FANtastic Free and Low-Cost Resources

By Friends & Neighbors July 5, 2016 10:25

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33425712_sWelcome to FAN’s 2016 guide to free and inexpensive services, goods and programs in our foothill communities. We periodically gather and publish this information to help readers connect with agencies and support services helping boomers and seniors in Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador counties.

The many nonprofit groups listed here welcome volunteers and tax-deductible donations to support these local services.

*All phone numbers are in the 209 area code unless otherwise noted.


Caregiver support Amador Senior Center (223-0442) offers a free caregiver support group (for non-paid caregivers). Area 12 Agency on Aging (532-6272) offers free caregiver support groups and information. Valley Caregiver Resource Center (1-800-541-8614) offers many free services for Tuolumne and Stanislaus county caregivers, including support groups, legal and financial consultations, family counseling, respite and more.

Child counseling Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) offers counseling by licensed therapists to child victims of trauma, abuse, violence or bullying; free for qualifying Amador County residents. 223-1485.

Emotional support The Friendship Line, 24-hour hotline for lonely, depressed or suicidal older adults, also can provide daily well-checks, medicine reminders. 1-800-971-0016.

Grandparenting support Area 12 Agency on Aging offers a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group (532-6272). The Grandparent Project (728-2338), administered by the Calaveras County Office of Education and funded by county Health and Human Services, offers services to grandparents and other non-parent relatives raising children. The Grandparent Café (223-1624), an Amador County program of The Resource Connection, offers a support group, workshops and respite care.

In-home counseling and support Catholic Charities’ Connections and Awareness for Elders (CAFÉ) program (532-7632) connects volunteers with isolated or lonely older adults to provide support and activities. Catholic Charities’ SPARROW Project (532-7632) provides free counseling and emotional support for depressed seniors in Calaveras, Tuolumne and rural Stanislaus counties. Free senior (age 55-plus) peer support is offered by Calaveras County Behavioral Health (754-6642) and the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging (558-8698).

Phone checks Call-A-Day Program volunteers make daily morning calls to senior women living alone in Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador counties. If no one answers, an alternative number is contacted. 586-3327.

Senior Center Without Walls Connects seniors with many classes and programs, all from home via conference calls with others interested in the same topics. Free, program guides mailed in advance. 1-877-797-7299.


Help for disabled Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living (DRAIL) links clients to services ranging from care providers and assistive devices to housing and benefits; Sonora office serves Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties. 532-0963. Modesto’s Society for disABILITIES offers social, educational and recreational programs, referrals, job training and medical equipment. 524-3536.

Phones Specialized phones make it easier to hear, dial and call; free to the deaf and disabled through the California Telephone Access Program. 1-800-806-1191,

Services for families with special-needs children Stockton-based nonprofit Family Resource Network provides information, referral, workshops and support groups for families with children 22 and under in Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. 1-800-847-3030,

Services for the visually impaired Modesto nonprofit Visually Impaired Persons Support offers free services to those 55-plus with vision loss, including support groups (first Tues. each month in Sonora), independent living skills, assistive technology training and more. 846-9027.


Central Valley Opportunity Center Offers employment training and job search services in Madera, Merced and Stanislaus counties. 357-0062.

Mother Lode Job Training Career Centers in Amador (223-3341), Calaveras (754-4242), Mariposa (966-3643) and Tuolumne (588-1150) counties offer job search services, workshops.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Provides job training, placement in community-service positions. Open to people 55-plus who meet income and other eligibility requirements. Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, 536-4705, Stanislaus County, 576-6071.

Volunteers help at ATCAA Food Bank

Volunteers help at ATCAA Food Bank


Amador County Jackson-based Interfaith Food Bank provides food to residents in need at multiple sites monthly, schedule online, 267-9006,

Calaveras County Residents in need may pick up food once a month from The Resource Connection Food Bank or pantries countywide. Distribution schedule online, Produce Days (9am-noon, second and fourth Fri., May-Oct.) are open to all Calaveras County residents, call for location. 754-1257.

Mariposa and Tuolumne counties ATCAA’s Jamestown food bank distributes food at many sites countywide. Schedule online, 984-3960,

Stanislaus County United Samaritans Foundation operates several food trucks that distribute lunch five days a week in dozens of locations from Modesto to Turlock and surrounding areas. Schedule online, 668-4853,

Tuolumne County Interfaith Community Social Services offers food, clothing, household and personal items to Tuolumne County residents in need from offices at 18500 Striker Court, Sonora. 532-0905. Local churches also have emergency food programs.


Cosmetology services Sonora High School’s Cosmetology Program, 606 Shaws Flat Rd., offers a 25 percent senior discount on haircuts, facials, manicures, August-June except school breaks, call for hours. 533-4599.

Dental exams The Resource Connection offers free dental exams to Calaveras County residents under 18 or 55 and over who meet income guidelines or receive SSI. 754-1257.

