Throughout the year, especially during the holidays, Empower Yolo extends support to survivors and families in need offering vital assistance and brightening their paths with newfound hope. 

This year, Empower Yolo has successfully provided a range of services including a 24-hour crisis line, safe shelter, legal and counseling services, mobile medical care, and basic necessities like food, clothing, and housing support. Our resource centers in Yolo County offer benefit enrollment, youth services, financial empowerment and immigration services, free tax assistance, and so much more, benefiting underserved populations across the county.

“Empower Yolo continues to support and advocate for the most vulnerable in our community, especially victims of abuse and their children, families in need, and the unhoused.  The agency continues to grow, shift, and change as necessary to help meet the increasing needs in our county,” says Lynnette Irlmeier, Executive Director of Empower Yolo. 

One client shared her story, which highlights Empower Yolo’s impactful work and the tangible difference community support makes in the lives of those we serve.

“I am so grateful for programs like Empower Yolo. Without the help of this agency and the great advocates who supported my children and me, we would not be where we are today.

I have never been someone to ask for help, but this time I knew I had to leave. I come from a long line of abuse. My parents were in a very similar situation so I grew up thinking this behavior was normal. The last incident with my husband convinced me that I needed to get my kids and myself out of the situation. I remember hearing about Empower Yolo, but never believed that one day I would need to utilize the services, I lived in denial. I called the crisis line and a very kind person was on the other side of the phone. She guided me and explained to me how the program would be able to help my family and me. I took a leap of faith and that same day I went to the safe house. When I arrived I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was greeted with such kindness and warmth and my children were provided with welcome backpacks. The first night was difficult, but I knew this was the way to get ahead. 

My advocate informed me of counseling; I signed up and did a walk-in with a therapist at the safe house. I looked forward to it every week. I knew I needed my husband to stay away. I was able to attain a restraining order for us. I had never felt safer in my life. I didn’t even know where to begin to rebuild my life, but my advocate informed me of programs I never knew existed. She helped me apply for CalWORKs, CalFresh, and CALVCB. I was able to get a job for the first time in a very long time. I saved money, learned how to budget, and for the first time applied for a credit card. I felt like every opportunity I ever wanted I finally had. I was able to complete the program and get into my own place. I can never begin to express my gratitude for this agency and the amazing advocates that helped my family and me have a safe, and healthy life in so many ways both mentally and physically.” –Amanda

“Our advocates at Empower Yolo go above and beyond every day to help support survivors of abuse and their families during the most difficult times in their lives; we help the most vulnerable clients get back on their feet and empower them to move forward in their lives in a safe, healthy, and positive way and not let the violence they experienced define them,” says Irlmeier.

See the transformative outcomes achieved through Empower Yolo’s dedicated efforts. In 2022 Empower Yolo provided the following services: 743 crisis calls via the 24-hour crisis line; 272 survivors of abuse of which 130 were children received safe shelter or transitional housing for 17,583 bed nights; 3,541 counseling sessions for 285 adults and 94 children; 321 survivors of crime were provided with restraining order assistance; and 695 clients were provided rental assistance and housing support. 

This year, the demand for essential items like food, clothing, rent, and utilities has risen. Additionally, there’s a growing need across various programs, including food distribution, clothing assistance, housing support, and services for survivors of abuse, their children, vulnerable families, the unhoused, and immigrant clients.  While donor support has enabled the agency to address some of the increasing client demands throughout the year, ongoing community support remains crucial for sustained growth. 

Empower Yolo would like to thank our donors, supporters, and community partners who help Empower Yolo in various ways throughout the year through generous financial donations, with in-kind donations such as clothes, backpacks, non-perishable food items, toiletry kits/bags, blankets, coats, and so much more. 

“We are grateful to our loyal donors who help support our mission and think of our clients throughout the year. However, the holidays can be particularly difficult for families to provide anything extra for their children when meeting basic needs every week is already challenging. Empower Yolo’s holiday programs bring the spirit of the season back into their lives. Each year, the joy expressed by our clients, especially the children, when receiving gifts, festive meals, or other donations is truly heartwarming. This magic is made possible by the amazing generosity of our community,” says Irlmeier.

There are several thoughtful and meaningful ways to give this holiday season: 

General giving wish lists: we have general lists for moms and teens in the safe house, Santa’s playroom in the shelter, and Rooms to Go. This is a great way to give with your family, friends, book club, officemates, scout troop, or sports team while offering a lot of giving options and flexibility.  These wish lists are available at empoweryolo/wishlist.  

Holiday meals: Grocery gift cards of any denomination are always needed for warm meals at the shelter during the holidays. 

Year-end giving: financial donations are one of the most important ways to help clients and their children especially with needs that come up that grant funding cannot cover. Generous donations help survivors like Amanda change their lives. Donate in honor of or in memory of a loved one or survivor you know. Encourage your employer to make donations in recognition of their employees or match an employee donation.  Make a holiday or year-end gift any time at

Adopt a Family: Each year, Empower Yolo coordinates an “Adopt a Family” program during the holiday season where donors can confidentially adopt clients in need of holiday gifts.  This is truly a wonderful program that brings so much joy to our clients and their children and shows them how much the community supports them.  Most of our families have already been adopted, but last-minute families in need can be adopted.  

For questions about any of our holiday programs contact [email protected], or call (530) 661-6336.  Any donations can be dropped off at 175 Walnut Street in Woodland, or 441 D Street in Davis during office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information about holiday giving visit

Empower Yolo consistently offers crucial support to survivors and families in need, demonstrating unwavering dedication throughout the year with a special focus during the holidays.  The agency’s continuous efforts help foster resilience, and empowerment to build a safer path toward a better life. 

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