Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Gifts from Heaven!" Auction Napa Valley at work in St. Helena

It is easy to look at St Helena and assume this picturesque town escapes the problems that occur in every town big or small.  Our historic main street and acres of perfectly manicured vineyards paint a beautiful scene but the residents here live relatively normal lives and from time to time require assistance.

Thankfully there is an organization here to help them, St Helena Family Center.  The idea was launched in 2003 by a group of St Helena residents, one of which spent a lot of time working on low income housing projects.  They received their 501c3 in 2005 and opened their doors in 2006 two blocks off main street.  Their mission was simple: To serve the community around them in any way they could.

Over the years they have, with partial funding from the Napa Valley Vintners, been able to grow and increase the number of services they offer, a list that seems to go on and on.  They partner with over 30 different organizations in Napa county to help them fulfill their mission and can now connect people with everything from Mental Health services to legal aid. 

They also offer a selection of their own services and programs to help families, like their early education program, a preschool program for families that can't afford traditional early education.  Another program, Raising a Reader, helps parents understand the importance of reading to their children.  They can help with the little things, like check-free bill pay, all the way to more complicated issues such as immigration. 

The director, Sara Cakebread, has been involved with the Family Center in a multitude of ways since 2006 and took over the role of Executive Directer in 2011.  Her passion for helping the families of St Helena not only survive, but thrive, is very evident.  I was touched by her heart-felt stories of the people whose lives the Family Center has changed. She told me one story of a single mother that came knocking on the door because she had heard the Family Center could help with health care.  By the end of the day her daughter had a new pair of glasses that have helped her increase her grades in school.  Something so simple for families that have access to health care, but much harder for those who do not. 
The Napa Valley Vintners have been providing grants to the Family Center since 2007 after Sara wrote a grant proposal. "The gift on unrestricted funds from the Vintners is a gift from heaven!"  We are just glad to help an organization that for so many is a gift from heaven. 

If you are interested in helping out the St. Helena Family Center and many other amazing organizations that serve Napa County please check out the wonderful E-Auction Lots!

Rebecca Martin
Chase Cellars
#ANV13 Social Media Crew


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