December 21, 2021 | Stories

New Fund Grants for Local Cancer Support

New Fund Grants for Local Cancer Support
Mari Rossi, Cathy Alameda and Tami Erickson at the annual Hope Harvest Festival, where proceeds go to their newly established fund at CFFSBC.

There are many events and lives that have intersected in order for Hope Harvest Cancer Fund to become a reality. What started as a Relay for Life team is now a happy fall festival full of beautiful scenery, unique vendors, yummy food and drinks, and of course, pumpkins!

For many years, Cathy Alameda participated in Relay for Life with the Casillas-Garner Family and Friends team in Hollister. This team is passionate and strong which is why after receiving cancer treatment Cathy, along with her husband Tony, decided to open a pumpkin patch with proceeds going towards their team and the American Cancer Society.

As the pumpkin patch grew in popularity and more donations were going to the American Cancer Society, Cathy and teammate Tami Erickson asked if a portion of their Relay for Life donations could be used locally. With Hollister’s population under 100,000 people, The American Cancer Society could not guarantee the money would stay local. After three years of requesting that donations be kept available for local cancer support, they decided to change the beneficiary of pumpkin patch proceeds to benefit local residents. “We thought it was fair because all of the donations from the patch were coming directly from our local community,” says Tami Erickson, who is an advisor on the Hope Harvest Cancer Fund.

While the donations from the Hope Harvest Festival stay local, Cathy, Tami, and Mari Rossi (the third advisor on the fund), still fully support the American Cancer Society and the hard-working Relay for Life team. In fact, the Casillas-Gardner Family and Friends Relay for Life team are imperative to Hope Harvest’s success. Tami recognizes that “we could not do it (Hope Harvest Festival) without them!”

The fund advisors all understand the hardships that face cancer patients after the initial diagnosis. Cathy believes “the disease is two-fold: you have the stress of trying to get well again, and you have the stress of the financial impact that the treatment has on the household." In 2021, they came to the Community Foundation to open a fund with the intent of helping other local cancer warriors with any financial burden they may be facing. The fund was established to provide financial assistance of up to $10,000 per household, for mortgage/rent, utilities, child care, food, and gas assistance. Setting up a fund at the Community Foundation allows grants to be awarded on an as-needed basis. It also ensures the donations stay within San Benito County and help those living in the community. Those interested in being considered for a grant can fill out an application here.

Next year’s Hope Harvest Festival is scheduled for September 24-25, 2022. It will be held at the San Benito County Historical Park, which is the perfect backdrop to this wonderful event. Mark your calendars to attend this festival full of pumpkins, food, local vendors, and a farmer’s market, all for a great cause!

If you would like to make a donation to the Hope Harvest Cancer Fund please do so here.

“I believe the disease is two-fold: you have the stress of trying to get well again, and you have the stress of the financial impact that the treatment has on the household." — Cathy Alameda

Hope Harvest Cancer Fund

And be sure to follow Hope Harvest Festival on Facebook or Instagram.