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Celebrating Barbara Rowe, Longtime Volunteer and Community Advocate

April 3, 2024

In the heart of Marin County resides a remarkable volunteer whose commitment to service has brightened the lives of many. Meet Barbara Rowe, a cherished longtime volunteer at Canal Alliance, whose passion for volunteerism and immigrant advocacy has made a lasting impact on our community. 

For many years now, Barbara has made Tuesday mornings a ritual of giving back. From her home in Strawberry, she drives to the Canal neighborhood, where she spends hours interacting with community members at our free weekly Food Pantry. Here, she works with a team of other dedicated volunteers to distribute essential provisions to over 300 individuals and families each week. Our Food Pantry program, operated in partnership with the SF-Marin Food Bank, serves as a lifeline for families in the Canal neighborhood, offering vital nutritional support to the community. Barbara is at the heart of it all, embodying the spirit of compassion, generosity, and servitude. 

As a volunteer at Canal Alliance, Barbara has made an impact in many ways. She’s been an aide in ESL classes, has distributed food at the pantry, and provided crucial support to families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of her role, Barbara’s dedication shines through. “I can’t imagine the struggles faced by those who come to the United States seeking a better life,” she reflects. “That fear of uprooting and starting anew—it’s something that deeply resonates with me.” 

Barbara’s connection to Canal Alliance began in 1985 as a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon where she later became the Associate Pastor serving for 21 years. Her tenure as an associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 1992 to 2013 marked the beginning of her involvement with Canal Ministries, a precursor to Canal Alliance. Her journey with Canal Alliance spans decades, rooted in her compassionate heart and unwavering dedication to serving others.  

Beyond her volunteer work at Canal Alliance, Barbara’s philanthropic endeavors extend far and wide. From volunteering at the International Rescue Committee in Oakland to leading medical missions in Guatemala, Barbara’s commitment to making a difference knows no bounds. She has personally gone to Guatemala about 10 times, offering support to participants and finding parallels between her experiences there and her work with Canal Alliance. 

Additionally, Barbara finds solace and joy in rowing along Richardson Bay. She cherishes the peaceful moments spent on the water, surrounded by nature’s beauty. “It’s so beautiful, meditative, and calming,” she says, reflecting on the serenity of her morning rowing sessions. 

As she looks to the future, Barbara’s hopes and dreams for immigrants in Marin County are clear. “I hope we can create a community where everyone feels accepted and supported,” she shares. To those considering volunteering at Canal Alliance, Barbara extends a heartfelt invitation. “It’s a wonderful organization serving an important population,” she emphasizes. “Every contribution, whether through time or resources, makes a difference.” 

Barbara Rowe’s dedication to service serves as a beacon of hope in Marin County, inspiring others to make a difference and spreading warmth and kindness wherever she goes. 

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