Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December

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It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!

Jacob-Goeders-The-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Christmas-fund-drive

Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]

Help Us End Hunger; Our Virtual Food Drive Ends New Year’s Eve

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There is still time to donate to Good Neighbor Stories’ first virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The deadline to contribute is tomorrow, Dec. 31.Put On Your Game Face To Beat Hunger

I am very happy to announce that we reached our goal of raising at least $1,000! Thanks to many generous folks, we’ve raised $1,390.90 since earlier this month.

But the need is still great. Second Harvest officials say demand for food is up 50 percent this year, and holiday fundraising is falling below what’s needed going into 2012. If you are contemplating making a tax deductible contribution before year’s end, please consider donating to our drive. Thank you!

Virtual Food Drive: Your Donation Doubled Thanks To Generous Matching

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Every dollar that you donate to our virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is doubled, thanks to the Koret Foundation and a generous individual Food Donation Barreldonor. But don’t wait, our drive, and the matching donation program, ends Dec. 31.

Second Harvest officials say that every dollar donated means two meals for hungry families. With the matching program, that means for every dollar you donate by the end of the month, four meals are made possible!

Our goal is to raise $1,000 by Dec. 31, and it’s exciting to think that could mean $2,000 to combat hunger in our community. Help us meet that goal by donating today. Thank you!

Virtual Holiday Food Drive – We’re On Our Way!

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Second Harvest Food Bank Green Banner

Good Neighbor Stories launched its first virtual holiday food drive two days ago, and we’ve already collected 23 percent of our goal! As of Thursday night, we have $230.50 raised. Our goal is to raise $1,000 by Dec. 31, and we hope to move well beyond that amount.

Help us collect money to feed thousands of people in the Silicon Valley who are going hungry during these holidays, and throughout the year. Check out our complete instructions on how to donate. 

The money that goes to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties helps people from all walks of life and backgrounds. One example of how the agency helps people with the most basic of necessities, is found in this story from the group’s Fall 2011 newsletter:

My name is Carl. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and grew up on a ranch, where I worked until graduating from high school. After moving to the Midwest to pursue a degree in electronics and serving in the Air Force as a mechanic, I moved back to the Bay Area to work at a high-tech company during its early years. I went on to work there for 31 years before being laid off in 2003.

I was unable to find stable work afterwards, so I was forced into early retirement and found myself needing food assistance for the first time in my life. I’m a proud man who has worked hard my entire life, so it was hard for me to ask for help, but I was hungry. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Holiday Food Drive – Help Us End Hunger

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Holiday Food DriveGood Neighbor Stories is proud to announce our first virtual holiday food drive! Help us this holiday season raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,000 between now and Dec. 31. We’re sponsoring the food drive in memory of Dave Severns, who created the Severns-Pease Christmas Light Display in Sunnyvale. Last holiday season Dave raised more than $84,000 for Second Harvest.

The food bank’s officials expect one in 10 residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties will turn to the agency for food this holiday season. The economy has driven up the numbers of our Silicon Valley neighbors going hungry; 80 percent of the agencies that distribute food from Second Harvest report an increased need over past years. Help us ensure that families experiencing hunger get access to food this winter by donating through our food drive.

It’s easy to participate. Go to https://donate.shfb.org/vfd/, click on “Friends and Family Drive” on the “Donor Type” drop down menu, and then click on “Good Neighbor Stories” on the “Organization Name” drop down menu. [Read more…]

Dave Severns Passes Away; He Fought Hunger, Lit Up Community at Christmas

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Good Neighbor Stories is sad to report that Dave Severns, the man who raised thousands of dollars to combat hunger in this community through a dazzling Christmas lights display, has died after a long battle with cancer. The family announced there will be no more Christmas light shows at their Sunnyvale home.Severns-Pease-Christmas-Display-Dave-Severns-Sunnyvale

Last year Dave’s spectacular display of lights and music raised $84,000 in food and money for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Over the years Dave had collected so much food and raised so much money, he reached the distinction of collecting a million pounds worth of food for the food bank, something usually only achieved by large companies running food drives.

Each year thousands of people drove by his and the home of his next-door neighbors, the Pease family, to see the coordinated show between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Rather than sell tickets, Dave wanted to help the community, so he put out barrels to collect canned food, and encouraged folks to donate to the food bank.

Read the story about Dave, and then consider donating in his memory to the food bank.

See the Good Neighbor Stories video of the Severns-Pease Christmas Display from 2010, the last year it ran.

 

Dave Severns and the Severns-Pease Christmas Light Display is featured in the  Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! Start every day feeling good about the world!

Order Your Copy Today!

 

Update: Christmas Display Raising Money for Hungry Approaching Goal

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If you’re anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area, make sure you plan a trip to the Severns-Pease Christmas Display in Sunnyvale between now and Jan. 1. When you come, bring some non-perishable food, or a check. You’ll not only be helping to feed hungry families, you’ll help the neighbors who operate the display reach their goal of raising $80,000 for the local food bank this holiday season.

Severns-Pease-Christmas-Display-Dave-Severns-Sunnyvale

The Severns-Pease Christmas Display (www.severex.com) in Sunnyvale, CA., uses LED lights.

The display’s website now says that they have raised $62, 442. It’s quite a tall order to try to raise almost $18,000 in one week, but my money is on creator Dave Severns to reach the goal. He’s a competitive guy, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he figures out a way to attract more food and money donations. I plan on stopping by with some food in the next week to drop in the barrels outside of the display.