Valley Churches United (VCU)

As anniversary gifts go, the good stuff comes later in the relationship. The traditional first anniversary present is paper, the 10th anniversary is tin or aluminum, and the 16th anniversary brings wax or silverware.

The folks at Valley Churches United (VCU) are skipping straight to the gems as they celebrate their 40th year of service to the community with a Ruby Gala on Friday, Sept. 22.

Executive Director Lynn Robinson wants to dazzle donors with an evening of great food, drinks and entertainment starting at 6pm at Roaring Camp’s Bret Harte Hall, and VCU is pulling out all the stops to ensure a good time.

Bruno’s Bar & Grill is catering the event, Hallcrest Wines and Faultline Brewery will be pouring selected varieties of wine and beer, the Joint Chiefs will get the dance floor hopping, and local favorite Bob Slawinski will conduct a live auction. The event will be emceed by former KSBW reporter Phil Gomez, who has been a long-time supporter of the nonprofit.

Robinson is ready to shine a light on the good works of her agency and its many helping hands.

“We traditionally do our holiday programs at much smaller venues, so we’re looking forward to celebrating with the community at a beautiful, open space like Bret Harte Hall,” she said.

In addition to the evening’s events, Robinson said a few local heroes will be recognized as Angels of the Year by VCU.

“We usually acknowledge our volunteers at an annual appreciation luncheon, but this year, we want to give special recognition to three people who have really made a difference in the community,” she said. “The Ruby Gala is an opportunity to celebrate all the work that VCU does to help our neighbors year-round, and to show the impact our volunteers have on our clients. It’s a way to demonstrate the circle of gratitude that exists with Valley Churches—it’s the basis of neighbors helping neighbors.”

Robinson laments that, after 40 years, VCU’s services are needed more than ever. 

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were no longer needed?” she mused.

VCU has long had a food pantry available for those in need, and are renowned for providing various types of support for anyone down on their luck.

“There’s an ebb and flow as to what the biggest need is during any given month, and we strive to meet the needs of the community with the year-round support of our donors. Many of our volunteers used to be recipients of our services, and it’s wonderful to see it all come back around,” said Robinson, who acknowledges that it’s the community that makes and keeps VCU moving forward. “We do the work for the community, but it’s really the community that keeps us going.”

There’s no rest for the good, said Robinson, who notes that, just after the Ruby Gala, VCU’s holiday elves will start stocking shelves for the Christmas Project, a tradition that ensures that every family in Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley will have gifts to exchange. 

“Whatever the need of the community, we are here to serve them,” said Robinson, who has been with the agency for over eight years.

The holiday boutique is carefully curated by a group of volunteers who staff the shop starting in early November; sales continue until Christmas Eve. 

But before holiday bells start ringing, Robinson hopes the community will turn out at Roaring Camp on Sept. 22.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout and an opportunity to come together and celebrate. We haven’t gotten to do that for so long, and that’s part of the excitement. We’re eager to say hello to old friends, welcome new ones, and introduce our work to a new generation,” she said. 

She’s especially thrilled that Danny Reber, Board Chair, has been helping to plan the event. 

“Danny’s enthusiasm for our work is unmatched, and we’re grateful for his guidance and support,” Robinson said.

Whether you’re decked out in head-to-toe sequins or jeans and Uggs, come celebrate the success of VCU’s community support at the Ruby Gala on Friday, Sept. 22, at Bret Harte Hall at Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton. Visit for tickets and information.

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Christina Wise covers politics, education, art & culture, and housing issues. She has a degree in Communication from San Diego State University, and has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley since 1996. She's a community advocate and a mother of two.


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