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Celebration to commemoration: Red Cross thanks 2020 Gala supporters

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual American Red Cross San Francisco Gala event this year to protect the members of our community and guests. Under usual circumstances, the Gala is a moment when we honor both an outstanding corporation and a dedicated individual who have furthered the Red Cross mission in the Bay Area. Our 2020 Red Cross Philanthropic Company of the Year, The Clorox Company, and 2020 Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year, Chief Eric Reinbold of the Paradise Police Department, will be honored at our 2021 event. But we want to take a moment to recognize them now.

1-12553_clorox-company-logo-vectorFor over 40 years, The Clorox Company has stood with the Red Cross on the front lines of response, contributing more than $16 million in financial support, countless in-kind donations, foundation grants, and employee activism to help the Red Cross fulfill its mission whenever and wherever we are needed. Clorox has helped collect over 5,700 units of blood through office blood drives across the country, potentially saving over 17,000 lives.  Recently, the company launched a large national disaster preparedness initiative helping Red Cross inspire millions to prepare for disasters, and they donated $1,000,000 to the Red Cross response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold. Photo Andre Byik | Enterprise-Record

Police Chief Eric Reinbold of the Paradise Police department led the response and recovery efforts for the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest, most destructive fire in California’s history. On November 8, 2018, Chief Reinbold worked tirelessly alongside his officers to protect and evacuate Paradise’s 27,000 residents. Since the fire, Chief Reinbold has faced the massive challenge of maintaining the Paradise Police Department’s operations while simultaneously working to meet the ever-changing needs of his community.

We would also like to take a moment to recognize and thank our 2020 Gala Committee Chairs, Katie Anderson and Meredith Kendall Maines, and Committee members for their efforts in planning this signature event: Nisha Baxi, Luc Bergevin, Jim Bruels, Nikki Chang, Hillary Clark, Raleigh Clemens, Janou Gordon, Lindsey Haswell, Kathryn Holmes, Blakely Hull, RJ Jain, Sara Johnson, Veronica Juarez, Sasha MacFarlane, Rachel Manson, Lillian Phan, Nana Roper, Emily Ajao Tzouanakis, and Lauren Wolfe.

We look forward to celebrating our honorees and the work of the Red Cross with you at our 2021 Red Cross Gala!


To learn more about the work of the Red Cross during COVID-19, please click here.

For further questions regarding the Gala, please contact Pooja Klebig, Regional Special Events Manager.

Thank You to our 2020 Sponsors and Supporters

Gold Sponsors

Kathryn W. Holmes

Diane B. Wilsey

 Silver Sponsor


Bronze Sponsors

Alaska Airlines Logo




Arch Hoffman

JHA Strategies LLC
In Honor of Maria Angel




Exclusive Wine Partner


Liquor Partner


Exclusive Beer Partner


In-Kind Donors:

Al and Rosanne Clifford
Alaska Airlines
American Conservatory Theater
Bentley Heritage Estate Distillery
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Bricoleur Vineyards
Brown Estate Vineyards
Caymus Vineyards
Chef Fabrice and Jennifer Roux
Componere Fine Catering
Diamond Creek Vineyards
Djerassi Resident Artists Program
Domaine Carneros
Emily Ajao Tzouanakis & Adeyemi Ajao
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Gemstone Vineyard
Golden State Warriors
Gregory and Linda Rice
Grgich Hills Estate
Gundlach-Bundschu Winery
Heidi Barrett
Hotel Valencia Santana Row
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
iHeart Media San Francisco
Elizabeth Portraiture
Jeff Meunier
JL Imagination
Ken Perry
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Liberty School
Medlock Ames Winery
Michael and Janis Klebig
Mike Cunningham
Monte Bello Ridge Vineyards
Panhandle Mercantile
PEJU Winery
Pier 39
Ramey Wine Cellars
Raymond Vineyards
Ridge Vineyards
Saint Joseph’s Church Arts Society
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Opera
Schramsburg Vineyards
Scott Littman
Silicon Valley Capital Club
Silver Oak Cellars
Sports Basement
Standard Party Rentals
Ten Group
The Melt

