CATHEDRAL CITY — Miss Patsi, the alter ego of local philanthropist Thommy Kocan, is a local celebrity known for hosting pass-the-hat dinners to raise money for community nonprofits.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Miss Patsi will host the second anniversary Dinner With Patsi celebration at Bonta Restaurant in Cathedral City to mark two years of fundraising for local nonprofits. Since 2017, Kocan has raised nearly $25,000 for charities across the city.
The monthly dinner dates started with a handful of friends and have grown to dozens of attendees in packed restaurants. The Dinner with Patsi 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. in a prepared statement. “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, the Cathedral City Senior Center, Southern California Jazz Foundation, Cathedral City High School Chamber Choir & Band, and the Cathedral City Police Officers Fund, which helps the Homeless Program & Youth Explores Program – with the very 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. That’s why Dinner with Patsi also collects nonperishable food items each month for the Cathedral City Senior Center food pantry.
“What Patsi has done for Cathedral City, bringing our community together in support of local charity, has been really exciting,” said Cathedral City Mayor Mark Carnevale. “This kind of grassroots fundraising means so much to the organizations that are benefiting from Patsi’s support.”
But it’s not just about charity. In fact, Kocan chooses various local businesses in Cathedral City to give them a boost as well. “Seeing how deliberate Thommy is in choosing where to host these dinners shows a real commitment to our community,” said Kimberly Krause of the Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Scott Robinson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City attends the dinners as a friend and beneficiary. “It really warms your heart to see the community turn out in support of our kids, over and over again,” he said. “That’s the power of Patsi — bringing people together for a good cause!”
“Patsi is a hero!” said Ron Casidine of the Cathedral City Senior Center. “Filling our food pantry month after month, raising money for incredible organizations, and hosting a great dinner party on top of that — what more can you ask for?”
This month’s Dinner With Miss Patsi will benefit the Cathedral City High School Chamber Choir, bringing music to the valley and kicking off Patsi’s third year of fundraising in Cathedral City.
“I want to go bigger, raise more, do better in the year ahead,” Kocan said. “As long as there’s a need in our community, Patsi will be there, passing the hat, and making a difference.”
- Dinner with Patsi: Thommy "Miss Patsi" Kocan