clear Lake and Santa Rosa by sewing and donating over 25 quilts, pillowcases and tote bags for fire victims.
The day-to-day responsibilities of the Oakdale Quilters Guild focus on their philanthropic quilting projects. This includes working on items to donate such as quilt kits to their favorite patterns and meeting in small groups to organize charitable activities. Occasionally they receive donations of fabric which they then repurpose into quilts and other items that are then donated to the Oakdale community.
A simple and personal “thank you” is the most treasured recognition for the members of the Oakdale Quilters Guild. Because the Guild focuses on honoring the people to which they are donating quilts and other items, much of their work is behind the scenes and often goes unrecognized. The Oakdale Quilters Guild has been featured in The Oakdale Leader many times over the years. The Guild is also listed in the national publication of Quilt Guilders, as well as the national Quilters newsletter. It is for this reason that Oakdale Quilters Guild has been nominated to offer them a community wide thank you for all they do.
Oakdale Youth Sports Association
Oakdale Youth Sports Association (OYSA) has been around since 1999 and been the “governing body” of youth sports since. At the time Lions members Jim Tyson and Jerry Gilbreath approached the City Parks and Rec Director Ed Christensen, about converting a 17+ acre vacant parcel jointly owned by the City and the School District into a sports park. Jim and Jerry, as Rotarians, asked the Oakdale Rotary for donations. This started the ball rolling and now OYSA group has grown in numbers to include Oakdale Lions, Oakdale Rotary, Oakdale Soroptimists, Oakdale Kiwanis, Oakdale Realtors, Oakdale Baseball Association, Oakdale Youth Soccer, and Oak Valley Youth Softball Association. The group is now known formally as Oakdale Youth Sports Association, OYSA became a legal non-profit 501c3, on March 20, 2000. OYSA continues to be responsible for one-third of the maintenance of the park, with the City and the School District contributing the remaining two-thirds of the maintenance costs.
The park was ready by September 6, 2003, opening day for Soccer, OYSA had raised in donations, county and city funding, in-kind labor and materials well over a million dollars. The second group to take advantage of the field was on March 2004, opening day for baseball. The individuals and local business involvement in the construction of the park is beyond description, the community really pulled together and hit a grand slam with this project.
In 2013, the School District donated to OYSA a portable classroom. Six months later with help from OYSA members, other community individuals and businesses to raise over $53,000, plus additional in-kind donations of labor and materials. The OYSA’s Mountain Mike’s Snack Shack and permanent restroom facilities opened for business in March of 2013. In addition, OYSA pays for the Mountain Mike’s Snack Shack water and sewer, and professional restroom cleaning services. Garbage service for the park is donated by Gilton Solid Waste Management.
OYSA member sports groups enjoy the use of the Mountain Mike’s Snack Shack facilities and they keep all their group revenues from their food service. OYSA generates its revenue from its sports members through a pay to play fee based on the number of kids in the sports program and the duration of their season, the fee which was implemented in 2007, was just raised for 2018 from $1 to $2 per kid, per week of their season.
While the primary goal/mission is to raise money to facilitate the construction and enhancements to the Oakdale’s recreational facilities, it is not all the OYSA does. Currently they are managing the TL Davis Sports Park and are looking to assist the City of Oakdale in renovating the Kerr Park facility. This group has spent countless hours and poured their hearts out to make sure the youth of our community have recreational sports.
The awards night will also feature a selection of the Junior Achievement Award winner (nominees profiled on Page A2 of this week’s issue) and honors for both Large Business and Small Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Look for more profiles of nominees in the Jan. 17 issue.