Persevering during COVID-19

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A scene from a blood drive in March 2020. | Photo: American Red Cross

The 2020 Chabot College Nursing class was on track to graduate come May. A mere 65 additional clinical hours stood between the students and the culmination of two years of constant hard work. Once completed, all of the tears shed, the financial burden and the time spent would count for something; they would graduate with their Associate’s Degree in Nursing, propelling them into their future within the medical field. But as soon as COVID-19 started to rear its head in the U.S., hospitals began cutting preceptorships as a means to limit the potential spread of the virus.

Chabot nursing student Juan Emperado says, “our clinical group was one of the first ones to get booted out of our hospital.” Class president Nicole Labayog explains, “without our preceptorship, we are unable to graduate.” Gripped with the fear of having to put their career on hold for a year, the 2020 Chabot College Nursing class quickly rallied to find a means to graduate. “We wrote to the governor and department of consumer affairs,” tells Labayog.

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Our Farm to Table Dinner, cancelled because of the pandemic, would have taken place this Sunday


We’re still very grateful for our partners, sponsors, and other supporters who make this dinner possible — and look forward to next year’s event


Danny Lucas, a longtime captain with the Watsonville Fire Department, was to be honored at this Sunday’s Farm to Table Dinner.

The Farm to Table Dinner is a spectacular event, hosted annually by our American Red Cross chapter here in the Central Coast. Held in a beautiful outdoor setting, this family-style dinner is prepared by some of Northern California’s most preeminent chefs. This signature event provides guests with a special opportunity to celebrate our organization’s local impact and raise critical dollars for those programs, all while enjoying some of the finest offerings from local farms and wineries.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many weeks ago we made the decision to cancel our 6th annual dinner. It was to have occurred this Sunday, June 7, at the stunning Carmel Valley Ranch. Proceeds from the event this year were to have supported the lifesaving work we do in Blood Services.

As part of our event, the American Red Cross had selected longtime Watsonville Fire Department Captain Danny Lucas as the dinner’s special honoree. Danny, whose miraculous recovery following a near-fatal hunting accident last fall was made possible in part by the 24 units of blood he received during his lengthy hospitalization, returned home determined to help our chapter call attention to the constant need for blood donations. To read more about Danny’s story, please view this blog post. And, as this second post make clear, we owe Danny a big Thank You for his efforts.


Clockwise from upper left: Chef Tim Wood of Carmel Valley Ranch, Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro, Chef Fabrice Roux of ROUX and Chophouse, Farm to Table Event Chair Jennifer Roux, Chef Justin Robarge of Montrio Bistro, and Chef Tanya Matta of Carmel Valley Ranch.

Even though we were unable to hold this year’s dinner, I can’t help but publicly thank some of the people who had already done so much in an effort to make this year’s event successful. Thank you to Chef Tim Wood and Chef Tanya Matta of Carmel Valley Ranch, Chef Fabrice Roux of ROUX and Chophouse, and Chef Tony Baker and Chef Justin Robarge of Montrio Bistro for their generous donation of time and talents.

Our Farm to Table Dinner is also supported each year by a dedicated group of committee members, including our Farm to Table Committee Chair, Jennifer Roux, and committee members Anita Clerisse, Bill Cox, Brent Sepulvado, Joan Harlem, Dane Lobb, Lori Mazza, Tim Nylen, and Rayvon Williams. We also want to give special thanks to our sponsors for this year’s dinner (see below).

While this year’s Farm to Table Dinner had to be cancelled because of COVID-19, we have continued to support our communities during this pandemic. To learn more about that work, please click here.

In the meantime, please know that we are hopeful that we will be able to host our amazing dinner again next year. We will keep our community updated as soon as we have a better sense of what it will take to move forward.

