On the road to a better life, event provides one-stop shop for resources


Published on October 18, 2018

Clothes. Haircuts. Medical screenings. Pet supplies. Help with food, healthcare and housing.

The third annual Placer Empowering People event earlier this month brought together resources from across different sectors - local governments, businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations - to help homeless residents and others in need. Residents like Bronwyn Manzer, who brought her 8-year-old granddaughter, Lacie, to the event for the first time in search of help for her family.

“We have a lot of challenges. For her benefit, I’m always looking for support to galvanize our family system,” Manzer said. She has been raising Lacie since the child was 6 months old.

While her grandmother zeroed in on clothing and medical services, Lacie was thrilled to comb through a box of pet supplies to find a Halloween costume for her small dog.

“That's perfect for her! That’s the perfect size!” her grandmother exclaimed when the girl settled on her final choice.

(On October 31, don’t be surprised if you see a tiny Darth Vader strolling the streets of Auburn and leading a slightly-furry chicken on a leash.)

Jesse Daws recently moved into a home after spending several months at the emergency homeless shelter in Auburn. Though he’d attended the event in past years, “Every time I’ve been here, there are new things,” he said. On this particular day he was able to get treatment for a sinus infection.

Karen Rowley came to the event on the lookout for some nice clothes. She is also now living in an apartment after spending eight months in the Auburn homeless shelter, having worked with both AMI Housing and Placer’s Whole Person Care program. She received a certificate in phlebotomy from Sierra College just a week prior to the event, and is now on the hunt for a full-time job - and a wardrobe to match.

“I was able to do it, but it took every bit of resources that they had. I went after everything that was available to me,” she said.

At the event, she chose a few nice shirts from a pile stacked high on a table. Bags of clothing were donated by the Society of St.Vincent de Paul, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Freedom Church.

“The whole table started out full,” said St. Vincent’s Geri Wuelfing, gesturing to a now nearly-empty table. “Everybody who took things was very sweet and thankful.”

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Placer Empowering People 2018