Contractors Caring for Kids Supports UC Davis Hospice Program May 4, 2011
Each year since 1995, a group of contractors in the Sacramento region, led by Michele Zumwalt of Folsom, Calif., has held a fundraiser for UC Davis Health System, collecting toys and monetary donations at a winter holiday event featuring food, games and prizes. The "Contractors Caring for Kids Toy Drive and Fundraiser" logo is a bulldozer loaded with holiday presents and toys. Now in its 16th year, the event is held at the Roseville Sports Complex. But the group does much more than collect much-appreciated holiday toys for children, including hundreds of bicycles. It is an important supporter of the UC Davis Hospice Program. In addition to toys, Contractors Caring for Kids has raised nearly $50,000 for the program, said Donald Lewis, a licensed clinical social worker who is the program's bereavement and volunteer coordinator. UC Davis' hospice program serves patients throughout the hospital of all ages who have less than six months to live and whose treatment is focused on palliative care and social services, to improve end-of-life quality of life. Contractors Caring for Kids is a lifeline for those patients, because many of them have children in their household, Lewis said. "We may have a 65-year-old grandparent who is our patient who is caring for grandchildren in their home," Lewis said. "Or, we may have a father in our program whose children can benefit from their donations."
Sarah Zumwalt, daughter of Contractors Caring for Kids founder Michele Zumwalt, gives Ron O'Connor, a building inspector for the city of Sacramento, a pie in the face at a Contractors Caring for Kids fundraising event
Lewis said that UC Davis Hospice one of the few academic hospice programs in the United States and the only program of its type in California. The donations were started by Michele Zumwalt, owner of Zumwalt & Associates, Inc., in 1995. That was the year when an employee experienced a fire at their home "We have always been impressed with how UC Davis Health System looks at the whole person and the whole family," Zumwalt said. "They may have someone who is in the hospice program but they are concerned about that person's children, the entire family," she said. Zumwalt said that there have been hundreds of construction companies involved in the fundraiser during the past 16 years. And donations haven't fallen off, despite the slump in the construction industry. "We've seen companies which have gone out of business, but still the employees and owners have returned to donate because they care about the charity and the needs it serves in our community." Anyone wishing to make a donation to Contractors Caring for Kids should contact Zumwalt at 1-877-825-4566.