Dinner with Patsi?
CATHEDRAL CITY — Since 2017, when Miss Patsi first debuted, she has become a beloved and treasured fixture in this community while raising thousands of dollars for charities throughout the city.
In the past three years, local notable Thommy Kocan, aka Miss Patsi, has raised more than $35,000 for charities across the city. On Wednesday Sept. 16, Kocan will host “Dinner with Patsi” at Sunshine Café, benefiting the Cathedral City Senior Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City and to mark three years of fundraising for local nonprofits.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses and nonprofit organizations are struggling. Restaurants, bars, and retail stores rely on local customers to keep their doors open and employees paid. Now more than ever, small businesses and nonprofits need support. That’s why Patsi chooses a local Cathedral City business as the host restaurant, creating crucial business for them. After all, supporting local business also supports the local economy and community; potentially providing a job for a neighbor or friend, Kocan said.
Kocan chooses various restaurants in Cathedral City to give them a boost. The monthly dinner dates, which started with a handful of friends, and have grown to dozens of attendees in packed restaurants, started because Kocan wanted to do something to make a difference in the community.
“I love Cathedral City, and it’s a community with a lot of need, so I knew I had to do something to help,” Kocan said. “I decided to bring together good people over good food for a good cause. It started with loose change tossed in a hat at the end of the meal, and has grown as word has spread across the community. Seeing what we’ve been able to do — and having a good time doing it — has been the best reward.”
Miss Patsi selects a beneficiary charity each month from a handful of local favorites – including the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City, Cathedral City Senior Center, Southern California Jazz Foundation, Transgender Health and Wellness Center, Cathedral City High School Chamber Choir & Band, and the Cathedral City Police Officers Fund, which helps the Homeless Program & Youth Explorers Program – with the specific aim of doing good right where Patsi lives.
“It’s just not acceptable to me that we have people in this community that go hungry,” Kocan said, which is why Dinner with Patsi also collects nonperishables each month for the Cathedral City Senior Center food bank. “I want to go bigger, raise more, do better in the year ahead, As long as there’s a need in our community, Patsi will be there, passing the hat, and making a difference.”
Mayor John Aguilar congratulated Miss Patsi on her third year anniversary for “doing such great work for our community.”
“She has raised tens of thousands of dollars for a variety of needy charities and nonprofits that directly benefit the many individuals and families of our city,” Aguilar said. “Patsi is truly one of a kind and a tremendous community asset who works tirelessly and volunteers on many fronts to improve our community.”
Thommy Kocan has also served for three years on the city’s public events commission.
Patsi is an ambassador for our city’s distinctive character, said Geoff Corbin, Executive Director, Cathedral City Senior Center. “With every event, she collects food that feeds our community’s seniors. Patsi’s commitment to Cathedral City Senior Center’s Food Bank and to making certain that people do not go hungry is unmatched. Every Dinner with Patsi, raises lifesaving money for charity, creates crucial business for local restaurateurs, and gives a much-needed opportunity for everyday people to become involved with their city, the businesses, and charities that keep us healthy. What a beautiful champion for people in need.”
Scott Robinson, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City, said, “It really warms your heart to see the community turn out in support of our kids, over and over again. hat’s the power of Patsi bringing people together for a good cause!”
Hosting Dinner with Patsi at the Sunshine Cafe means I’m able to give our employees extra hours while we are supporting worthwhile charities in our city, Jay Sherman, owner of Sunshine Café, said. ” To have her support at this time of uncertainty is a gift.”
“Because of his goodwill, the students of Cathedral City High School have been the lucky recipients of the entire community’s love and support, said F. May Le Roy, director of Choirs, Cathedral City High School, Nellie N. Coffman Middle School.
Ron Casidine, operations manager, Cathedral City Senior Center, said the Center “honored” to be among the beneficiaries of the “Dinner with Patsi” non-profit fundraising events. The Center’s Food Bank program could not meet community needs without the monthly reminders from Patsi that a Food Bank program desperately needs support in the way of funding and food.
“Without ‘Dinner with Patsi,’ we would not be able to accommodate the 125 low-income households that are served on the first and third Mondays of each month.” Casidine said. “Not only do the ‘Dinner With Patsi’ events bring in cash and canned goods, Patsi’s fans and loyal followers also volunteer with us at our distribution events and many behind-the-scenes hours of back-breaking work during the hot summer months and cold, pre-dawn mornings the whole year through. Patsi is more than a pretty face in a fabulous frock —she is a fundraising powerhouse whose contributions compare to corporate business partners at the highest level and we could not be prouder or more grateful to have her by our side.”
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- Dinner with Patsi: Thommy "Miss Patsi" Kocan