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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011

Here’s wishing a happy and healthy 2011 to all our good neighbors!


Update: Christmas Display Raising Money for Hungry Approaching Goal

December 24, 2010

If you’re anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area, make sure you plan a trip to the Severns-Pease Christmas Display in Sunnyvale between now and Jan. 1. When you come, bring some non-perishable food, or a check. You’ll not only be helping to feed hungry families, you’ll help the neighbors who operate the display reach their goal of raising $80,000 for the local food bank this holiday season.

The Severns-Pease Christmas Display ( in Sunnyvale, CA., uses LED lights.

The display’s website now says that they have raised $62, 442. It’s quite a tall order to try to raise almost $18,000 in one week, but my money is on creator Dave Severns to reach the goal. He’s a competitive guy, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he figures out a way to attract more food and money donations. I plan on stopping by with some food in the next week to drop in the barrels outside of the display.

Generosity Good, Good For You, According to Research

December 24, 2010

On this Christmas Eve when we’re all in a more generous mood, here’s a link to an excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle about research that shows being generous and volunteering reaps big rewards for the person displaying generosity.

Giving and helping others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves, research shows. Although there is a side of doing volunteer work or giving from a purely self-interested point of view: we get more respect in the community, our influence grows, and people will be willing to cooperate with us more. It’s an interesting read.

Christmas Party Spans Divide Between Rich, Poor, If Only For An Evening

December 17, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA. – On one recent evening in a downtown office, the great divide between Silicon Valley’s rich and poor melted away amidst some baked ham, gingerbread cookies and a few Christmas carols.

About 50 guests from a local homeless shelter and a low-income housing complex and their volunteer hosts enjoyed a little Christmas spirit around festive tables before shuttling back to a life of uncertainty.

There was no agenda that night, other than to give guests a chance to relax, enjoy a holiday meal, and share conversations away from the stress of a life on the streets.

The event was the third annual “Luke 14” Christmas Party at The River Church Community in downtown San Jose. Overseeing the festivities was Andy Singleterry and his wife Janet, church members who have both committed themselves to working with the poor. Volunteers from The River and at least two other local churches joined them.

As Singleterry explained to the hosts in a huddle before guests arrived, the title “Luke 14” comes from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14, in which Jesus advises people to “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind,” instead of their rich friends and neighbors.

Among the volunteers that night were high tech employees, leaders in business, educators, and in some cases their children, for whom homelessness is usually more of an abstract idea than a reality. For this one evening the volunteers and the homeless and low income men and women interacted as if there was no divide between them, sharing stories about families, lives, and memories of Christmas’ past.


Update: “Magical Christmas Light Display” On Track to Raise $80,000 to Feed Hungry

December 16, 2010

Earlier this month I told you about the Severns-Pease Christmas Display, the 88,000-lights and music show that is simultaneously raising money to feed hungry people in the community and entertaining all who come to see it. Last year the neighbors behind the fundraising and food drive collected $54,000 between Thanksgiving weekend and New Year’s.

Dave Severns just announced that thus far they have collected $52,000 worth of food and money, as of December 15! Only half way through the season, and they are just shy of last year’s amount! Just $28,000 to go before they reach this year’s goal of $80,000, with about two and a half weeks to do get there. All the money and food goes to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and haven’t seen the display yet, now is the time to visit. And bring a can of food to donate, some quarters for the snow machine, or a check.

You can follow their fundraising progress here, or by joining the display’s Facebook page.


Silicon Valley Animal Shelter Sends Out Urgent Call for Help Finding Homes for Dogs

December 11, 2010

Jojo needs a home.

If you’re a dog lover prone to adopting pets in need, proceed with caution. A “drastic” increase in recent weeks of the number of homeless dogs in local animal shelters has Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) officials asking the public to consider fostering or adopting dogs.

San Jose Animal Care and Services has 59 dogs up for adoption, more than twice as many as there is space. In addition, another 200 dogs are waiting for spaces to open up in the adoption area. Humane Society officials brought 15 dogs from San Jose to their center in Milpitas to help with the overflow. The HSSV center has a whopping 11 puppies and 55 dogs available for adoption. Other local shelters are also overflowing.

Acknowledging that “times are tough” the Humane Society is offering a special “Your Price is Right” deal, where adopters name their own adoption fee. Training deposits and licensing fees still apply. The deal is good through December 31.

The organization is also looking for experienced “dog guardians” who will foster dogs for short periods of time.

“CHiPs for Kids”: San Francisco Bay Area CHP Asks Help in Spreading Holiday Cheer

December 10, 2010

The Golden Gate Division of the California Highway Patrol is asking the public’s help in collecting toys and canned food for needy children this holiday season. “CHiPs for Kids” runs through December 20. Collection spots around the Bay Area are available to take new toys that will be distributed to children in local shelters.

“Last year’s toy drive was a big success, and we hope to collect even more toys this year,” said Chief Teresa Becher, Division Chief of the CHP Golden Gate Division office, in a press release.

The campaign also spotlights the importance of safe driving, including wearing seat belts and the proper use of child safety seats.

Below are the CHP offices that are accepting donations Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Golden Gate Division
1551 Benicia Road., Vallejo

(707) 648-4180

Castro Valley
21020 Redwood Road, Castro Valley
(510) 581-9028
3601 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
(510) 450-3821
Contra Costa
5001 Blum St., Martinez
(925) 646-4980
Redwood City
355 Convention Way, Redwood City
(650) 369-6261
4999 Gleason Rd., Dublin
(925) 828-0466
San Francisco
455 Eighth St., San Francisco
(415) 557-1094
2434 Whipple Rd., Hayward
(510) 489-1500
San Jose
2020 Junction Ave., San Jose
(408) 467-5400
53 San Clemente Dr., Corte Madera
(415) 924-1100
Santa Rosa
6100 LaBath Ave., Rohnert Park
(707) 588-1400
975 Golden Gate Dr., Napa
(707) 253-4906
3050 Travis Blvd., Fairfield
(707) 428-2100