For 138 years, the Grass Valley Ladies Relief Society has organized a children’s holiday parade. In 1883, each child donated a stick of wood for the stove and a potato to share with families facing hardships. As time passed, it evolved into bringing a can of food to add to baskets for local families.

This year we are hoping for sunny weather to have our Donation Day Parade.  Come watch local elementary school children on Friday, December 17th beginning at 10AM on downtown Grass Valley’s Mill Street. 

Not only is this a spirited event, but it also demonstrates the importance of sharing with others. We are excited to also include children’s books in the holiday baskets. 

For more information about the oldest charitable organization in California, please enjoy our website at and Happy Holidays to all.

A Brief History

The twin cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City were born in the boom days of the California Gold Rush. Sadly, many of those who journeyed west did not strike it rich. The Grass Valley Ladies Relief Society came into being in 1873 when Luisa Coleman, whose husband owned the highly profitable Idaho Maryland Mine, declared she could not enjoy her holiday dinner knowing there were some who could not afford food for their tables. On November 6th of that year, she and 32 other women banded together to form the Grass Valley Ladies Benevolent Society.  Their purpose was to render service to those in distress. Three years later, the legislature of the State of California officially recognized the group as a charitable organization.  They received both a grant of one thousand dollars and a new name, the Grass Valley Ladies Relief Society. The reason for the name change remains mysterious, but the tradition of local women aiding members of our community who find themselves in need continues to the present.