Watch CBS News

East Bay woman continues to turn her personal tragedy into help for families in crisis

Jefferson Award Winner: Janet Frazier
Jefferson Award Winner: Janet Frazier 03:33

A Concord woman's nonprofit that brings comfort and support for families with critically-ill children in the hospital has continued to grow since KPIX first spotlighted the Jefferson Award winner in 2005.

Janet Frazier spends her days overseeing an assembly line of students packing care bags for families in crisis. 

"I want the families to feel love by the community," she said. "And this is a community effort, it's huge."

Frazier understands the need. More than two decades ago, her 20- and 17-year-old daughters, Stephanie and Lindsey, were in a car crash. Stephanie died while Lindsey remained in critical condition. 

Jefferson Award Winner Janet Frazier. CBS

Frazier remembers feeling overwhelmed at Lindsey's hospital bedside.

"I almost fainted, and a nurse walked me outside the room and asked me when I'd eaten last," Frazier said. "It had been over a day."

The nurse shared her sandwich.

"It almost brought me to tears," Frazier said. "I felt it in my heart, so I really wanted to do that for other families so they could be by their child's beside and be nourished and comforted like I was."

So Frazier co-founded The Network of Care in 2004. When we met her a year later, she had a dozen volunteers who'd packed and distributed 30,000 non-perishable food bags to families at a dozen hospitals.

Today, Frazier's nonprofit reaches 58 hospitals from Sacramento to San Diego and even parts of Colorado. 

Some 340,000 families have received the food bags thanks to an expanded volunteer base. Up to 200 students in three Contra Costa County school districts help purchase and pack the bags, like Bruce Ellison's special education class at Deer Valley High School in Antioch.

"Students just love to do it. They understand what it's for. I think it gives them a lot of pride, a lot of self-confidence," Ellison said.

Young adults like Dalaysia Ray-Campbell learn hands-on job skills from math to product management.

"I feel very grateful, so thankful, to help," Ray-Campbell said.

"They're very dedicated, they're very passionate," said Frazier of the volunteers. "It's just wonderful to come in here and see them."
The volunteer support keeps helping Frazier turn her family's tragedy into something positive by giving gifts of love and support through her community care network.

The Network of Care holds it's annual fundraiser on Saturday. It's sold out but the nonprofit welcomes donations for the food and bags at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.