Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November


There are many, many ways to be a good neighbor in your neighborhood, larger community, and the world, in the month of November, but I’m focusing on just five here. Two have a military theme, another two encourage supporting local crafters and artisans, as well as small businesses, and the fifth shines a light on World Kindness Week.

Before I do, this November is a big presidential election month; check out earlier posts on how to be a good neighbor at election time. Number one is voting, and next is getting along with others both online and off while discussing political viewpoints.

I also shared a short list of where to donate to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, another good thing to do in November. Later this month, look for a post on “Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor at Thanksgiving.”

In the meantime, here are the five general ways I’m suggesting this month.

  1. Honor Our Veterans: Sunday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day; show you care by attending a local Veterans Day parade or event. The largest Veterans Day parade in Northern California is in downtown San Jose. A special ceremony takes place “at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street, in honor of the 1918 Armistice of the “War to End All Wars.” The Parade begins at noon, traveling east along Santa Clara Street to Market Street, then south toward the reviewing stand at Park Street, opposite Plaza de Cesar Chavez. That same day San Francisco has its parade starting at 11 a.m. from Market and Second streets, winding up at City Hall. If you’re in the East Bay on Sunday, Nov. 4, don’t miss the Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade in downtown Pleasanton, beginning at 1 p.m. A special ceremony follows at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St. Marines will be collecting new toys for the Toys for Tots program at the parade review stand and the Veterans Memorial Building. Keep an eye out for other veterans events happening around the Bay Area this month.
  2. Support Current Soldiers and Their Families: The American Red Cross is once again organizing its Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The organization is accepting notes and cards for soldiers through Dec. 7. See the website for complete instructions on what to write and how to ship the cards. Write a few yourself, or organize your friends or community group to create and send big batches. November is also Military Family Appreciation Month, to show support for the spouses, children, and other loved ones of service members. See the National Military Family Association website for an excellent list of ways you can help these families cope with sometimes extraordinary circumstances. For ways to help service people, veterans, and military family members find employment, see the Joining Forces website.
  3. Visit a Holiday Craft Fair or Bazaar at Your Local Church/School/Community Center: Groups all over are putting on holiday craft fairs this month to raise funds, or support local crafters and artisans. It’s a great way to get a jump on holiday shopping while supporting local groups and micro businesses at the same time. It’s also a nice way to get to know more people in your community. One of these holiday craft fairs is the Church of the Ascension Christmas Boutique in Saratoga, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 10, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 11. The church is located at 12033 Miller Ave., Saratoga. On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Mountain View Senior Center is hosting its 2012 Holiday Bazaar, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 266 Escuela Ave. Also on that day is the first ever holiday craft fair to support the Veterans Supportive Services Agency (VSSA), in San Jose. It’s happening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Noble House, 14630 Noble Ave. Up in Berkeley, the La Peña cultural center is hosting the 18th annual Womyn of Color Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center is located at 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
  4. Support Small Business: While you’re supporting local artisans and organizations, consider shopping and dining at small businesses in your city on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, and throughout the holiday season. While it is easier, and sometimes cheaper, to buy online, it does not contribute to the vibrancy and long-term health of our communities. Consider committing yourself to spending a certain percentage of money this season at small businesses near you. The 3/50 Project encourages each of us to pick 3 local businesses to patronize on a regular basis, committing to spending at least $50 a month locally. If half of the employed population spent $50 a month at locally owned, independent businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue, according to the 3/50 website. For every $100 spent at such businesses, $68 comes back to the community in taxes, payroll and other expenditures; only $43 comes back shopping at a national chain store. Zero comes back shopping online.
  5. Celebrate World Kindness Week: Like the popular Random Acts of Kindness Week each February, World Kindness Week promotes displaying kindness to others. The week is sponsored by the World Kindness Movement, which got its start in 1997 at an international conference in Japan; the week officially launched in 2000. This year World Kindness Week takes place Nov. 12-18, with World Kindness Day falling on Nov. 13. For ways to be kind that week (or anytime), see the Good Neighbor Stories Be Kind: Kindness Ideas Page.


  1. Great list Pam!

    I think I can wrap a bunch of these up in one neat package! Kindly come to our shop in San Mateo ( on Small Business Saturday where you’ll find a US Air Force veteran ready to help you find just the right gift from our selection of fair-trade crafts and jewelry from all over the world plus books, games, toys, music, films, and other products that promote peacemaking, gender equality, and sustainable living. That day we’ll donate a portion of all proceeds from the shop to the Wounded Warrior Project. AND, we’ll give you a free ticket to the San Jose Peace Fair at the Campbell United Methodist Church (Saturday December 1st from 11am to 4pm) and we’ll give you a flyer to the FREE Palo Alto Peace and Social Justice Craft, Gift, and Information Fair at First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto (Sunday December 9th from 11am to 2:30pm). AND, at our shop you’ll find the Good Neighbor Stories datebook for sale!

  2. Pam Marino says:

    Awesome, Craig! Nice how it all fits together!


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