California Homemakers Association (CHA) is getting ready for their big fundraiser – their annual Super Bowl Sunday Tamale Benefit - at the end of this month, and many volunteers are needed to make deliveries, donate goods and make tamales at Frogsong in Cotati from Jan. 29 through Jan. 31. Last year the organization made 4,700 tamales and they are aiming to make over 6,000 this year.
“The benefit supports CHA’s Winter Survival Campaign,” says Erica Diamond, Operations Manager of the California Homemakers Association. “The campaign involves volunteers distributing warm winter clothing, coats, and blankets, performing Winter Watch check-ins on frail and elderly members, utility bill advocacy to prevent or stop shutoffs, and free-of-charge supplemental food distributions. These programs are a seasonal extension of the association’s ongoing self-help benefit program.”
Santa Rosa-based CHA is an independent, all-volunteer, private self-help membership association established in 2000. It was instituted by and for domestic workers, in-home care workers, temp and seasonal workers and other low-income service workers. CHA refuses government funds and offers a year-round eleven-point free-of-charge benefit program, which includes emergency food, clothing, a preventive medical benefit, legal advice and more, to deal with immediate survival needs so members can survive and organize to end the causes of poverty.
“We work to adjust poverty at its roots and do advocacy to adjust policies,” says Diamond. “For example, we organized to reduce rate increase for PG&E customers and advocated for overtime pay for in-home care givers and to help stop cuts to programs. We advocate changes in government priorities.”
The benefit program is built by members and for members with support from local merchants, professionals, students, congregations and other concerned community members who have joined with CHA.
“For many CHA members, the decrease in the number of jobs this winter season, Sonoma County’s rising housing costs, and the lack of recovery efforts from intense wildfires has made matters worse for these low-paid workers whose income already did not meet their expenses,” says Diamond.
Prior tamale making experience is not necessary, and volunteers can learn each aspect of authentic Mexican-style tamale making. Interested volunteers with a vehicle are also needed to pick up or drop off volunteers and supplies. Volunteers are also needed to make phone calls, assist with procurement of supplies, and for set up and clean up each day of the event, both in Cotati as well as other days throughout the week of Jan. 27 through Feb. 1. Interested participants are asked to call ahead of time to volunteer, so CHA can organize specific time frames during the all-day events.
“The tamale fundraiser is a great way for the community to come together and help support our winter survival campaign,” says Diamond. “A lot of our members need our support, and this is a big help.”
For more information or to volunteer, call CHA at (707) 591-9573.