By Brittany Wesely
When Kelsi White began working with Sacramento medical marijuana dispensaries to run advertisements in News & Review, she knew that the collectives play a valuable role in the community. After five years of working with the dispensaries, she realized that although the cooperatives made their own individual charitable efforts, perhaps greater good could be done by working together.
White formed Collective Giving, a combined effort by dispensaries and their patients to improve the community through donations to charitable organizations. In winter 2013, Collective Giving introduced its first donation drive, collecting nearly 4,000 pounds of canned goods for the River City Food Bank. Collective Giving later launched a second drive in the summer of 2014 to gather $4,000 in cash donations for WeCARE! Community-Based Cancer Peer Navigator Program, an effort of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to provide support for newly diagnosed patients by trained survivors.
This winter, Collective Giving kicked off its third campaign to collect donations of hats, mittens and socks for Sacramento Loaves & Fishes to give back to the area’s most vulnerable population, the homeless.
Joan Burke, director of advocacy at Loaves & Fishes, says donations of knit garments makes a big difference for the people who take advantage of the services provided at the organization.
“Hats and gloves that are donated really make a difference in a person’s life,” Burke says. “The socks are especially important because most of our guests go everywhere on foot — walking many miles to get a meal or go to a doctor’s office.”
Hasina Holleman knows firsthand what this is like. For her, being a single mother is difficult. But being a homeless, single mother is harder. Holleman and her three daughters utilize many of the services at Loaves & Fishes and she says the donations to the organization allow her family to stay warm this winter.
“We get help with diapers, clothes and socks. My daughter, Kaliyah, goes to the Mustard Seed School. They give her clothes, jackets and rain boots,” Holleman says. “[The donations] will really help us because we never know how the season is going to turn out.”
The efforts of Collective Giving over the last two years have raised awareness, funds and tangible donations for members of the community who find themselves facing overwhelming challenges and have helped them get through difficult times. For White, this is the greatest success of the program.
“It’s amazing to see the dispensaries and their patients work together to collect donations for local charities through the Collective Giving program,” White says. “I’m continually inspired by their efforts and dedication to public outreach and education.”
By Brittany Wesely