Stronger Together Now begins a monthly Giving Sundays event that intends to connect the community to resources on the last Sunday of most months. This month’s theme is Blood Donors Month.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, a blood drive for local blood bank LifeStream and book sale to benefit Redlands students will take place in downtown Redlands at Ed Hales Park at 109 E. State St. Redlands Makers Market will host a craft market as a partner to the event.

Stronger Together Now focuses their work on the underserved communities in the Inland Empire. The extremely low level of blood donations has caught the attention of the organization, and through the Giving Sunday event, they intend to make a positive difference for the patients of the IE.

The nonprofit is known for creating a fun environment at their events. By incorporating art, music and entertainment STN brings the community together in support of their concentration on uplifting people of color, empowering women, elderly aid, empowering youth and the LGBTQ+ community.

Stronger Together Now began after the tragic events of Geroge Floyd and several other African Americans who were slain by police officers in 2020, said Vice President Kai King via email.

When protesting was not creating the change they wanted to see, King and Janelle Guerrero, president of Stronger Together Now, decided to do more than advocate, and create an organization that would dedicate its time, energy and resources to prolific change.

Since then, the organization reached nonprofit status in 2021 and has hosted many events including a Juneteenth music festival, Soul Food Fest and a Latina Festival celebrating Hispanic heritage.

The sharing of culture is a recurring theme at the events hosted by Stronger Together.

“By putting our prejudices and fears aside,” said Guerrero, “we listen with an open heart and understand the broad spectrum of issues before we weigh in on solutions.”

To understand the needs of their community, Stronger Together attends city council meetings and unified school district meetings. The organization makes efforts to speak with community leaders and elected officials, as well as blue collar workers to find out what the community is lacking and to find the support for their initiatives. “We help others to connect to services that also makes them feel enabled and empowered,” said President Janelle Guerrero via email.

“Our different titles and experiences make us Stronger Together in ways that relate but often provide unique insight,” said King of his team of 13 individuals from different careers and backgrounds.

By partnering with the local Black Student Union in the Redlands Unified School District, Stronger Together has a consistent stream of volunteers. The organization also encourages local businesses and community members to participate when they are able to do so.

This year their team is expected to increase by 35% to 40%. After being awarded a $250,000 grant, the organization is confident they will be able to expand their outreach and become fiscal sponsors for other up-and-coming Inland Empire organizations.

Recent developments include the launch of their Elder Care program in December 2022 in which elders in living assistance programs have been able to connect with the community through weekly programming targeted on boosting their mental health and self esteem.

Also, a career shadowing opportunity is in the works in partnership with San Bernardino Valley College as part of Stronger Together’s Youth Empowerment program. Other goals include expanding their office space which is currently located in downtown San Bernardino.

Stronger Together Now says to stay tuned for other exciting programs related to financial literacy, community outreach and social-emotional learning.