Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November

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San Jose Veterans Day ParadeThe Halloween decorations are on the discount aisle, and the Christmas decorations are already up and blinking away at many retailers, so it must mean it’s November. Before we hurtle ourselves toward December holidays, let’s take a deep breath and focus on Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what’s good in our lives, and share that thankfulness with others by making a difference in our communities.

Every month I suggest five ways to help others and build a stronger community. I hope you will consider trying at least one of these suggestions in November. Follow the links in each item to find out more.

1. Support Our Veterans: Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11, and there are numerous events taking place around the Bay Area to honor and support our veterans. One unique way is through “Operation Laughter”, a comedy show on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the De Anza Hotel in downtown San Jose. The show features two comedians who call themselves “The Joint Chief of Laffs”, and includes cocktails, appetizers, and a raffle. Proceeds go to help the Walking Point Foundation, which helps Iraq and Afghanistan war vets through the expressive and performing arts. Also in San Jose on Sunday, Nov. 10, is the National Veterans Day Run, on the Guadalupe River Trail. Proceeds go to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which helps the spouses and children of soldiers killed or wounded in war. On the actual day itself is the 95th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown San Jose, starting at 11 a.m. San Francisco’s 94th annual Veterans Day Parade also starts at 11 a.m., at the intersection of Second and Market streets. [Read more…]

Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Celebrates Supporters, Urges End to Childhood Hunger

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Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, and co-chair of the Second Harvest Food Bank 2012-13 holiday drive.

‘Good work! Keep going to end hunger!’, was the general message at Second Harvest Food Bank’s 22nd annual recognition event, this year called the “Make Hunger History Awards”, held Thursday, April 4, at the Computer Museum in Mountain View.

“We may not be able to end poverty, but let me tell you what we can do, we can ensure that every single person in Silicon Valley that needs a meal can get one,” said Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson. “We can make hunger history tonight.”

She asked the few hundred of the food bank’s faithful present to “double down” on fundraising this year to end childhood hunger, by doubling cash donations, holding food drives during both the holidays and the summer, or involving more friends and colleagues in drives.

Earlier the crowd was celebrated for raising $12.1 million worth of food and cash from October 2012, to January 2013, during the annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive for the nonprofit that covers Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The men of the hour on April 4 were co-chairs Dan Campbell, a COO at EMC Corporation, B.J. Jenkins, CEO of Barracuda Networks, and the crowd favorite Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, last season’s National Football Conference West champions.

The holiday food drive actually fell $300,000 short of it’s original goal of raising $12.4 million, the equivalent of 600,000 meals, but it was announced at the event that after a March 14 public announcement of the shortfall, locals responded by chipping in an additional $431,000.

In her remarks, Jackson put the size of the local hunger problem in a way people could relate to. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor at Thanksgiving

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It’s the Thanksgiving edition of our “Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor” series, with five suggestions of how you can be be a good neighbor in honor of one of America’s most treasured holidays. What better way to show how thankful you are by paying it forward to someone else?

1. Donate a Turkey – Today!: The latest news is that there is a serious turkey shortage at food banks and organizations around the Bay Area that provide the traditional bird to families in need. On Tuesday, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced it was nearly 6,000 turkeys short of its goal of 12,000 donations. Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose said it needed nearly 4,000 more turkeys. To donate, buy frozen and deliver (still frozen) to the agency of your choice. See the bottom of this post for a list of groups asking for donations. And don’t forget these agencies also need non-perishable fixings to go with the turkey, so consider an additional donation of some canned goods.

2. Invite an “Orphan” to Dinner: Set an extra place at the table for someone you know is going to be alone this Thanksgiving. Make them feel welcome and part of the celebration.

3. Mend a Relationship: Don’t go through another holiday harboring hard feelings toward a family member, close friend or neighbor. Offer a sincere apology, if necessary, and work toward forgiving past transgressions. Don’t try to control the outcome of your interactions; just focus on the good, and let go of any expectations. [Read more…]