City of Ukiah, California

Police Department

Safety · Professionalism · Community Service

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The Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort Needs Our Help

For 65 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 for another Christmas season to continue the tradition of service.

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 for children to give to needy families.

Over time the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort grew and was later managed by our local Soroptomist Club. Soroptomist Shirley Grover, a secretary at the Ukiah Police Department, helped spearheaded the effort. She said the Christmas Effort gave to families who would otherwise have nothing and she made it clear to everyone that this effort was "her Christmas, her baby." Until she passed away last year, she worked year round to make it happen.

After she retired from the police department, Shirley worked part time for the Redwood Empire 12th District to help pay for the use of the largest building in Ukiah to house the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. She also made sure the Christmas Effort was structured to last a lifetime: she obtained non-profit status for the organization and developed a board of directors.

Although our community has lost Shirley, her legacy now lives on through the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. Today, the Christmas Effort has a new, energized and committed board of directors, and they hope to receive funding and support to serve 350 families in need this Christmas season.

But to do this, they need your help – and your donations.

They need funding for the purchase of turkeys, stuffing, cranberries and all the other food needed for a complete, fresh, nutritious Christmas dinner. And the Christmas Effort needs 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. These financial and gift donations are accepted by the Christmas Effort throughout the year, and can be stored until the Christmas Season.

In addition to donations, the Christmas Effort could really use your help in organizing, preparing and distributing packages. On Christmas Eve morning, starting at 6:00 am, perishables are packed and final preparations are made for Christmas Effort deliveries starting at 8:00 am. 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