Archive for December, 2009

Caring for the Community – Part 3

December 19, 2009

Below is one more opportunity to help those in need in our community.  There are plenty of other such opportunities; but these are a start.

St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children is an organization dedicated to supporting homeless women and children, the most vulnerable of the homeless population, to advance from crisis situations to self-sufficiency.  In addition to shelter, St. John’s offers 90-day assistance programs with classes and counseling, and follow-up programs.

St. John’s website has a detailed “wish list” of items they need to be donated.  Among the many items listed are these:  High chairs; port-a-cribs; gift cards for gas, food, and for local supply stores (Home Depot, OSH and Lowe’s); bus passes; first-aid kits; umbrellas; hand & bath towels; laundry detergent; heavy-duty garbage bags; toilet paper; paper towels; women’s undergarments, pajamas and sweats; twin- and full-size sheets, blankets and pillows; diapers and diaper wipes; and many other items.

Please also note that, for a variety of reasons, they *can’t* accept:  Used toys, Happy Meal toys, used baby equipment, soiled/heavily worn clothing, or non-essential household items.  (I’d suggest looking at the list on the website, and/or calling or e-mailing at the contact information below, to make sure you are giving them the items they need.)

Donations can be delivered to St. John’s warehouse at 4410 Power Inn Road in Sacramento.  They can only accept donations at the following hours (please don’t leave donations behind apart from these times):

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 – 6 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information or to answer any questions, please contact Rachele Burton at rburton@stjohnsshelter.org, or call (916) 453-1482.

If you would prefer to send a cash donation and let St. John’s do the shopping, please send a check or money order to:

St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children

4410 Power Inn Road

Sacramento, CA 95826.

Caring for the Community – Part 2

December 19, 2009

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the annual Thanksgiving Run to Feed the Hungry, which raises funds for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.  Although I wasn’t there, I’m happy to note that in this year’s event (on November 26) over 29,000 participants ran the 5K or 10K runs.  While they have not yet posted how much money was raised, the 2008 Run to Feed the Hungry (with 28,000 participants running) raised $750,000 to help needy families and individuals in the Sacramento area.

This holiday season, the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (located at 3333 Third Avenue in Oak Park) has a number of opportunities to help:

* The Adopt-a-Family program is nearing its donation deadline of Monday, December 21.  The idea is for family, friends, co-workers and other groups to agree to “adopt” a needy family and provide them with gifts for the holidays.  Donors receive names, genders, ages, clothing sizes for each child, and specific needs.  There are still needy families who have not yet been “adopted,” so if you are interested in helping out, please e-mail Genevieve Diegnan at gdeignan@sacramentofoodbank.org, or call her at (916) 648-8736.  Donations need to be dropped off on Monday, December 21 at the Saca Community Learning Center (2469 Rio Linda Blvd. in Sacramento); so please contact Genevieve soon if you are interested.

* Donate a holiday meal basket.  Hams, rolls, canned goods, pies, and other festive foods will be given away to help an additional 500 families eat a nutritious holiday meal.  Please contact the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services office at (916) 456-1980, if you are interested in donating.

* Cash donations will also be used to provide holiday cheer for needy families.  Please call the Food Bank office at the number above, or go to their website for more information:  www.sacramentofoodbank.org .

Caring for the Community – Part 1

December 19, 2009

Winter evenings can be beautiful, but the nights are long and chilly...and sadly, many people are going through hard times.

Dear Readers,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or are simply taking a breath now and then to feel the coolness of the air…I wish all of you well this holiday season.

In this season of reaching out, gift-giving, enjoying visits with family and friends, and community events, I would ask you not forget those in our community who are going through hard times, or who have fallen on hard times.  It may be easy to be distracted by the search for the perfect gifts, or by the latest parties and the social whirl…but when all is said and done, in these difficult economic times, if we have enough of what we need for ourselves and our families, we should take a page from Thanksgiving Day, and remember to be grateful.

There are a number of opportunities to reach out and help those in need–not just this holiday season, but year-round.  I’m reminded of an old “Peanuts” comic strip where Lucy says something to the effect that the holidays are the “one time each year” when people are nicer to each other.  Charlie Brown asks, “Why does it have to be one time a year? Why can’t people be nicer to each other all year long?”  Lucy responds: “What are you, some kind of fanatic or something?”  We laugh, but let’s remember that there are serious needs in our community all year long…and opportunities for us to reach out and help are there all year long, too.

