BriarPatch Co-op Donates $28K to OSEC and Camp Fire Relief

BriarPatch donation to OSEC and Camp Fire relief

"Oh … my … God! Thank you!" exclaimed a teary-eyed Donna Raibley when Rebecca Torpie handed her a check for $14,130.37.

"It's our pleasure. We are so delighted to do this for you," said Torpie, who is the new marketing manager for BriarPatch Food Co-op.

In a quiet little ceremony in the offices of One Source Empowering Caregivers Thursday morning, Torpie presented the check on behalf of BriarPatch.

Each month, BriarPatch chooses a local nonprofit as the recipient of its CAUSE Round-Up at the Register Program. Under the program, BriarPatch customers opt in to "round up" their grocery bill to the next whole dollar.

CAUSE stands for "Change adds up, supporting everyone." Therefore, "it's the community really" that gave the money, Torpie explained.

One Source Empowering Caregivers was the designated beneficiary in November.

Furthermore, BriarPatch pledged to match whatever was donated to One Source with an equal amount to be given to the Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund, Torpie reported.

"This is the largest single donation OSEC has ever received," said an awestruck Raibley, who is the founder and executive director.

"That is incredibly generous!" said Carolyn Seyler, R.N., who was also overcome with emotion. Seyler is Raibley's administrative assistant.

One Source provides free, non-medical respite to 24/7 caregivers in Nevada County. Highly trained volunteer care specialists provide caregivers with up to four hours a week of "care free" time to take care of themselves while the specialists give companionship to care recipients, Raibley said.

"The outpouring of support from the North State — and the entire nation — has given us hope and encouragement," said Alexa Benson Valavanis, CEO and president the North Valley Community Foundation, which administers the Camp Fire Relief Fund in Butte County.

"We are deeply grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters in Nevada County, and especially BriarPatch Food Co-op," she said.

BriarPatch "Rocks"

Raibley could not say enough about how grateful One Source Empowering Caregivers is to BriarPatch.

Not only has BriarPatch made a "huge" one-time donation, the co-op has been a sustaining supporter of OSEC since the caregiver respite service launched in September 2016, she said.

"Briar Patch Food Coop has been instrumental in sponsoring the healthy food for our Volunteer Care Specialist Training Program, and sponsoring all the food and beverages for both our first and second annual HeART & Wine Galas," Raibley said.

"The Briar Patch Food Co-op not only promotes strong and sustainable community efforts, but they provide owner benefits and discounts, such as wellness tools, recipes and healthy cooking classes, healthy news ideas and information on green sustainable living," she noted.

Additionally, "BriarPatch is Nevada County's first commercial building that is certified by the U.S. Green Building Council-LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program," Raibley added.

New Marketing Manager in Town

Rebecca Torpie is so new on the job that BriarPatch had not officially announced her hiring at the time of the presentation, and she is still in the process of moving to Nevada County from Philadelphia.

Nevertheless, she leapt at the chance to present OSEC with BriarPatch's record-breaking community contribution. She said BriarPatch's largest donation before Thursday was about $6,000.

"This is our largest by two and a half times almost," confirmed Zach Bruce, confirmed BriarPatch's communications specialist.

A co-op consultant, Torpie said she has spent the last year researching and visiting co-ops on the West Coast. BriarPatch is a "power gorilla" of co-ops, she asserted.

She said she chose to move cross country for her new job because, "BriarPatch is such an incredible organization that not only has great leadership and treats its staff right, it does right by its community as well."

She concluded, "That's an awesome co-op to work for."

And Raibley couldn't agree more.

"I knew the check was going to be big, but this is even more than I hoped," Raibley said. "We are so, so grateful to BriarPatch!"

By Tom Durkin – Special to The Union December 17, 2018
Photo: One Source Empowering Caregivers Executive Director Donna Raibley, from left, shows off a $14,130.37 check from BriarPatch Food Co-op. Rebecca Torpie (center), BriarPatch marketing manager, presented the check, while OSEC Administrative Assistant Carolyn Seyler, R.N. (right) was overcome with shock and gratitude.

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