facebook tracking pixel Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions | TheUnion.com

Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer
Scooter's Pals founder Susan Wallace and one of many dogs helped by the last-chance dog rescue organization.
Submitted to The Union

Get involved

Fire Safe Council: Sign up to volunteer at http://www.areyoufiresafe.com/volunteer, or contact Julie Siegenthal at programs@areyoufiresafe.com

Scooter’s Pals: Contact Scooter’s Pals at 530-350-2099, or visit them online at http://www.scooterspals.org

NEO: Contact NEO staff at 530-470-3869, or email them at info@ncneo.com. Donations can also be made through http://www.neoyouthcenter.org

Hospitality House: Visit http://www.hhshelter.org/giving, or reach out directly to Ashley Quadros at 530-798-8448

To view Nevada County volunteering opportunities in general, volunteerhub.connectingpoint.org

For Nevada County nonprofits, daily operations have seen significant changes during the pandemic, from reductions in staffing to transitions into a virtual space — but one thing that hasn’t changed is the support they have received from volunteers in their community.

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County has continued its efforts to prevent wildfires by organizing a free residential green waste disposal event, set to occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday until June 27.

The event is planned to occur simultaneously at sites in Grass Valley, Penn Valley, and Alta Sierra. More information on the event can be found at http://www.areyoufiresafe.com/programs/green-waste.

Julie Siegenthaler, secretary of the Fire Safe Council, said it has received a sizable response to the call for volunteers for the event. She was happy to report that all shifts have been filled for the days this week. However, it’s still seeking volunteers for all dates in upcoming weeks.

With regards to COVID-19-related concerns from those interested in volunteering, Siegenthaler said the Fire Safe Council has designed the training and set-up for the event to include distancing measures, “no-contact” collection, and face coverings.


At Grass Valley animal rescue and aid organization Scooter’s Pals, more people are volunteering to help than ever before.

According to Susan Wallace, the founder of Scooter’s Pals and a volunteer herself, members of the community have increasingly volunteered foster care for dogs, which she observed may be related to people spending more time in their homes.

Wallace shared that her inspiration to do this work came out of respect for her mother’s longtime animal rescue work, a motivation which hasn’t waned even during this difficult time.

She explained that finding foster families and permanent homes for the dogs remains an urgent task, saying, “We like to take in dogs which we feel wouldn’t survive if we didn’t take them in.”

Wallace and her fellow Scooter’s Pals volunteers have had to change some protocol, from physically distanced and mask-protected home visits during adoption evaluations to limiting their dogs’ veterinary and dental visits to urgent appointments.

However, they are continuing their efforts to rescue dogs, relying on online social platforms to get the word out to potential foster families and volunteers of other kinds.

“With social networking and videos, we have such things available to us that we never had before, which is an enormous blessing for these dogs,” said Wallace. “People come out of the woodwork to help when we share the data right, which is so heartwarming.”


NEO, a youth center offering social and mentorship activities to those aged 11 to 25, normally operates with the help of a large team of both youth and adult volunteers.

However, according to co-founder and director of operations Lynn Skrukrud, the current closure of NEO’s physical space has changed the way that members of the community are able to offer their support.

As all of its activities have moved online, the organization has still received help in the form of contributions to care packages for the youth and remote support in checking in on NEO members through phone calls.

“We are still always looking for volunteers,” said Skrukrud.

For Hospitality House, the COVID-19 stay-at-home order has also put distance between the people it serves and the volunteers who support it.

In order to protect everyone involved, Hospitality House has suspended all volunteer activity involving foot traffic into the shelter. This has presented a challenge, because much of the food preparation in the shelter was normally facilitated by volunteers.

In response, Chef Chris Fagen, who normally teaches a culinary job training program at the shelter, stepped up alongside several homeless guests into the full-time role of preparing daily meals for nearly 100 people.

“Our volunteers do so much for us, and we’re definitely feeling that absence right now,” said Hospitality House development director Ashley Quadros.

However, Quadros emphasized that many have continued to find ways to help out, either financially or through the donation of much-needed items. In fact, a couple of community members have offered to match donations made to the shelter during this month, up to $25,000.

Hospitality House updates its website each week with a list of their most-needed items. The list can be viewed at http://www.hhshelter.org/giving/donate-food-clothes-or-other-items.

“Even though we’re losing our volunteers in person, they’re still helping us very much from afar,” said Quadros. “We feel really fortunate that we have an amazing community which continues to help those in need.”


