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Every Roll Counts: Napans step forward to help those with immediate needs

Every Roll Counts: Napans step forward to help those with immediate needs

From the Complete coronavirus coverage from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan series

Running out of toilet paper is one thing. Running out of food is entirely another. And this past week, some Napans found themselves facing the real possibility of both.

As word of the coronavirus began to spread, and shoppers began clearing store shelves of the basics, one group of Napans is perhaps the most affected in such an emergency, explained Heather Bailie, a volunteer.

Low-income residents, such as those who live in one of the 19 housing communities run by Napa Valley Community Housing (NVCH), may not have the same time and resources and ability to wait in line for a store to open, then drive to a second store to find bread or a third store to hopefully find the ever-elusive wipes or toilet paper.

“It’s not going to happen,” she said.

“Many residents are deeply impacted” by COVID-19 “and unable to obtain basic goods due to financial, age or mobility limitations,” she wrote in an email.

Bailie is a member of the current Leadership Napa Valley class. Members of that group, including Bailie, Mary Rezek, Jami Castro, Josh Schultz, Marisol Vargas and Kevin Hansen, had started a community project to help NVCH residents understand available emergency resources.

But with the arrival of the coronavirus, the group decided quickly to pivot their program from emergency prevention to emergency response.

On Saturday night the team launched Every Roll Counts! Napa Valley Community Housing COVID-19 Mutual Aid. 

“This is an immediate grassroots effort to source essential food and supplies for the residents at all NVCH apartments until greater aid becomes available,” said Bailie. “Our main goal is to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable people in our community that need it – in all NVCH properties.”

The program is strictly a volunteer effort by this group, it's not part of Napa Valley Community Housing. 

“We know other organizations are working with Napa’s Community Organizations Active in Disaster to bring assistance and aid to our greater community, but NVCH has told us that residents need essential items right now due to the hoarding of food and supplies,” said Bailie.

“We applaud their efforts," said Kathleen Reynolds, president/CEO of Napa Valley Community Housing.

For example, Bailie heard of a single mother and a senior resident at one housing community. Both were without toilet paper.

A representative from that housing community was trying to help find some, but with little luck. She had called Bailie, who works as the sexual assault victim services program manager for NEWS in Napa.

Bailie pointed out that many seniors, especially over the age of 65, are being told to stay inside.

“That limits our seniors to accessing those things that we have readily available to us. We also heard there were some families with kids that weren’t getting the free lunches at the schools.”

Within just a few days, the team launched a link to a Google document where a donor can indicate the items that a person wants to donate. This team of six volunteers will then come get those items, without any close contact, and from there, package items to be donated to those in need.

The group hopes to do all of this by Friday, so people can get assistance as soon as possible. “We have to act fast,” she said.

Within 24 hours, they’d already collected about 45 rolls of toilet paper, 20 rolls of paper towels, 10 boxes of tissue, 30 items of canned foods, “and a whole bunch of soap.”

“We’re trying to gather as much as we can now through Friday to deliver to these people and then after that we’re hoping our county will be able to step up and provide additional aid,” she said.

The group has also raised more than $900 in monetary donations to NVCH so they can purchase goods for residents in need.

“We’re just trying to do our part,” said Bailie.

Editor’s note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit

Editor's note: this story was updated on Wednesday to clarify that the program is not part of Napa Valley Community Housing. 

You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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