Small business owners Michelle Perkins and Autumn Poortinga are giving back to their community, with the help of other creatives and small businesses in Calaveras and Amador counties.
What began as an impromptu fundraiser to help out the Bret Harte High School water polo team is now on its way to becoming a tri-county nonprofit charity group, with one raffle fundraiser and a holiday-themed craft fair under its belt. CalCo Giveback Pack’s second raffle fundraiser is underway, with a basket filled with goods donated from Perkins’s and Poortinga’s businesses, along with a few dozen others from throughout the area. The group also is hosting an online auction, which began Dec. 1 on their Instagram page, and on the Better World nonprofit fundraising website, betterworld.org. All of the funds raised by the group’s efforts go to the charity of choice for the month.
CalCo Giveback Pack describes itself as “a group of local artists and/or local businesses coming together to show love and support to members of Calaveras County,” though Perkins also expressed interest in eventually expanding benefits to neighboring counties of Amador and Tuolumne.
According to the group’s social media posts, their first fundraiser effort raised an impressive $1,847 for the Bret Harte water polo program. It started with a social media post by Poortinga on Oct. 10, asking for support for the water polo team. Poortinga and Perkins put their brains together to come up with a fundraiser, utilizing their connections from networking over years of owning small craft-based businesses. By the end of the month, they had raised over $1,800.
In November, they held a holiday-themed craft fair, featuring many of the same businesses who contributed to the raffle and auction the previous month. This event was created to raise funds for the CalCo Giveback Pack, in order to cover some of the costs associated with putting on the fundraisers and administration, which had previously come out of their own pockets. They also hope to pay for an application for nonprofit status, which they are working on now.
The current raffle basket will benefit Hospice of Amador and Calaveras, in recognition of National Hospice Month, which happens every November. Perkins said they receive recommendations from the community for which organization or cause to benefit and base their choice off of those. The public is encouraged to submit nominations for “who they think needs help” on the CalCo Giveback website.
Perkins says they received “quite a few” for hospice. She also says that since they have been working with Hospice of Amador and Calaveras, she has realized they do so much more than just end-of-life care.
“I didn’t realize how many services hospice offers,” she said, some of which include emotional and spiritual support, grief support for family members, and health-related services including nutritional guidance, pain, and symptom management, and 24-hour, seven-days-a-week availability of a hospice nurse and physician, according to the Hospice of Amador and Calaveras website. All of this is available regardless of income or ability to pay for care. They also have a Vet-to-Vet program, which pairs local veteran volunteers with veteran patients in hospice care.
According to Hospice of Amador and Calaveras, “In 35 years, we have never turned down a patient due to inability to pay. Funding comes from our Hospice thrift stores in Jackson (Amador County) and Angels Camp (Calaveras County), as well as private donations and ongoing fundraising efforts.” The CalCo Giveback Pack fundraiser will provide hospice donations for each patient as well as employee appreciation, Christmas decorations, and more.
Perkins says that they have already been able to make the first donation to hospice, giving each patient “a tree and some other amazing goodies donated by members of the community in memory of their loved ones.”
The raffle basket includes items from local crafters and businesses including tumblers from Perkins’s business Tolalu Creates, resin art by My Resination, earrings from Wanderlust Body and Bath (owned by Poortinga), a gift certificate from Sierra Nevada Adventure Co., redeemable for two one-day snowshoe rentals or a one-day standard kayak or a standard paddleboard rental. Additional items include Rencarie candles, Singleton farms soaps, Color Street Nails by Polished Darlings, a handmade snowman sign, and other handmade and seasonal goods.
Raffle tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Spence Ranch Feed & Supply in Angels Camp, or by contacting Michelle Perkins or Tiffany Moncada. The basket is also available for viewing at Spence Ranch and Feed. An online auction will be held from Dec. 1-18, with proceeds benefiting Hospice of Amador and Calaveras. To learn more about CalCo Giveback Pack, follow them on social media or visit their website at https://calcogiveback.wixsite.com/calco-giveback-pack.