Regional housing trust fund in the works for Nevada County

Nevada County looks to emphasize smaller units

No fears of housing density among planning officials

COVID-19 protocols strain Nevada County homeless shelter’s budget

Tenants, landlords arrange payment options during COVID-19 eviction ban

Patchwork of tenant protections intact for now

The high cost of homelessness in Nevada County

Nevada City collaborates with county and nonprofits to move campers off Sugarloaf Mountain

Nevada County housing market sees increased demand, limited inventory

‘I may have now but I might not tomorrow’: No uptick in Nevada County homelessness amid COVID-19, but future concerns linger

Nevada County graduates consider options in wake of COVID-19

Nevada County students receive more than $800,000 in scholarships

Graduating seniors in Nevada county weigh financial, academic concerns for college

Career education program adapts to meet needs of students

‘I just want to play’: Players, coaches, ADs and officials eye safe, speedy return of high school sports

‘Should I jump into a career?’ Many questions remain for students, teachers and administrators as the future draws nearer

Nevada County middle schoolers, high school underclassmen unsure what to expect next year

Support systems for Nevada County teens go virtual during pandemic

Sierra College summer enrollment not slowing

‘The best they could’: Nevada County Superintendent of Schools reflects on the school year, ponders what’s to come this fall

‘I can’t see the bottom now’: Administrators consider where and whether to make layoffs amid revenue shortage

‘These kids want to ball’: Youth sports organizations grapple with tough decisions regarding COVID-19 safety

Hamstrung: Nevada County summer sports scene hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County theaters go dark for the year

Movie theaters struggle to cover rent, utilities in an industry that typically operates with narrow profit margin

‘Planning for all of it’: Nevada City Film Festival moves online for this year’s event

Nevada County’s music festivals look to virtual events to build community, recoup finances

For Nevada County musicians, the show goes online

Nevada County artists adapt, host online galleries, concerts and workshops

Street fair cancellations in Nevada City, Grass Valley a huge economic hit

‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling

Who’s zooming whom? Creativity among Nevada County artists in the pandemic era

Nevada County Arts Council receives $112K Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education grant for new project

Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy

Nonprofits struggle to serve clients during pandemic shutdown

Nevada County animal rescue groups see surge in fosters, adoptions

Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening

Possible postponement, cancellation of Nevada County Fair would negatively impact several Nevada County nonprofits

Local nonprofits feeling the effect of canceled, postponed fundraising events due to COVID-19

Feeding Nevada County: Effort to help those hungry bolstered by partnerships between nonprofits (VIDEO)

Nevada County youth organizations adjust to public health requirements

Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions

‘Do you have reserves?’ Still much uncertainty over how nonprofits will fare in coming months, years

Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County, cities collaborate to reopen safely

Wildfire prep in Nevada County continues virtually during pandemic

‘This is why we signed up’: Librarian, homeless shelter manager continue working during pandemic

Financial aid offers much-needed relief in western Nevada County for those who can get it

Grass Valley trims staff in response to COVID-19 shutdown

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

Nevada County property tax on par despite pandemic

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Hospice of the Foothills continues providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 crisis

Senior care facilities on lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Nevada County senior living communities staying connected

‘Continue to plan and prepare’: Hospital analyzes finances, anticipates federal funding to ensure financial stability

Nurses in Nevada County and the region talk about why they love their jobs

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed COVID-19 case data

Officials: Testing is key in calls to reopen in Nevada County, across California

Nevada County doctors change approach to providing care due to COVID-19

The trifecta: Public health experts recommend testing, contact tracing and supported isolation to phase into a reopened world

Investigating the impact: Lack of revenue, uncertain return date causes concern for arts and entertainment venues

Impacts of Idaho-Maryland mine to be revealed soon

Nevada County artists discuss how COVID-19 shutdown has affected them

‘The arts are essential’: Center for the Arts launches emergency relief fund

Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

No slowdown seen in Nevada County construction industry despite COVID-19 lockdown

Nevada County government, home improvement and real estate representatives talk business during COVID-19

‘I’d like to place an order’: In light of COVID-19, the demand for home delivery services in Nevada County is at an all-time high

Grass Valley, Nevada City first to feel COVID-19 economic hit

See you soon? Small business owners struggle, but are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow in Nevada County

Nevada County businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Nevada County health care providers pivot on financial tight rope

‘A sudden and dramatic downturn’: Nevada County economy will be hurt for longtime following coronavirus slowdown, expert says

‘A recession, let alone a depression’: Western Nevada County businesses apply for federal loans, but most have yet to receive money

Nevada County businesses, governments, nonprofits navigate uncertain times, worry what’s ahead




Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.