File of Life, Yellow Dot programs List your medical conditions, health history, medications, allergies, emergency contacts and more for easy access by medics in an emergency:

  • Amador County American Legion Ambulance Service and Amador Commission on Aging provide a File of Life packet for $2, Amador Senior Center, 229 New York Ranch Rd., Jackson. 223-0442.
  • Calaveras County A Yellow Dot in a car’s rear window alerts first responders to vital info in the glove box; info can also be posted in a packet on your fridge. 754-1699,
  • Tuolumne County Area 12 Agency on Aging provides free File of Life packets, 19074 Standard Rd., Sonora. 532-6272.

Health education, merchant discounts Sonora Regional Medical Center’s OakPlus Senior Wellness Program offers free monthly wellness seminars, merchant discounts for adults age 65-plus. 536-5025.

Health fairs Free and low-cost screenings, information, hosted by area hospitals and health departments. In Tuolumne County, call Health Department, 533-7428; in Calaveras County, Mark Twain Medical Center, 754-2968.

Medical care Sonora Regional Medical Center’s Project HOPE van offers free checkups and care for minor medical problems. 9am-3pm each Monday and Friday (excluding holidays) at Sonora Wal-Mart (except fourth Friday, when it’s at Interfaith, on Striker Court off Tuolumne Road). No appointment needed. 536-5020.

Medical equipment:

  • Amador Senior Center, 229 New York Ranch Rd., Jackson, loans wheelchairs and walkers only, free. 223-0442.
  • Calaveras Senior Center, 956 Mountain Ranch Rd., San Andreas, loans wheelchairs, walkers, canes and more. 754-3967.
  • Murphys Senior Center, next to Faith Lutheran Church, Mitchler Ave. and Highway 4, call for equipment availability. 728-1672.
  • Society for disABILITIES, 1129 8th St., Suite 101, Modesto, loans medical equipment free to Stanislaus County residents; nominal, refundable deposit for non-residents. Call for availability of items and appointment. 524-3536.
  • Sonora Lions Club Hospital Equipment Lending Program (HELP) provides free canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, bath benches and toilet risers. Equipment donations accepted onsite, Sonora Mini Storage, 14328 Cuesta Ct. 533-7766.

Medicare counseling Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) of Area 12 helps older adults navigate the “Medicare maze.” Trained counselors provide free help at agency’s Sonora office, 19074 Standard Rd., and at satellite sites across five counties. 532-6272.

Personal care, homemaker services In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), a state program, helps elderly or disabled Medi-Cal recipients pay for in-home help. Amador County, 223-6550; Calaveras County, 754-6448; Mariposa County, 966-2000; Tuolumne County, 533-7352.

Smoke-alarm checks Sonora Kiwanis Club volunteers will visit your home to inspect smoke alarms and install new alarms or batteries, free to those 60 or older. 580-8047.


Help around the home Help with minor home repairs available for low-income homeowners age 60-plus through Area 12 Agency on Aging (532-6272). Common Ground Senior Services (Amador County, 223-3015) helps seniors with chores through Homemaker (inside) and Chore (outside) programs. Amador Senior Center (223-0442) offers free minor home repairs and safety modifications for county residents 55 or older.

Home repair grants USDA Rural Development agency offers grants to low-income homeowners age 62-plus to repair safety hazards. Amador and Calaveras county residents, 707-526-6797, ext. 106; Mariposa, Stanislaus and Tuolumne county residents, 722-4119.


Information and assistance Area 12 Agency on Aging provides info on senior resources in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties. 532-6272.

Senior resource directories:      


Legal services:

  • Amador County Free 30-minute consultation with an attorney available once a year to residents ages 60-plus through Amador Senior Center, 229 New York Ranch Rd., Jackson. 223-0442.
  • Amador and Calaveras counties Calaveras County Superior Court Self-Help Legal Center (754-1443) helps with forms and court procedures; family law facilitator and monthly workshops available. Legal Services of Northern California (1-800-660-6107) helps low-income individuals with some civil-law matters.
  • Calaveras County Law Library open to the public 8am-5pm, Mon.-Fri., 891 Mountain Ranch Rd., San Andreas. 754-6314.
  • Mariposa and Tuolumne counties Central California Legal Services provides civil legal services to eligible low-income residents, answers questions about health-access issues. 1-800-675-8001.
  • Mother Lode Office of Catholic Charities Legal Advocacy Program offers free legal services regardless of income, call for details, 88 Bradford St., Sonora. 532-7632.
  • Stanislaus County The Senior Advocacy Network’s Senior Law Project offers free legal services to residents age 60-plus in areas including elder abuse, consumer issues, housing and more. 577-3814.
  • Tuolumne County Tuolumne County Superior Court Law Library and Self-Help Legal Center offers consultations with a self-help attorney/family law facilitator and paralegal facilitator; court clerk on duty (533-6565); small claims advisor also available (532-8399). Interfaith also offers legal consultations to county residents (532-0905).

