Happy New Year!

By Barbie Butz

I am thankful for the rain, even though it wasn’t as much as we hoped for. However, my plants enjoyed fresh, clean water from the sky instead of my hose!

Barbie Butz e1577383874121
Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com. 

I hope your Christmas was meaningful even though there had to be many changes. I talked to Bill Pluma from Toybank of Greater Paso Robles, and he reported that their organization distributed toys to approximately 545 families in that area. The organizers were on site at the Fairgrounds from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Of course, some of that time was spent on setting up and cleaning up the building they used. In normal times, when Coats for Kids partnered with Toy Bank, we had three days for set-up, distributed on one day starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. We were out of the building by 3 p.m. But, this year, Toy Bank had to limit the number of people in the building at one time, so it took many more hours to distribute.

Atascadero Loaves and Fishes was able to distribute their holiday boxes of food through their regular food distribution method and reached many families in the area.


As I reported earlier, Coats for Kids found it necessary to distribute in a different way, and we will be reviewing that in January. All in all, we are appreciative of our partners and supporters who joined in our effort to provide warm apparel for those families in need.

Our partners included our four north county cleaners, who cleaned donated, gently used items, free of charge, just as they have done for most of our 33 years of distributing. Next, churches and those working with the homeless population joined in our distribution efforts.

I plan to give a complete report and list those who helped as soon as we review the changes we were required to make due to COVID 19. We are all planning to be back in 2021, working together to provide an even better delivery of our holiday event.

Meanwhile, thanks go out to everyone involved this year in helping to make Christmas a little warmer and brighter for those in need.

Members of Quota Club of Atascadero took it upon themselves to distribute new hooded sweatshirts through Atascadero Unified School District to children who were identified as having a need. They also delivered several gift cards for food purchases to identified families.

I know there were many other organizations and individuals offering help to those who needed it. Our north county is a very loving, caring, and giving community of people, and I’m thankful that I live here.

I know our food industry folks are having a difficult time making ends meet and are trying to come up with changes to the way they do business. One of our favorite caterers, Pacific Harvest Catering, has set up a location at 84 Gibso, #4, in Templeton and delivers wonderful to-go meals on certain days of the week. Be sure to check their website at pacificharvestcatering.com for to-go menus. Let’s all try to help by checking the websites of our great restaurants and catering businesses.

We ordered a meal for Christmas Eve, and it was delicious. It included a beautiful pork tenderloin with an apricot-cherry sauce, two huge twice-baked potatoes, cauliflower-broccoli gratin, and fresh rolls with whipped honey butter.

There were only the two of us, so we ate leftovers all weekend. Yummy! Thanks, Dawn and Chef Seth White, for your cooking talent!

Happy New Year. Enjoy the rain if it comes!