Volunteers Give Back

Veggie Tales

Felicia James likes mushrooms. She really, really likes mushrooms.

“They’re dear to my heart,” she says. “I just happen to really like them. I’ve been Team Mushroom for the last few years.”

James is planning to vote for her favorite fungi again this year as part of Food Literacy Center’s Veggie of the Year, an annual contest during Food Literacy Month in September where students and the public vote for their favorite vegetable and partake in events that include cooking demonstrations with local chefs.

Sharing is Caring

Lynn and Virgil Nelson have had 17 different people live in their home over the past several years. They don’t run a boarding house. They are home sharers, people who offer unused space to those who need a place to stay.

“It’s not a weird idea, it’s a proven model,” Lynn says, citing 47 home-share organizations across the U.S. “We’ve had the personal experience of how enriching it can be.”

The Nelsons have always been ready to help others. Virgil is a retired American Baptist pastor and the couple traveled the world as missionaries. When they settled in Roseville seven years ago to be closer to grandchildren, they saw the need for affordable housing and realized they could make a difference.

Branching Out

When people see a bonsai plant, they’re amazed and want to touch it to see if it’s real,” Lucy Sakaishi-Judd says. “They’re flabbergasted by how small it is. The viewing of it is to see the beauty.”

Sakaishi-Judd is president of the Sacramento and Sierra bonsai clubs and a member of the American Bonsai Association, Sacramento. She is also a member of Bonsai Sekiyukai and Satsuki Aikokai, which specialize in Japanese Azaleas. She oversees one of the most impressive bonsai collections in California. Her Rocklin property is a labyrinth of greenery, with hundreds of bonsai plants crowded on workbenches, shelves and swiveling displays.

Dressed For Success

If you need it, we’re here to serve.”

This is the motto of Brent Sorlien, lead pastor of Southpointe Christian Center on Stockton Boulevard. Southpointe has served the South Sacramento community since the 1950s—it will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2025—and recently received some help of its own.

Last summer, Southpointe was chosen from approximately 2,200 entries to receive a Lowe’s 100 Hometowns grant as part of the home improvement retailer’s centennial. The grant allowed Southpointe to update its clothes closet, which serves hundreds of people each week along with its on-campus food closet. The home improvement chain provided materials and labor.

Playing For Keeps

If you are interested in music and making new friends, James Broderick has a perfect opportunity.

Broderick is volunteer coordinator for the Sacramento chapter of Guitars for Vets, a national nonprofit that provides free guitar instruction to struggling veterans.

“The vets we serve have been referred to us by counselors and therapists at the VA and lessons are held at VA facilities,” Broderick says. “Few of the vets we teach have any musical experience. For the most part, we’re talking raw beginners.

“Our goal for 2022 is to expand our volunteer corps dramatically and unleash an army of guitar players upon the world.”

Nailing Down Hope

When Denise Rochelle McCoy dons a pink hard hat in March to participate in the annual Women Build event for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, it will bring back memories. McCoy wore a hard hat to build her own Habitat house in 2015, when she took the leap into homeownership.

“I was renting a one-bedroom apartment in a challenging neighborhood where there was a lot of violence after losing my job,” McCoy says. “I thought, am I ever going to get out of this? It took three years of research, cleaning up my credit and saving money for a down payment, but I finally purchased my current property through Habitat for Humanity in 2015.”

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