In an attempt to keep spirits high while also raising money for vital resources, Vintage House, a Sonoma-based nonprofit, reinvented its annual fundraiser to give away carefully curated gift baskets and a chance to win larger prizes, including this adult tricycle. (Photos courtesy of Vintage House)

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When the pandemic hit, Vintage House, the only nonprofit in Sonoma Valley dedicated entirely to seniors, had to pivot to continue offering vital services to its community. 

With doors to its senior center closed, classes covering everything from yoga to conversational Italian to birdwatching went virtual. Volunteers began providing grocery shopping and prescription pick-up for local seniors. Free meals available curbside or by delivery, became the norm every Monday and Wednesday.

As Vintage House reinvented its programs and services, it made sense to do the same with its annual Sip, Savor and Celebrate fundraiser. Instead of holding a hosted indoor tea at Sunrise Villa Sonoma as it’s done in the past, Vintage House is taking the tea, (and even some wine) on the road.

Rebranded Sip, Savor and Support, this year’s fundraiser has volunteers assembling and delivering gift boxes filled with goods donated by numerous local businesses. 

“It’s a community effort. We couldn’t have done this without them. It takes a village,” said Priscilla Call Essert, Vintage House executive director.

Money raised supports the essential services Vintage House provides to seniors throughout Sonoma Valley, but the grass roots, community-based fundraiser is generating more than just financial support. It’s also bringing good cheer.

“I was blown away,” said Julie Diamond, of Boyes Hot Springs, who received a wine basket for her 60th birthday. “It was the nicest basket I’ve ever received. [It] totally lifted my spirits.”

A tea-themed basket recipient, Brigitta Carver, is all smiles after a special delivery from Vintage House.

Tea gift boxes cost $45 and include Silk Road peppermint tea, a vintage teacup and saucer, a lavender bouquet from PK Sonoma, lavender essential oil from Eden Botanicals and fresh baked goods compliments of Aunt Momo’s and Sunrise Villa Sonoma.

Wine gift boxes are priced at $55 and come with a bottle of Buena Vista wine, a small succulent terrarium and Atlas Cedarwood essential oil from Eden Botanicals. Like the tea gift boxes, there are baked goods along with bonus chocolate chip cookies from Cookie…take a bite!

Both boxes include a ticket to a virtual garden concert on August 13, 2020, with the Bay Area group JazKatz, and a raffle ticket to win one of two prizes:  a Trailmate Desoto adult tricycle or an 18-bottle wine refrigerator stocked with Sonoma Valley wines. Boxes are delivered to doorsteps throughout Sonoma Valley at no additional cost.

“Buena Vista Winery is a proud supporter of important nonprofits in the town of Sonoma, and the Vintage House ranks at the top of the list!” said Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Buena Vista Winery and the Boisset Collection. “We are happy to provide wine for their online fundraiser, proud of their place in our community and delighted to see their extraordinary creativity in challenging times.”

Vintage House has sold 40 boxes since sales began the second week of July; they hope to deliver 100 before they’re finished. And there’s already talk of more, possibly holiday-themed boxes in the future.

“This has been inspiring,” said Call Essert. “We’ve all kind of had goosebumps at moments.”