Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in March


By SMcGarnigle on Flickr

Amidst the “special” days of March, there’s “Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day” (March 1), “Popcorn Lovers’ Day” (same day as “National Pi Day”, March 14), and, I kid you not, “Extraterrestrial Abductions Day” (March 20). I could go on, March has a lot of wacky days (“Everything You Think is Wrong Day” on March 15, anyone?).

Here at Good Neighbor Stories, I like to share five ways you can contribute to the local community each month. Here are the suggestions for March.

1) Catch Some Luck of the Irish: March is National Irish-American Heritage Month, designated by Congress starting in 1995. With more than 1 million people of Irish descent in the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s a lot of celebrating going on, and not just on St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, the 17th. Starting on Saturday, March 9, and going all the way to April 26, it’s the 10th anniversary of the Crossroads Irish-American Festival in San Francisco. The festival, “promotes the discovery and understanding of the Irish experience in the Americas to ensure that the richness of the arts, culture, history and traditions of this heritage are both held in great esteem and preserved for generations to come.” Check out the website for a schedule of events that include dance and music performances, films, author readings, and more. The Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose is hosting two events, “An Evening of Traditional Irish Music and Song with Story Road”, on March 3, and “Marvelous Tales”, a storytelling event of tales from around the world, March 22-24. And of course you can’t miss the 162nd annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the largest one west of the Mississippi. It includes an all-day festival on Civic Center Plaza. Parade starts at 11:30 a.m., on Sat., March 16.

2)  Celebrate and Support Women: March is also Women’s History Month, and Friday, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Groups all over the world are planning marches the 8th and 9th. In San Francisco, a march protesting violence against women sponsored by WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend), is scheduled for Saturday from 12 noon to 1 p.m. The march starts at Dolores Park, 566 Dolores St. On March 8, the Show and Tell Concept Shop, 1300 Clay St., #160, Oakland, is sponsoring an International Women’s Day Mixer for, “women entrepreneurs, creatives, small biz owners, artists, community activists and friends.” And on Sunday the 10th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the India Community Center, 525 Las Cochas St., Milpitas, is hosting an International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring multicultural stage performances, specialized seminars, international foods, and more. Other events this month include a talk on “The Struggle for Rights and Equality, Past, Present, and Future”, at the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center in Palo Alto on March 5,  a panel of journalists discussing the rights of Afghan women at San Jose State University on March 6, the My Step, Her Stride 5K Race in San Francisco on March 16 to support international projects that help women, and the SF Choral Artists: Voices of Women performances, March 2, 9, and 10, in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Oakland.

3) Be a Park Champion: The California State Parks Foundation invites all of us to become Park Champions, by helping clean up and restore our beautiful state parks. Volunteer events take place all over the state every month. Here in the Bay Area there are projects on March 3 at Half Moon Bay State Park, and on the 4th at Castle Rock State Park. There are also opportunities at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area on March 9, 20, and 22. Sign up in advance by clicking on projects listed on the project calendar.

4) Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day of Service: In Richmond community groups are celebrating their third annual Cesar Chavez Day of Service on Saturday, March 30, with volunteer projects and a fun festival for all ages. In addition to the projects, there will be free food, live performances, carnival games, and a commemoration of Chavez. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Richmond Greenway on 16th Street, between Ohio and Chanslor avenues. The actual Cesar Chavez Day is Sunday, March 31, and observed in California on Monday, April 1.

5) Celebrate Easter: For millions of Christians the holy day is celebrated this year on Sunday, March 31. Events from sacred to secular are taking place all over the Bay Area. Keep an eye out for churches in your community that are sponsoring free Easter Egg hunts and other special events. Consider joining in on a sunrise service or other worship on that day. On Union Street from Gough to Fillmore in San Francisco the 22nd annual Spring Celebration and Easter Parade is taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In Fremont you can enjoy the Easter Bonnets and Parade event at Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood  Blvd., starting at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $3 per person, children 5 and under are free. Participants get to create their own Easter bonnets up until noon, and then wear the bonnets in a parade at 1 p.m. Bunnies are available to meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.