The Scotts Valley Kiwanis Club on Feb. 12 presented Norma Garcia, the owner of Auntie Mame’s, with a $950 check to replace outdoor canopies destroyed by a windstorm.
According to Kiwanis President Ray Gorski a member reached out to Garcia after the Jan. 18 storm. She was dismayed with the current state of their outdoor dining.
“Norma never asked for help, just honestly told a patron how she was doing, that they were challenged by outdoor dining without tents,” Gorski said.
The aforementioned member soon mentioned the issue in a meeting, hoping to find funds to support the cafe. The club couldn’t use funds from its treasury, as it is greatly depleted since their main fundraiser, Music at Skypark, was canceled this year. However, the treasurer announced he would give $50 dollars of his own money to Auntie Mame’s and many others decided to as well.
“We all chipped in some and put the word out to friends as well,” Gorski said. “In a few weeks, we individually raised $950… We’ve known Norma for years, she’s great, and we’re glad this worked.”
Gorski said that the Kiwanis of Scotts Valley, one of the largest nonprofit contributors in Scotts Valley, had met at Auntie Mame’s for breakfast once a week for several years.
Even though the group ceased its weekly ritual during the pandemic, many members felt the need to restore the outdoor dining area.
“We normally don’t do something like this, helping out a business, normally we sponsor scholarships and the music program at the high school,” Gorski said. “We pick up trash, that’s our normal community service stuff.”
Recently the Kiwanis have gotten creative to help Scout Pack 623 of SLV as their chartering organization. According to Tim Johnson, Kiwanis member and chartered organization representative for Pack 623, the Scouts were greatly impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex fires.
“Eight families lost their homes and the pack lost all of its gear, which was stored at the home of one of the Scouts… It was devastating both financially and emotionally for many adults and Scouts,” he said.
Without the treasury funds to help replace their equipment, Johnson turned to GoFundMe and started a campaign in late November. As of now, the page has raised more than $2,000 and Johnson hopes to reach $3,000 soon.