Stepping up to serve: thousands give back through the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County re-envisioned its programs and initiatives to meet the needs and challenges of 2020. More than 10,000 volunteers helped through mask making, grocery shopping for seniors, staffing emergency shelters, distributing free food, online tutoring, and disseminating emergency preparedness information.
The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County has been part of the community fabric for more than 50 years. While so much has changed since opening their doors in 1967, the heart of what they do has remained the same. The Volunteer Center is what happens when hopeful people work together to transform our community for good.
Each year the Volunteer Center collaborates with more than 20,000 community members, nonprofits, and local businesses like Santa Cruz County Bank, to invest time and resources into building a more connected community through volunteerism.
Throughout their history, they have proudly stood alongside the community to mobilize volunteers through times of prosperity and through historic challenges like earthquakes, floods, fires, recessions, and now a pandemic.
“While the last year has presented incredible upheaval for our community, never have we been more proud of the work done in partnership with our neighbors, to meet local needs,” states Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Director of Communications Christine Loewe.
Despite the pandemic, the Volunteer Center remains committed to finding safe ways to maintain connections and engage volunteers. In 2020, they linked a record number of volunteers and donors to our community. If they learned anything last year, it is that community connections are vital to our sense of hope, that people will not be deterred from doing good, and that the spirit of giving in Santa Cruz County cannot be diminished.
Overall, more than 10,000 volunteers helped in 2020 through mask making, grocery shopping for vulnerable seniors, staffing emergency shelters, distributing free food, online tutoring, disseminating emergency preparedness information, holiday giving and more.
As with all entities organizing public events in 2020, the Volunteer Center had to contend with adapting and re-envisioning their iconic annual events. Santa Cruz County Bank was among the key partners to help the Volunteer Center make this transition.
As a founding sponsor for the Volunteer Center Be the Difference Awards, a 17-year partner on the Human Race, and a longstanding promoter of our programs, we couldn’t have made the transition to virtual events last year without the expertise and staff investment from Santa Cruz County Bank.
— Christine Loewe, Director of Communications at the Volunteer Center
This incredible investment of community support from local businesses and the larger community has allowed the Volunteer Center to launch into 2021 with optimism for the road ahead.
The Volunteer Center kicked off the year with the start-up of their newest program “Stay Connected,” matching volunteers with older adults in need of access to community resources, safety information, and social connection.
The “Stay Connected” program enables local seniors to get matched with a friendly caller for regular phone communication and for help navigating community resources. More than 30 volunteers have stepped up to help launch this project.
“We chat with seniors on a daily basis through the various programs we run about a host of concerns including how they can get help with household services, safely get their groceries or find out more about vaccines,” Volunteer Center, Senior Programs Manager, Tara Ireland shared.
Often unspoken in these conversations is the simple desire to hear another voice on the line.
— Tara Ireland, Senior Programs Manager
Additionally, after partnering with the County and City of Santa Cruz last summer to connect nearly 2000 volunteers with fire recovery support, the Volunteer Center is once again working with the County to enlist volunteers to support vaccine clinics and hundreds have stepped up to offer support with this effort.
“As we continue to manage and find balance with the daily rigors of pandemic life, we remain committed to helping community members connect and give each other hope through programs like “Stay Connected” and the vaccine clinics. Together, we can fight the impacts of this pandemic and ensure that no one has to wade through this process alone,” stated Loewe.
- Partner with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County: Learn more about the Volunteer Center, the “Stay Connected” program, Vaccine Clinic volunteering, and their family of 20 programs by visiting scvolunteercenter.org.
- Reach Out: 831-427-5070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sustain Volunteer Center Programs: scvolunteercenter.org/sustain-our-efforts
More about Santa Cruz County Bank
Santa Cruz County Bank is a leading lender in the county, region, state and nation. Most recently, the Bank ranked in the top 10 lenders in the San Francisco District of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for both the number of loans and the dollar amount of SBA loans. The San Francisco District runs from Santa Cruz to the Oregon border along the coast and includes all Bay Area counties.
The true value of community banks has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic.
When the CARES ACT Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was first announced, Santa Cruz County Bank’s employees sprang into action to develop a secure portal for pre-applications before the program was rolled out by the government. Their early response made it possible for business owners to get in the queue for funding to keep their employees on the payroll and their businesses operating during the pandemic. In hindsight, it was a race against time.
Santa Cruz County Bank has the resources and lending capacity to help bring your business to the next level. We look forward to continuing to assist in the recovery and reopening of local businesses. We are here for the community with all our heart and soul.