Thanks again to all whose support makes it possible for our chapter, region, and the entire American Red Cross family to help so many!


  • Michele Averill is the CEO for the American Red Cross of the Central Coast.
  • For more information about the Farm to Table Dinner, please email our Regional Special Events Manager, Pooja Klebig.

Thank you to our 2020 Sponsors and Supporters!

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsors



Silver Sponsor


Bronze Sponsors







In-Kind Supporters:

Alaska Airlines
Albert & Virginia Becker
Beam Suntory
Bernardus Vineyards & Winery
Blake McCall
Bonterra Organic Vineyards
Bricoleur Vineyards
Eric Carmichael
Fetzer Vineyards
Fire on Wheels
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles
Harris Ranch
Elizabeth Portraiture
KB Farms
Laurel Glen Vineyard
Luli Wines
Mark Butler
Michael and Janis Klebig
One Hope Winery
Opus One
Pisoni Vineyards
Pebble Beach Community Foundation
Ridge Vineyards
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco Giants
Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association



A helping of hope: Red Cross joins community partners at local food distribution event


Red Cross volunteers load bags of groceries into the trunk of a car occupied by a San Benito County family in need of food assistance.

As California endures a third month of the COVID-19 outbreak and its many associated challenges, the American Red Cross has stepped up to provide hope and help wherever possible — including lending a hand to its community partners.

On Friday, May 22, workers from the Central Coast Chapter joined First 5 San Benito County to support a food distribution event in Hollister. During the COVID-19 shutdown, many families have struggled with a lack of income due to record unemployment; the food provided at these events is a vital resource for many who can no longer afford a trip to the grocery store. The day was a successful one, but tough, and required a lot of effort and coordination. Thanks to decades of experience in disaster response, the Red Cross was able to jump in and do what it does best: serve others. Read more

Project Roomkey – Red Cross leads the way to help most vulnerable fight COVID-19

By Debbi Behrman

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Marianna Thomas

In March, Marianna Thomas of the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region, received a call from Luke Beckman, Division Disaster State Relations Director for California. Luke needed someone with Mass Care expertise to develop hotel shelter training for state and local government partners to better manage isolation and quarantine for people experiencing homelessness. The non-congregate shelter sites, which are part of California’s Project Roomkey, include hotels, motels, and trailers. California was the first in the nation to receive FEMA funding to secure thousands of isolation rooms in hotels for our most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness with the intention to protect them from COVID.

Marianna is the Mass Care Co-lead (along with Laura Hovden) for the Northern California Coastal Region, as well as the lead for the National Mass Care Webinars, and the perfect choice. “My first reaction,” Marianna recounts, “was our expertise is with helping people in disasters, not helping people experiencing homelessness and putting them in hotels.”  American Red Cross is known for congregate sheltering (like in a high school gymnasium-style shelter), not non-congregate (one person per room) sheltering. Then she realized that the Red Cross is an expert in developing and delivering training and knows more about sheltering than just about any other organization. That’s how she came to lead the team who developed the non-congregate shelter training for partners.

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Northern California Coastal Region supports vets with comfort kits

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SAF Director Go Funai, Kathleen Lenihan, Marilyn Byington, Leeann Woodward, and Julianna Jaynes deliver comfort kits to the San Francisco VA Medical Center.  Photo: Nanette Shamieh | American Red Cross

The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered more than a few activities, but it has also spawned a number of opportunities. For example, shelter in place orders forced the canceling of several stand downs. A stand down is an event hosted for veterans where they can avail themselves of a variety of resources in one place. Resources include medical and dental treatment as well as haircuts in a safe and secure temporary environment.

Each veteran attending receives a comfort kit. These kits typically include a toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, shaving cream, razor, shampoo, etc. According to Kathleen Lenihan, a retired Army Officer and Service to Armed Forces volunteer, “Walmart and other generous partners donate money, goods or make the kits.”

And with the cancellation of stand downs, a number of kits that were going unused.

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