Turkeys and Cash In High Demand by Food Banks, Agencies Helping the Poor

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second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingThanksgiving is one week away and sadly local food banks and other agencies helping those in need are short of turkeys and money. Nonprofit officials are putting out the call to the public to donate generously as soon as possible.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday that the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks were short 800 turkeys, and The Alameda County Food Bank was still in need of 4,000 turkeys, hams and chickens. Also on Wednesday, Sacred Heart Community Services sent an email to supporters asking for 3,500 turkeys.

A “Turkey Tally” on the front page of the website for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties showed the agency only about half way to its goal of collecting 12,000 turkeys, as of late Wednesday afternoon.

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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…]

La Mesa Verde Gardeners Growing Community

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Debbie Cullati Meza

Like a flourishing vine extending outward, Debbie Cullati Meza’s tender loving care for two raised beds full of delicious and healthy vegetables goes beyond her back yard into her surrounding San Jose neighborhood.

Meza, a.k.a. the “Urban Garden Diva”, is a volunteer for La Mesa Verde, an urban gardening program at Sacred Heart Community Services, located in the Washington-Alma area. When she signed up to plant and tend the beds in her own yard, she jumped in to help grow the program for the entire neighborhood.

She writes a blog at urbangardendiva.blogspot.com, chronicling her experience tending the beds in her yard, has a Facebook page, and helps La Mesa Verde Program Manager Malin Ramirez in numerous other ways.

“It’s been incredible,” Meza said.  “This gardening has been a really important way for me to reconnect with people and for healing…it’s therapeutic and satisfying, plus now I’ve connected with a bunch of people.”

On Spring Planting Day back in April, after Meza received all the materials to create her new garden, she volunteered herself and her husband and son to help with more deliveries. They dropped off supplies and met with 14 other families that same day.

After a successful season with her own beds, she was excited for Fall Planting Day on Saturday, Sept. 29. And just as she had in spring, Meza was busy volunteering again, this time in the kitchen at Sacred Heart’s headquarters making coffee for more than 100 people.

The festive event included planting demonstrations in English and Spanish, testimonials from participants, and a time for families to pick up seedlings of broccoli, lettuce, peas, and other cool season crops to take home to their backyard gardens. [Read more…]