Sacred Heart Needs 17,000 Toys by Dec. 20

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Courtesy Sacred Heart Community Service.

Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose needs to collect 2,000 new, unwrapped toys a day by Dec. 20 for more than 5,000 children already registered to receive Christmas gifts, according to agency officials.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 11, the agency had only collected 950 toys as a part of its annual Holiday Food and Toy Program, a deficit of 17,150 toys, officials told supporters in an email.

UPDATE 12/18/13: Sacred Heart still needs 9,000 toys by Dec. 20. Please check out the latest story for more info.

“We are especially in need of teen gifts, action figures, sports equipment, and books,” the email states.

Donation station hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, with special holiday hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15. The agency is located at 1381 S. First St., San Jose. Monetary donations are also accepted online.

[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…]

Food, Food, Everywhere, and Not a Morsel to Eat; Food Drive Donations Important

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Everywhere you turn  on television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc., there is food. How to buy it, cook it, eat it. Competitions to find Second-Harvest-Food-Bank-Santa-Clara-San-Mateo-Counties-Good-Neighbor-Stories-Virtual-Food-Drivethe best people to cook it or bake it. And at the holidays it only seems to amplify, with an endless array of special foods to enjoy, or on which to splurge and indulge.

And yet for an estimated 700,000 people in the San Francisco Area each month, food—especially healthy food—is limited, and often by the end of the month, nonexistent. In one of the richest metropolitan areas in the country, 700,000 people—just under the population of San Mateo County—are hungry, and even starving.

That’s why those of us who have enough food, and in many cases, so much food that we’re throwing it away, need to chip in and help our neighbors who do not have enough.

If you are so inclined to help others facing hunger this holiday season, it is very, very easy to donate food or money. Nearly every supermarket has a food bank barrel near entrances. Buy some extra cans or boxes and drop them in the barrel on your way out.

Donating online is also simple. Good Neighbor Stories is sponsoring a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, with a goal of raising $1,500 by Jan. 1. You can click on the link right now and give a special holiday gift for a local family. It does not have to be a large gift; any size donation is gratefully accepted.

This year we’re offering a special gift for anyone that donates $100 or more: a free copy of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! Just send us a soft copy of your donation receipt.

Please help us reach our goal, and help local families and individuals be a little less hungry and food insecure at the holidays and into the New Year. Thank you!

 

 

Get into the Holiday Spirit With Severns-Pease Light Display Video

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The most popular post on Good Neighbor Stories is from two years ago about Dave Severns and his Severns-Pease Christmas Display in Sunnyvale. During the 2010 holiday season alone, Dave raised $84,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, $4,000 over Dave’s goal for the year, and nearly $30,000 over the previous year.

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Dave passed away in October 2011 from cancer, and the family opted to not continue the popular—and labor intensive—display of 88,000 lights. His legacy lives on, however; a group of friends launched a golf tournament in his name this year, to benefit Second Harvest. Last year this website launched a virtual food drive in his memory, raising nearly $1,400. We’re repeating the drive again this year; I hope you’ll consider donating to help end hunger in Silicon Valley.

The display is also featured in the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook, with photos provided by the Severns family, and a story about Dave.

Did you ever see the Severns-Pease Christmas Display in person? Share your memories with us in comments!

We’re Kicking Off Our Second Annual Virtual Food Drive!

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I’m proud to announce that for the second year in a row, Good Neighbor Stories is hosting a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Last year we raised almost $1,400 to feed local hungry families and individuals, exceeding our $1,000 goal. This year the goal is to raise $1,500 between now and Jan. 1, 2013.

Second Harvest officials estimate that they help one person out of every 10 in Silicon Valley. The organization does an efficient job of helping those hungry people: for every $1 donated, officials estimate that two meals are provided.

The efficiency extends to the online donation process, which was streamlined considerably this year. Last year’s process was a little more cumbersome, but Second Harvest apparently listened to input and made necessary improvements to the system.

To donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive, go to our donor page and fill out the form. The whole thing takes only a minute or two. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will make a difference in the lives of local hungry families.

This year I’m offering an incentive to the first 10 people willing to donate $100 or more to the virtual food drive. Email me a copy of your receipt, and in return I’ll send you a thank you gift of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook, free of charge. You’ll feel good about helping others, and all throughout next year using the datebook.

Please consider making a donation today. Thank you!

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…]

Long List of Local Agencies Needing Holiday Help

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If you’re looking for ways to help those in need this holiday season, the San Jose Mercury News recently published a list of more than 25 organizations and agencies requesting the public’s help.

The groups were asking for everything from cash donations, to gift cards, food, clothing, blankets, unwrapped toys, and even things like gift wrap and bows.

For example, groups and agencies like Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), the City of Saratoga, the Gardner Family Care Corporation, the Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County are in need of new, unwrapped toys, books, and other gifts.

The Bill Wilson Center needs lots of gift cards to give to the youth in their program. Many of the teens and young adults don’t get to go shopping very often for something new, and gift cards allow them to get the size, style, and color of the things they need and want most.

Family Supportive Housing is seeking donations of new pillows and blankets (both twin and full sizes), new socks and underwear for children, as well as unwrapped toys and gift cards. Alum Rock Counseling Center could use not only toys and bikes for approximately 200 children, leaders are also asking for donations of large rolls of wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and bows, baskets, tinned cookies, candy, bottled water, and more.

See the complete list for more information. If you know of additional holiday donation opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, please tell us in comments.

 

 

 

Stamp Out Hunger: Send More Than Mail on Saturday

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Mail carriers will be picking up and delivering more than mail this Saturday, May 12, as part of the  Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the largest single-day effort to combat hunger in America.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the 20-year-old program is also the largest single-day food drive for local food banks, according to officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The drive comes just as food banks are gearing up to feed area children through the summer who will lose access to subsidized school lunches.

Anyone can participate by leaving a sturdy bag of non-perishable food by their mailbox before the mail is delivered on Saturday. Food bank officials say items like peanut butter, pasta, rice, low-sugar cereal, and canned foods such as tuna, meat, stew, soup, and vegetables are needed the most. Mail carriers will deliver the food to local food banks. [Read more…]

30 Ways to Be A Good Neighbor This Holiday Season: Part 1

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Thanksgiving is behind us and we now start the march to the December holidays. Last year I ran a three-part series on ways to be a good neighbor during the holidays, and those ways remain as evergreen asPlate of cookies for neighbors. well, holiday evergreens. Today I’m reposting part 1 about how to be a good neighbor in your own neighborhood. Parts 2 and 3 talk about how to be a good neighbor in your greater community, and in the world.

Hope you enjoy these ideas, and please, share your own with us here! And if you do follow through on a good neighbor action this holiday season, share what happens with us here, too.