When Prodigal Sons & Daughters was in dire need of money in 2016, the Turlock community rallied to help them survive and continue supporting those facing addiction. Four years later as the coronavirus pandemic forces them to cancel their biggest fundraiser of the year, the faith-based recovery ministry is hoping for a similar outcome.
Due to the state’s restrictions on large-scale gatherings, Prodigal had to pull the plug on its annual dinner, which typically raises $25,000 to $30,000 for the nonprofit. According to marketing coordinator Kris Loera, the organization is operating at about a $50,000 deficit and has had to put a few of its programs on hold. The organization was in a similar hole in 2016, following a lack in donations and improper use of funds by a now-former executive, but had since recovered.
Prodigal’s services, which include one-on-one counseling, group meetings, art therapy, teen drug education and more, are utilized by hundreds of clients each month, and the ministry operates essentially on community-driven funds.
Loera said that now more than ever, these services are critical given the impact isolation can have on those struggling with addiction.
“After learning we had to postpone one of the two events we hold until next year, we were nervous but we didn’t lose hope,” Loera said. “We were more concerned about the people we would have to turn away given the pandemic and the isolation it was requiring.”
The annual fundraiser dinner is typically a special evening for the organization, where they thank donors, celebrate clients’ journeys and share success stories. It also helps spread the word about Prodigal throughout the community and gives those in attendance more insight about the nonprofit’s services and future goals.
As of right now, Prodigal is hoping the future is bright through a new, socially-distanced fundraiser which truly emphasizes the value of a dollar.
“With our fundraisers on hold, it became more apparent how one donation or even just a dollar could help many of our clients and change their life,” Loera said.
That’s where the name for the fundraiser came from, which asks the community to donate “A Buck for Change: Give a Buck. Change a Life.” Prodigal is hoping for a big turnout by asking the community to each donate just one dollar — or more if they can.
“Any dollar amount we receive here at Prodigal really does go far and that is what we wanted to emphasize,” Loera said. “It’s a donation request that is less than your early morning Starbucks run and still impactful.”
By visiting www.prodigalsonsadndaughters.org, community members can click to donate a dollar, or they can select a donation tier in order to give more and meet the nonprofit’s specific needs. The four tiers range from $50 to $500 (or more) and cover everything from helping purchase drug education materials for youth to assisting with building maintenance. Donations can be made online, in person at 352 E. Olive Ave. or by mail, PO Box 3303, Turlock CA 95382. Each donation comes with a yard sign to promote the campaign, which will be running into the new year with a goal of $25,000.
“Our mission is to provide hope and healing to all those who need it and our donors and donations are what allow us to provide that. Those who contribute allow us to successfully empower our members to achieve and maintain sobriety while encouraging others to do the same,” Loera said. “We believe a healthy individual has the power to raise a healthy family, which is why our services are geared towards youth and adults. Donating to Prodigal means providing a safe place for youth and healthier futures for our adults.”
“We continue to remain hopeful as our Turlock community has always believed in our mission.”