PASO ROBLES — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend daily life. With the giving season underway, people looking for ways to help locally have a new online resource — Paso Gives.

Paso Gives was launched by the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce on its #PasoStrong webpage on what seemed to be the most appropriate of days, Giving Tuesday.

Forty groups that provide special services during the holiday season, such as Toys for Tots, Thanksgiving for Paso Robles, the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles, and Coats for Kids, are highlighted on Paso Gives tab at www.pasostrong.org. Each is featured in a humanitarian mosaic.

The Chamber helped rebrand and put a digital spin on A Day of Giving Thanks for Those Who Give, an already long-standing North County gathering of like-minded community groups. Dr. Douglas Major, a Paso Robles optometrist, helped start it roughly 20 years ago. The goal was and continues to be to make the holidays brighter for people.

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“About 20 years ago, I was asked to put together and coordinate and host an event we call the Day of Thanks for Those Who Give,” said Major in the introductory Paso Gives video. “At this breakfast meeting, we attempted to get all of the nonprofits particularly those associated with the holidays, service clubs, faith communities and civic leaders all in the same room to coordinate efforts to make the holidays wonderful for our citizens, but also just to collaborate and synergize between the specialties of the different groups. It’s turned out to be a very, very effective way of connecting.”

Major explained that moving online was needed due to the pandemic and found the perfect partner in the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.

“This year, particularly with COVID, we had the opportunity now to share this with the public,” Major said. “I would hope that you’d spend a little bit of time, as a member of our community, and look at all the good that is going on. I think that it will gratify your heart like it gratifies mine.”

Paso Robles Chamber CEO Gina Fitzpatrick said she was “ecstatic” when Dr. Major reached out regarding this project.

“Our community has a strong presence of nonprofit and charitable organizations and supporting their efforts is a great passion of mine,” Fitzpatrick said. “#PasoStrong strives to unify our community and collaborating with Dr. Major’s efforts was the perfect partnership to showcase the heart of our community through a digital platform.”

Major encourages people to look at the videos and information about each group available at Paso Gives. Of course, he hopes people will take additional steps afterward.

“Maybe in the process, you’d be able to locate some group that the message or the mission meets your ideas of service,” Major said. “Be a part of the solution. Be a part of bringing unity to the community of Paso Robles.”

The #PasoGives campaign kicked off on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and will be promoted throughout December.

Dr. Major and the Paso Robles Chamber know there are more than 40 area groups that help people. The Chamber wants to include as many charitable organizations as possible on Paso Gives. For more information on participating, email pasostrong@pasorobleschamber.com.

“We look forward to growing the #PasoGives campaign and hope that you will help us support the good in our community,” Fitzpatrick said.