Becoming Beloved Community Ministry Brings Smiles to Dunbar Elementary Students

St Patrick's Episcopal Church, Becoming Beloved Community Ministry
Posted Dec 22, 2020

Volunteers from St Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Kenwood, deliver Secret Santa gifts to Dunbar School on Monday, December 14.

The Becoming Beloved Community with Dunbar and Kenwood School ministry team delivered Secret Santa Gifts for 72 students to Dunbar School on Dec. 14. In the ongoing effort to build Beloved Community with our local schools, the team learned of an immediate need to fill all the Secret Santa gift requests at the school. Coordinating with Dunbar administrators the team purchased gifts to fill all the requests, wrapped the presents, and delivered them to the grateful school, on Monday, December 14. Kaleidoscope Toys in Montgomery Village partnered with the ministry team to provide and wrap the individual requests. Gift cards were also purchased to fill other requests. Smiling families picked up the gifts at the school on Friday, December 18. Laurie Boone-Hogen and Kerin Mctaggert led the endeavor. Funds for the gifts were donated by individuals, associated with St Patrick’s, and from community businesses and nonprofits.

Previously, BBC Schools provided WiFi Hotspots, Grocery Gift Cards, and Take a break Kits to the schools. A Becoming Beloved Community NOW Rapid Response Grant from The Episcopal Church was the initial funding for the ministry. A book drive to supply books to Dunbar Library and to Dunbar students to keep at home is beginning.

The Ministry team is very concerned about the challenges our neighbors are facing with the new Sonoma County Stay at Home orders and the subsequent closure of many businesses in the County. This shutdown will greatly impact our neighbors in the Dunbar Community. To meet that need the ministry is launching the Becoming Beloved Community Kitchen. The Kitchen will help families stock their food pantry. There is plenty of food available in Sonoma County. No one needs to go hungry in our community. The Kitchen will provide transportation to Redwood Empire Food Bank distributions, deliver food, and supply grocery store gift cards to help families meet this crisis.

The Becoming Beloved Community Ministry supports the children who attend two small elementary schools in our neighborhood, the Dunbar School in Glen Ellen and the Kenwood School in Kenwood. The children, who attend Dunbar School, come from mostly Latino families who work in the vineyards, wineries, and restaurants in our Sonoma Valley. These families are directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and suffer disproportionately due to their socioeconomic status. In addition to the layoffs from Covid business shutdowns, the problems have been intensified by this autumn’s raging fires in our area resulting in layoffs in the vineyards. In an article in our local paper, The Press Democrat, a headline expressed the raw emotion of one of the Latino workers, “There is no work. I feel very anxious, like I’m not serving any purpose.”

Due to the required Distance Learning, these children have not been able to attend in person school, but must have the technology in order to have access to the required learning. Given that in the Dunbar School, 82% of the children are below the poverty line and 58% are learning English for the first time, being at home, means that technology is either non-existent or misunderstood. Additionally, childcare is “baby-sitting” a number of children, not distance learning or engaging in enrichment activities. All this is on top of being food insecure! The same challenges exist in the Kenwood School, but with 25% below the poverty line and not quite as many learning English for the first time.

Please help us uplift our community and Love Our Neighbors by donating money to BBC, donating books to the BBC Book Drive, or volunteering to help with our BBC Kitchen. For more information and to donate money contact Laurie Boone-Hogen at