Housing assistance ATCAA offers rent assistance for eligible homeless individuals living in Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, and for Tuolumne County renters at risk of homelessness; housing counseling and financial literacy classes available. 533-1397, ext. 238. Community Housing and Shelter Services offers rent, deposit and mortgage payment assistance to eligible Stanislaus County residents as funding allows, and housing counseling to disabled residents in imminent danger of homelessness. 527-0444.

Tax preparation AARP volunteers provide free help each tax season for adults 60 and older and low-income individuals at Sonora Senior Center, 652-5269.

Utility bill, energy assistance:

  • ATCAA Helps low-income residents in tri-county area with utility bills, energy-saving home improvements and budgeting; a financial literacy class is also available. Amador and Calaveras counties, 223-1485; Calaveras County, 754-6546; Tuolumne County, 533-1397.
  • Central Valley Opportunity Center helps low-income Stanislaus County residents with utility payments (537-9217), home weatherization and carbon monoxide safety checks (541-0496).
  • Interfaith Provides utility bill help and free firewood to eligible Tuolumne County residents. 532-0905.
  • Mariposa County Offers weatherization and energy bill assistance to low-income residents. 742-0934.
  • Salvation Army REACH Program helps PG&E customers facing loss of electricity service due to emergency financial hardship. Tuolumne County, 588-1986; Calaveras County, 754-1257; Amador County, 257-1828. Tuolumne County office also provides other emergency assistance, including help with water bills, gas and medication vouchers, bus tickets and emergency lodging, 83 S. Stewart St., Sonora.
Joey Bailey's senior project: helping at the Humane Society in Angels Camp

Joey Bailey’s senior project: helping at Humane Society


Dog and cat spay/neuter vouchers These vouchers are available primarily to low-income residents of:

  • Amador County A-PAL Humane Society; some additional free spay/neuter services also available. 223-0410.
  • Calaveras County and Bear Valley Humane Society. Also offers 55/5 program pairing people age 55-plus with dogs or cats age 5-plus; program pays adoption and any spay/neuter fees. 736-9417.
  • Tuolumne County Humane Society. 984-5489.

Low-cost rabies vaccination clinics: Amador County, 223-6378; Calaveras County, 754-6509; Mariposa County, 966-3615. Tuolumne County 694-2730.


Computer classes Coach and Learn, a collaboration of community nonprofits and agencies, offers basic computer and internet classes for Tuolumne County residents, also pairs tutors with individual learners; call for schedule. 536-8757.

InnovationLab Membership-based Sonora facility offers equipment, software, space and classes for do-it-yourself designers; project of Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority. 965-7924.

National Parks Lifetime senior pass to all U.S. National Parks, $10 for 62 and older, buy at park entry points.

Skiing At Pinecrest’s Dodge Ridge, adults 82 or older ski for free. 965-3474. At Bear Valley off Highway 4, adults 75-plus ski for free. 753-2301.


Amador Rides Free rides to medical appointments for Amador County residents with no other option; out-of-county service available. 267-8142.

Amador STARS Free rides to chemotherapy and radiation appointments in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties; group also provides free wigs and scarves for women. 267-1246.

Common Ground Senior Services Donation-based rides for Amador County (223-3015) and Calaveras County (498-2246) adults 60-plus unable to use traditional transportation options. Also runs Silver Streak Transports, donation-based rides to health and wellness appointments in Calaveras County and beyond for those age 60-plus, veterans and disabled adults unable to use traditional transit. 498-2246.

Groveland Wheels Free rides for Groveland residents age 60-plus and for disabled, ambulatory adults without other transportation options, to errands and appointments in Groveland and Big Oak Flat, and to Sonora for medical appointments. 962-6952.

Tuolumne Trip Program Mileage reimbursed for eligible Tuolumne County residents age 60-plus, the disabled or veterans, for trips to medical appointments from outlying areas; riders must arrange for driver and vehicle. 533-5603.

Volunteer Center of Calaveras County Free rides for county residents to medical appointments and essential errands on a case-by-case basis. 754-1699.


Housing counseling, help Catholic Charities’ VETFAM program offers counseling for eligible veterans and their families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness; rent, utility and transportation help also may be available. Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, 396-6903; San Joaquin County, 444-5935; Stanislaus County, 396-6940.

VA Aid & Attendance or Housebound Benefits Additional pension benefit for eligible elderly or severely disabled veterans. Contact veterans’ services offices in Tuolumne County (533-6280), Calaveras County (754-6624), Amador County (267-5764), Mariposa County (966-3696) or Stanislaus County (558-7380).

Copyright © 2016 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

By Friends & Neighbors July 5, 2016 10:25
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