CRC volunteer helps lead COVID-19 response

Katrina Dodson

As the number of COVID-19 cases grow throughout the region, volunteers at the Community Resource Center in Encinitas have helped meet the needs of residents experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and other issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“It was a really difficult couple of weeks as we watched everything start to close, and everything starting to get completely changed,” said Katrina Dodson, who has been serving as the president of the center’s board of directors, recalling the initial public health orders that went into effect earlier this year.

Dodson helped reorganize the Community Resource Center’s three resale stores for their successful reopening, which provide funding for CRC programs. She also made thank you calls to donors and promoted CRC’s efforts on social media.

“We went to our donors and asked for help, and asked for the extra push during a time when we would need it,” said Dodson, who grew up in Solana Beach and moved to Encinitas in 2005. “Obviously, they knew that we had needs, they knew what our needs were normally and they understood how much more we were going to be serving in the next few weeks, and it turns out months.”

As a smaller, community-centered nonprofit, CRC typically relies on volunteer hours from residents all over the county, Dodson said, including members of faith-based groups. That assistance has waned because of the pandemic.

“We always get on the phone to say thank you [to donors],” Dodson added. “That’s a big, important piece for us.”

Donations to help the center provide services to residents most in need, many of whom face greater risks of contracting COVID-19 or failing to receive adequate health care.

Dodson began volunteering at CRC seven years ago, partly because she liked the organization’s focus on helping North County residents. She witnessed a lot of turnover in the center’s leadership upon joining the board of directors, including a change in the executive director position and the departure of the development manager.

In 2018, John Van Cleef joined CRC as its new executive director. Dodson said he “brought a very focused and professional approach to working out our ever-changing grant environment, political landscape, and community outreach.”

CRC is also in the process of implementing a strategic plan to help make it a top nonprofit to work at, and to reinforce its localized focus on providing aid and services.

“We don’t want to be a gigantic health system for people, we want to help people in the community that we have here,” Dodson said.

A CRC news release credited Dodson for her “enthusiasm and can-do attitude to encourage the staff,” adding that Dodson baked dozens of cookies ahead of this year’s English Tea fundraiser to benefit CRC’s domestic violence programs. When the fundraiser went virtual due to the pandemic, Dodson delivered the cookies to CRC staff to raise their spirits.

“CRC is grateful to Katrina for always stepping in to serve others,” the news release said. “Her dedication to CRC has helped hundreds of people who were hungry, homeless and hurting find hope. Katrina has inspired our staff, our donors and our community to give back to their neighbors in need.”

For more information on CRC, visit