City of Ukiah, California

Police Department

Safety · Professionalism · Community Service

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Sixty-Eight Years of Caring

For 68 years, volunteers for the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort have provided needy families with food and gifts to celebrate Christmas. From turkey dinners to a few special gifts for each child, the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort’s goal is to serve as many local families as possible. Thanks to generous donations from our community, the Christmas Effort has brightened Christmas for thousands of people.

Right now volunteers are gearing up to continue this tradition of service for another Christmas season and they could really use our help.

It all started in 1948 when a parent sent a letter to a local school nurse expressing concern about the poor health of some of the students. With that letter the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort was born. In response to the letter, Jack Simpson, Bob Cannon and other Ukiah Valley School District teachers, principals and staff members began asking local merchants and families to donate food, clothing and gifts to give to the children of needy families.

Over time the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort grew and was later managed by our local Soroptomist Club. Soroptomist Shirley Grover, then secretary at the Ukiah Police Department, helped spearhead the effort. She said the Christmas Effort gave to families who would otherwise have nothing—and that tradition of giving continues today.  

After retiring, Shirley worked part time for the Redwood Empire 12th District to help pay for the use of Carl Purdy Hall, the largest building in Ukiah, to house the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. She also made sure the Christmas Effort was structured to endure for a lifetime by obtaining non-profit status and developing a board of directors for the organization.

Although Shirley passed away, her legacy lives on through the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. Today, the Christmas Effort has a new and very passionate president, Sheryl Graves, leading the way; and an energized board of directors committed to serving families in need this Christmas season.

But to serve all those in need, the Christmas Effort really needs our help—most importantly, monetary help.

Although any kind of help is appreciated, purchasing food and gifts for hundreds of families in our community requires money. Financial donations allow the Christmas Effort to share the good news with families, letting them know they’ll receive help this Christmas.

The Christmas Effort needs funding to purchase turkeys, stuffing, cranberries and the other food needed for a complete, fresh, nutritious Christmas dinner. They need funding for toys and other age-appropriate Christmas gifts. Their goal is to provide each child under 18 with two Christmas gifts valued at twenty-five dollars. The Effort also needs funding to cover insurance and other miscellaneous expenses that come with running this entirely volunteer-based organization.  

These financial and gift donations are accepted by the Christmas Effort throughout the year, but most importantly now during November, as they begin to plan this year’s effort.

In addition to donations, the Christmas Effort could really use your help in organizing, preparing and distributing packages. During the final two weeks before Christmas, the Christmas Effort will be open to organize and prepare packages for delivery. On Christmas Eve morning deliveries begin. The Christmas Effort always needs volunteers to help with the delivery of these very special packages, helping families from Potter Valley to Ukiah and Hopland.

Lastly, the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort is always looking for volunteers and those willing to serve on their board of directors.

You can contact President Sheryl Graves at (707) 272-9627 or The Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort also has a fantastic Facebook page:

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference this holiday season, the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort is a great place to start.

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: 


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Safety · Professionalism · Community Service