Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in May

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Silicon Valley GivesApril showers bring…weeds! I was greeted by a whole new crop of weeds at my community garden plot this week. My May will include heavy doses of weed pulling, digging, and finally planting vegetable and flower seedlings for a summer/fall harvest. In between weeding and digging sessions, I’ll also be taking part in some community-building activities.

What about you? What will you be doing to make your world a better place this month? I’ve got five suggestions for you right here.

1. Make Silicon Valley Giving History: Tuesday, May 6, marks the first Silicon Valley Gives, a single-day online fundraising event for several hundred nonprofits in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito counties. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is organizing the drive, in honor of the 100th anniversary of community foundations. The day is in part modeled after the wildly successful #GivingTuesday, which launched nationally the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2012 and grew exponentially in 2013. By concentrating efforts on raising money on a single day to a single fundraising platform, smaller nonprofits benefit from the wave of publicity generated by the event. Find your favorite valley charity on Razoo.com and give a donation on May 6.

2. Celebrate 20 Years of Bike to Work Day: Thursday, May 8, is the 20th anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. More than 300 energizer stations will be available all over the bay area during the morning commute hours, with volunteers passing out free food and drink and offering lots of encouragement to commuting bicyclists. Register to participate (it’s free!) at youcanbikethere.com. You can also nominate someone as Bicycle Commuter of the Year. National Bike to School Day is Friday, May 7. In addition, the last week in May locally is Bike to Worship Week.

3. Thank a Nurse: National Nurses Week is Tuesday, May 6, through Monday, May 12. Take this opportunity to thank the nurses in your life for all of the important care they give to all of us.

4. Get Your Feet Wet (and Hands Dirty): National River Cleanup Day is Saturday, May 17. Once again there are hundreds of cleanup events throughout the Bay Area from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Register in advance to get the creek or waterway nearest you, as volunteer registrations fill up quickly. Follow instructions at the website to find out what to wear, bring, etc.

5. Remember the Fallen: It’s easy to forget that Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, is a part of Memorial Day weekend, what with all the sales, vacation travel, and festivals that sometimes crowd out the original intention of a day to remember fallen U.S. service men and women. This year consider taking some time to attend a Memorial Day event or service, like the annual USS San Francisco Memorial Ceremony at Lands End, in San Francisco, on Sunday, May 25. The biggest Memorial Day event is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May 26, at The Presido in San Francisco; this year’s ceremony pays tribute to Vietnam veterans. Check with your city, local cemetery or veterans organization to find out what’s happening near you. And don’t forget to display an American flag that day.