Why I give to Puente: Ruth Shavel’s donation addiction

‘Ruth Shavel, volunteer’ is a permanent nametag for Shavel. So much so that when she started collecting donated items for Puente schoolchildren, she didn’t even need to be told how to sort everything.

You might even say she’s addicted to giving.

Shavel, a Redwood City resident, has been volunteering since she was a teenager, putting trays on donuts to serve to injured World War II veterans with the Red Cross in Palo Alto.

“You had to be 16 to volunteer but I wasn’t – I was 14. I had to stay in the kitchen because I wasn’t supposed to be there,” says Shavel.

Later on, Shavel’s local school district benefited from her efforts as a volunteer both inside her children’s classrooms and as volunteer coordinator for the entire school district. Then she spent 15 years volunteering with Samaritan House of San Mateo, feeding homeless people.

So when a friend introduced Shavel to Puente last year, it was only natural that Shavel immediately decided to launch an all-out donation campaign to help collect school supplies for local students. She approached her local gym, a Curves franchise, about gathering the supplies. And a few months later, she showed up in Pescadero with an entire trunkful of paper, pencils, water bottles, calculators, crayons, folders, reusable lunch bags and backpacks.

“I took the car and we filled the whole trunk. You couldn’t have gotten a toothpick in there. It was wonderful,” declares Shavel.

She hasn’t stopped there. Shavel now has another drive going for donated adult essentials – towels, soap bars, toothbrushes, jackets and the like, which Puente always keeps in stock to deliver to clients.

Puente needs your help this holiday season! Please see our wish list for children’s Christmas stocking-stuffers as well as gift bags for farm and nursery workers. New this year, Puente is raising $7,000 via a special campaign drive on Rally.org to give South Coast parents a gift card that will allow them to shop for their children.

“I think Puente is so far ahead of the other agencies I started with,” says Shavel. “They have a lot going on with a minimum amount of overhead. They have support up and down the coast. That’s the way to make a better life for these people who are here to help us.”


To learn more about donating to (and volunteering for) Puente, contact Abby Mohaupt at amohaupt@mypuente.org  or  click here

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