Ripon residents Kat Griffith, left, and Stephanie Prellwitz (see next photo), aided by daughter Charlotte, organized a Zoom teleconference last week to marshal and coordinate Ripon resources to maximize local efforts to assist most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ripon residents Kat Griffith, left, and Stephanie Prellwitz (see next photo), aided by daughter Charlotte, organized a Zoom teleconference last week to marshal and coordinate Ripon resources to maximize local efforts to assist most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

   Cancel the branding exercises. This community has its new slogan.

   Ripon rallies.

   On the same day the governor of California told the president he anticipates 25 million people in his state will contract COVID-19, two Ripon residents began coordinating a multi-pronged effort to serve the city’s residents, particularly its most vulnerable people: the elderly and children.

   This call to arms didn’t come from the usual suspects: mayor, city administrator, police chief or school superintendent.

   In fact, none of those leaders participated in what followed.

   No, spearheading the effort to identify Ripon’s needs and resources at a time of dire crisis were non-elected, non-salaried citizens Kat Griffith and Stephanie Prellwitz. Together, they organized a Zoom-based teleconference call in which editor Ian Stepleton listened and describes on the front page of this edition.

   That remarkable, 90-minute virtual meeting last week Thursday evening convened a variety of people from varying backgrounds whose common purpose, as several stated, is “to do all I can to help.”

   After identifying how COVID-19 is rocking the community, the group identified four areas that deserve greater attention: food distribution, mental health, child services, volunteer coordination.

   They self-divided into subcommittees to address each of these needs.

   Their willingness to step forward when many, such as Mugs owner Matt Holly — who is wondering how he can continue to serve his customers and his staff — face their own personal and professional challenges, is a testament to this community’s members’ willingness to look beyond their own plights so they can be assured others’ needs are addressed.

   Ripon rallies.

— Tim Lyke