As I’ve said many times since COVID-19 became a reality, those in the nonprofit world have been forced to use the “right side of our brains” more than ever. We have to continue our fundraising efforts to continue the good work we do within our communities.

Barbie Butz e1577383874121
Barbie Butz

When the Chamber had to cancel their famous “Tuesday Evenings at the Lake BBQs” due to the virus, we were all disappointed, since hosting one of the summer Tuesday events put another dent in our budgets.

However, the Chamber, along with a partnership with the Atascadero Kiwanis Club, came up with an excellent substitute idea. They called it “Band, Burgers, and Brew,” a drive-thru barbecue, and was presented to the public this week on July 28. The Kiwanis members prepared the burgers, and Wild Fields Brewhouse made root beer floats while members of the Central Coast Roller Derby “skated” the food out to your car in the Wild Fields Brewhouse parking lot from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We were thrilled with the success of the event. People just wanted to get out and try to get some normalcy back in their lives. It was a pleasure to work with the Atascadero Kiwanis members. We all hope to continue with this kind of event,” said Emily Reneau, President-CEO of the Atascadero Chamber. The Chamber and the Kiwanis Club will share proceeds from the event.


The event was sponsored in part by the City of Atascadero. Music was provided by the Duo Tones and was streamed live from the Chamber office.

I attended a webinar this morning, actually the first for Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County, where our membership was included. It was our regular Membership meeting for July. Member Janeen Schiff was the “technical conductor,” along with our president, Helen Robertson. I have to say that I was very impressed. I had no idea how it would work, and I admit that I am amazed by all the technology out there. (I still don’t understand the light bulb!)

There we were, 50 women, attending the meeting, following the agenda, voting on issues, and presenting awards that normally would have been presented back in May, during a luncheon at McPhee’s Grill in Templeton!

Speaking of awards, the following were “virtually” delivered, except for one, and that one went to a member from Atascadero. I’ll come back to that one.

Chris Pontius, 2019 recipient, presented the Gradys Fiske Flamingo Award to Deb Martin for her contributions and tireless efforts on behalf of our Assistance League Thrift Store located in SLO.

Chapter President Robertson presented the National Assistance League Ada Edwards Laughlin Award to Sue Pino, a former chapter president, who has been devoted to the Operation School Bell program and the Assistance League Thrift Store, putting numerous volunteer hours into both areas.

Sue’s husband, Ron, was recognized with a “Behind the Scenes” award for all of the volunteer time he gives to the Chapter.

The President’s Award, presented by Robertson, was given to Schiff to recognize the volunteer hours she has given to help the Chapter with technology. She has been a tireless volunteer at the thrift store through the years that it has been open.

A few years ago, the Board of Directors surprised me with the announcement that the Annual Barbie Leadership Award had been established in my name to recognize my work in initiating our Chapter and being our charter president. It is humbling to have an award such as that, but I am pleased to see the award continues to recognize the volunteer work of members of the Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County.

I head a committee that nominates and selects a recipient each year. Today, I attended the webinar at the home of Charlene Ables, where it was my pleasure to honor her with the award.

Ables was the Athletic Department secretary for Donn Clickard, Athletic Director at Atascadero High School, and when she retired, she joined the Chapter. That was in 2004, 16 years ago. During those years, she served as President from 2011 to 2013. She also served as Treasurer for three years. She now serves as Chairman of the Grants and Donor Development Committee.

Her willingness to give of her talents to support the Chapter and our mission and to support and nurture others so that they can be successful is what makes Ables a true leader.

Enjoy the weekend. Stay cool.