Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December


gift-of-reading-san-jose-mercury-resource-area-for-teachers-RAFT-five-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-in-DecemberThis year December and the season of sharing kicks off big time with #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3. While a lot of emphasis is on making online donations to deserving charities that day, giving includes sharing yourself through volunteering, making responsible shopping choices, donating to collection drives, and other similar ways. Here are five ways you can make an impact on your world this month.

1. Give the Gift of Reading: The annual Gift of Reading book drive is struggling this year and could really use help in collecting new and like-new books for kids in need. As of the day before Thanksgiving, the drive had only collected 3,200 books, far short of the 50,000 goal, according to San Jose Mercury columnist Sal Pizarro. The drive is co-sponsored by the Mercury and the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT). Consider dropping off a children’s book at one of many South Bay locations, or donate money online so the folks at RAFT can purchase books for kids, some of whom have never owned their own book before. The drive ends Friday, Dec. 13. Or give books, toys, gift cards, and other goods in one of the many donation drives taking place throughout the holidays.

2. Help a Neighbor with Decorations: This idea comes from our original list of “30 Ways to be a Good Neighbor at the Holidays.” Maybe an older or disabled neighbor would like a few strings of lights adorning his or her home. Or, you could suggest to a neighbor that you help each other. Offer to not only help with installation, but also with taking them down and putting them away later.

3. Run With Santa: A new tradition is afoot in San Jose. It’s the TiVo Santa Run Silicon Valley, which raises money for two local holiday institutions, Christmas in the Park and and Downtown Ice. The 5K run/walk takes place the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 15, in downtown San Jose. Runners can dress up like Santa, or any other holiday-themed character. See the website for complete details. Or take advantage of one of the other holiday charity runs coming up: the Jingle Run in Los Altos on Dec. 15, or the Christmas 5K in Pleasanton on Dec. 22.

4. Reach Out to Seniors: Find out if the local senior citizen facility or center near you could use some help this holiday season. Set aside a few hours to volunteer and spread a little cheer among seniors.

5. Be a Renegade: The Fifth Annual Renegade Craft Fair is taking place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 21-22, at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco. The fair features a curated selection of more than 250 talented craftspeople, along with entertainment, workshops, plus food and drink Entrance into the event is free. Bring cash to buy some one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, and support an artist from the DIY craft movement. Check out the website for more details.