Safe Haven Drop-In Center Publishes Cookbook

In Photo: Pictured is Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health peer support specialist Valerie Strirling with copies of the first edition of the Safe Haven Cookbook. (Submitted Photo)

The Safe Haven Cookbook is now available for sale. All book sale proceeds will benefit Safe Haven Fund, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 formed under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Colusa County.

A number of volunteers have worked for several months compiling a collection of 150 recipes now published in the Safe Haven Cookbook.

A group of volunteers including peer support specialist Valerie Stirling, Elizabeth Gould-Benjamin, Jennifer O’Brian, Jeanne Irons and Behavioral Health publicist Kathy Craigo reviewed and selected the recipes for the cookbook.  Gould-Benjamin and O’Brian did the typing and proofing.

The Center which opened at 131 5th Street last March is open to the public from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. It provides a safe, non-judgmental place for people to gather and participate in a number of projects and programs offered there.

Often times, it serves as a place were people can gather, visit, play board games or have a hot meal to share with others rather than eat alone.

The center’s physical building and utilities are provided by Prop 36 Mental Health Services Act funding, but all activities and day-to-day operations are funded through donations and special fundraising projects such as the cookbook development and sales.

Stirling and Mental Health Services Act coordinator Dereck Parks maintain offices at the center.

Stirling said that since the center opened at its larger facility last March there has been an increase in participation. “We welcome anyone from the community,” she said. And in turn, the community has been very generous to the center.

Stirling said while the center relies solely on donations for daily operation, it has been a blessing that so many people have stepped up and shared with the center.

Stirling added that the center represents having a family and a home to many of the people who come there.

Walking through the building it is not uncommon to see people gathered around the commons area table for a game of cards or enjoying a snack or just visiting.

“Many things we take for granted when we go to our own homes, are a luxury to some who visit the center,” she said.

 “Safe Haven’s move to the larger facility has been a very positive step in meeting the needs of the community,” said interim Colusa County Behavioral Health Director William Cornelius.

“Self sustaining projects such as this one is helping to maintain the strength of the programs and the essential outreach being accomplished there,” he said.

Parks agreed, saying he could not be more pleased with the success and the growth he is seeing with the center.

“This is our first major fundraising project and we hope that it is just the first volume for an ongoing series of cookbooks,” said Stirling.

The books are available for $8.99 each at Safe Haven Drop-In Center, or by contacting Stirling at 458-0856. ■

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