Local Volunteer: Cathy Rowen

In this series, we profile people who are lending a helping hand to human services organizations in the region.
cathy rowen

Cathy Rowen has worn many hats during her 12-year tenure as a volunteer with Davis Community Meals and Housing. She’s worked in the Resource Center, coordinated volunteers, and taught arts and crafts through the DCMH Family Program. She’s served meals. She has even served on the board. “I was raised to be a volunteer and give back,” says Rowen, who also donates her time to Yolo Food Bank and COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

These days, Rowen spends three hours a week at the Resource Center. “We do things like make food appointments, give out mail, answer phones, do intakes, receive donations, and give towels, socks and underwear for showers,” she says. “People do laundry and are able to get a hot meal over there.”

She spends another three hours per month with the Meals Program, where she has witnessed members of the community step up to help. Case in point, pre-pandemic, the UC Davis dining commons provided hot meals for DCMH clients. When that ceased, members of the community came forward make food. “There’s a hot meal five days a week because people are stepping up,” Rowen says. (Note: UC Davis is once again providing food for clients of DCMH, with community members still supporting the effort.)

It seems Rowen has passed her volunteer gene along to her two sons. “They were raised helping,” she says. With the exception of this past year, every Christmas Eve for the past six years, the family, which includes husband David, a retired nurse anesthetist at UC Davis Medical Center, has served meals through the Davis Food Co-op.

One thing that struck Rowen this past year is the vast need for services during the pandemic. “There is more food insecurity than I ever imagined,” she says. “Just seeing the need, I feel good about helping.”

Learn more at daviscommunitymeals.org.