Napa's federally qualified health center and largest provider of care to the uninsured and low income patients, Clinic Ole, recently accepted a $28,000 donation from local food celebrity Michael Chiarello.

The Emmy-winning Food Network star, who operates a retail store, television studio and restaurant in Yountville, recently took the second place Top Chef Master's title, earning the donation for the local nonprofit. The Bravo Network reality show featured a competition between 23 prominent chefs performing various cooking challenges.

Mr. Chiarello has also authored five cook books and operates Chiarello Family Vineyards.


The Napa Valley Food Bank, which is one of seven programs operated by Community Action of Napa Valley (CanV) moved into a greatly expanded location last week, though direct food distribution will have to take place elsewhere.

"We had received such resistance from building owners saying they didn't want 'those kind of people' around. What they don't understand is our clients come from all over. People who've lost their job, foreclosed or just your neighbor that needs a little extra help," said CanV's Executive Director Drene Johnson.

The organization was forced to close its previous location last March after the aging building was found to be inadequate for food distribution.

The food bank searched for nearly five months for a location, continuing food distribution from church storage containers and other locations, finally signing a lease on a space at 607 Airpark Road.

Ms. Johnson said the building will allow the bank to serve more than 100 new clients a month, though details of the lease do not permit them to distribute on location. Food will be handed out from various church and community locations.

The group served more than 11,500 individuals between January and June, which is an increase of about 3,000 people year over year and double the number recorded in 2007. The space increased capacity by about 2,000 square feet, to 8,000 total, and has expanded refrigeration facilities.


The Napa Valley Community Foundation, which has tripled in size during the last five years, inducted four new board directors this month, including a representative for a state legislator.

Melissa Rodezno, a constituent services representative for Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, will serve on the board along with Calistoga Family Center founder Anne Carver, Jones Family Vineyards owner Rick Jones and Lail Vineyards owner Robin Lail. The new members will replace four outgoing representatives that each served for six years. The board includes 12 other community volunteers chaired by Ovid Vineyards Managing Partner Janet Pagano.

The foundation distributes about $2.5 million annually, most recently handing out $300,000 to 16 local charities struggling for donations in the down economy.


Submit items for this column to D. Ashley Furness at, 707-521-4257 or fax 707-521-5292.