SLO County Womenade Worthy Crisis Intervention

A volunteer at the Food Bank had bone-on-bone pain in her knee. Medi-Cal pre-approved all procedures except the MRI required before surgery, a cost of $300 she didn’t have. Morro Bay’s Bonnie Allen requested help from San Luis Obispo County Womenade. The available funds were considered essential and immediately provided. Allen reports that not only was her surgery successful, but it jump-started her life in a new job and renewed lifestyle.

Mom leaving hospital with twins when prepared for single birth and needs crib, car seat, high chair, diapers – all the extras for the extra child. Womenade supporters who watch for Facebook pleas come to the rescue.

Family has exhausted all help-nets to come up with funds to pay rent when other major crisis impacts their on-the-edge budget. Womenade fills the gap with $300, a one-time offering to get them over to the next month for better priority planning.

Local founder, Sandy Richardson, explained to members of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church Women’s Guild that when she retired from teaching, she read about a unique program and thought it could work in San Luis Obispo. She invited seven friends to a potluck. They each donated the $35 they would have spent going out to dinner to create the first cash installment to help others. In 2009 it became a 501c3 nonprofit and continues to depend on quarterly potlucks to maintain cash resources. Appeals and updates are sent out through Facebook. From cribs to partial rent payments, this non-membership network has provided over $340,000 since 2003 to help people in crisis throughout the county.

Today San Luis Obispo County Womenade,, provides time, items, or one-time cash donations up to $300. Referrals come from schools, medical professionals, county health departments, and organizations such as Family Care Network, Women’s Shelter, CAPSLO, and Prado Day Center. Richardson stated every dollar or items funded are reported on their website. Once a need is posted on their Facebook site, the goal is to verify the need and honor it anonymously and immediately.

Los Osan Carol Devore is the area leader and hostess of the north coast’s quarterly potlucks, planned for February 17 at her home. Richardson directed interested supporters to check their social media page. “We announce schedules and location details on Facebook. Our south-county and Trilogy potlucks are February 18. Everyone is welcome and donations vary more and less from the original $35 investments.”

Besides quarterly potlucks, serving dinners in Nipomo, and a backpack stuffing project at Laguna School, individuals and businesses create their own projects to support Womenade. One such ongoing project has been Pirate’s Closet at Morro Bay High School, which provides appropriate clothing and cash for students’ emergency needs. Devore credited Andrea Wasko and Meagan Gilbert of Los Osos for collecting donations regularly for the high school project. And for two years Beverly Ford Durrer and her husband, Lenny Blue, co-owners of Grandma’s Yogurt and Waffle Shop on Morro Bay Blvd., have promoted their shop as a drop-off site to collect clothes and money three consecutive Saturdays in December. In 2014 two carloads and two truckloads of clothes plus cash were donated. Inspired by its success and student needs, Durrer will continue to act as a collection site year round.

With no dues to pay, no meetings to attend Womenade offers busy people the chance to help others with equipment they may be donating elsewhere or funds they would rather spread to those who can’t find help any where else.  for further information.

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