On Friday November 2nd, we continued a decades-long tradition of celebrating the harvest with two dozen of Santa Cruz County’s talented vintners and brewers, brilliant local chefs and culinary entrepreneurs, a brilliant local band, and a few hundred local residents. Collectively, we uplifted the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust’s vision of a community in which every person has access to the resources and opportunities they need to live a healthy life.

Ken Schwan graced the stage to kick off the live auction, acknowledging the power of community as a therapeutic influence in his ongoing recovery from a devastating motorcycle accident. “I heard this phrase on KPIG yesterday morning, and it’s stuck with me: ‘Keep your gratitude ahead of your expectations.’”

Ken’s encouragement to gratitude motivated a tremendous response; event guests contributed $16,700 in Fund A Need donations alone!! Altogether, we raised more than $70,000 that we will return to the Pajaro Valley community in small grants to local nonprofits that provide oral and mental healthcare and connect residents to other well-being resources. We’ll invest in families and children-focused and youth empowerment programming, because we want to grow a healthy next generation of Pajaro Valley residents. Through our Diabetes Health Center, we will continue to support community members to prevent the onset of diabetes and learn and use strategies to realize good quality of life despite living with the disease. And we will use our own King Community Room and other spaces to facilitate collaborative efforts that drive toward a community where every resident flourishes.

We are wholeheartedly grateful to the participating flower growers and floral artists, fermentation masters, culinary greats, generous sponsors, hardworking volunteers and exuberant guests. Together, in community, you demonstrated how unity + creativity + regionally crafted food & drink + love yields a powerful blend of assets to invest in good health and quality of life for all local residents. Thank you for supporting the Health Trust’s first two decades of work, in which 15,000 local individuals benefitted from services through our Diabetes Health Center and 174,000 community members participated in programs or accessed healthcare provided by one of our grantee-partner organizations. Together, we are a mighty force for fostering a healthy community.