Here’s one opportunity to help:

Sacramento Loaves & Fishes is a faith-based organization that seeks to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, “providing an oasis of welcome, safety and cleanliness” for homeless men, women and children.  It relies solely on private donations, and accepts no government funds.  In addition to feeding and sheltering the homeless, it provides a range of services, from a school for homeless children (the Mustard Seed school), to mental health counseling (the Genesis project), to other programs.

Loaves and Fishes is currently preparing its annual Christmas Meal for the Homeless.  They are planning to serve a hot meal and give out Christmas stockings to over 1,000 homeless people this year.

They need:

Cooked or smoked hams; cooked or smoked turkeys; baked pies (assorted kinds); whipped cream (aerosol cans); apple juice (gallon size); cranberry sauce (large cans); clove seasoning; marshmallows; yams; Karo syrup; macaroni noodles; cheese (sharp cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella); pineapples (canned, sliced); mustard greens; ice cream (vanilla); peaches (large cans); Bisquick mix; dinner rolls (white and wheat).

If you wish to donate for the Christmas meal, please deliver to the Loaves and Fishes warehouse at 1400 North C Street by December 24.  The warehouse is accepting deliveries at the following times:

Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 19-20,  8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday – Thursday, Dec. 21-24, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about donating for the Christmas meal, or about Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, its programs and year-round volunteer and donation opportunities, please call (916) 446-0874, or e-mail info@sacloaves.org; or check out their website: www.sacloaves.org.

Tour the McClatchy Library Upstairs!

December 7, 2009

The inside of our neighborhood's very own E.K. McClatchy Library.

The E.K. McClatchy Library (at 2112 22nd Street, between U and V) will be having a special event this Saturday, December 12, from 1 to 3 p.m.  As the final entry in the Library’s “Greening the Neighborhood” series, patrons will be able to tour the rarely-seen upstairs floor of the Library (in groups no larger than eight, taking tours every 20 minutes).

Once a home owned by the McClatchy family, the Library was dedicated in 1940 and once used the upstairs bedrooms for club rooms for local youths.  Later the upstairs was closed due to fire regulations, and only in the past few years has the Library management been able to begin the long process of restoring the second floor for future uses.  This tour will show off a part of the Library most patrons never get to see.

After the tour, patrons can also enjoy making gingerbread houses.  Sounds like a festive treat to me!  The event is sponsored by the Friends of the McClatchy Library.  For more information, please call (916) 264-2700.

Support the Community! Shop Local this Holiday Season!

December 3, 2009

Okay, so the holidays are here…and even though it’s a tough economy, a lot of us will still be out shopping for presents for our friends and loved ones.  So let me ask you:  Are you tired of the same old driving to a “big box” store, and getting the same old stuff everybody else is getting?  Would you like to do something this holiday season to help locally-owned, independent business right here in our community?  If so, why not do your holiday shopping at those local, independent businesses?

The website downtowngrid.com is a good way to find local businesses that might have what you want.  Just take a look around!  Midtown, of course, has lots of small businesses, boutiques, bookstores, and yummy restaurants (for gift certificates for that food-lover on your list!).  The 16th and Broadway area:  Music stores, a bookstore, a movie theater, and even more restaurants.  And there are lots of other cool or interesting places to shop around town, where you’re treated like a real person; you can keep going back and get to know the people you’re buying from; you’re not asked to sign up for a credit card or pay to get into a “club”; and–best of all–your money stays here in the community.

For enhancing the outdoor shopping experience, check out the lovely (temporary, of course) outdoor skating rink on 20th Street next to J Street.  It could be fun for you and your friends and family to share…and then, nearby, you can pop in for coffee or food, or browse for magazines or clothes…or take a stroll down the streets and see what’s waiting for you.  And that’s just one possibility…

And oh, yes, there are a few stores and restaurants right here in the Newton Booth neighborhood, too (or just nearby).  The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op has lots of gift ideas (fresh-ground coffee from the Co-op is one of my favorite gifts, but you will undoubtedly find others).  And if you live here in the neighborhood, you may not even have to drive…save yourself the hassle of finding a parking space in some overcrowded mall parking lot, give yourself a little exercise, and walk to your shopping destination!

Think of it–without local customers like you, some of these little stores and restaurants…well, just might not make it in these tough times.  Then you’d *have* to go to a big box store…and that would be kind of a shame, wouldn’t it?  Try shopping local…because the real gift is a vibrant community.