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


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!

Good News To Me: Dec. 28, 2011


“Good News To Me” is an ongoing feature that highlights good news from the media. If you see some good news, use our contact form to send us the link.

Having cut my teeth in the newspaper business, when people say “there’s only bad news in the paper,” I know it’s simply not true. Today’s Mercury News is a good case in point.Mercury News

Police Officer Raises Money For Family That Lost Home Before Christmas

The front page of the local section features three stories of people giving of themselves for others. Like the story about San Jose Police Officer Christian Camarillo, who was moved to help a family that lost their home in a fire just two days before Christmas. In just the last few days, Camarillo has raised $2,500 from other officers and friends to help the children have the Christmas they lost, and to begin rebuilding their lives. Other people and organizations have also stepped up to help; a list of how to participate accompanies the article. [Read more…]

How To Combat Donor Fatigue


We are four days to Dec. 31, and if you’re like me, the requests for year-end donations are pouring in via Internet and other media, snail mail, and phone. During the holidays even shopping trips Overflowing mailboxare accompanied by ringing bells, giving trees, small donations at the register and donation jars. Admittedly, Good Neighbor Stories is part of the onslaught, with our own virtual food drive.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the face of so many requests for help. “Donor fatigue” is a real condition that charities are well aware of. The Mercury News posted a story on Christmas that describes just how worn out people feel this holiday season after hearing so many pleas.

There are ways to cope and not feel so burned out. Here are are few suggestions. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

  • Decide what causes you are most passionate about. What stirs your heart the most? Children? Hunger? Animals? The environment? A particular part of the world like Africa or Asia? A religious institution? Figure our what you care about and then narrow your giving focus to those specific causes. [Read more…]

Virtual Food Drive: Your Donation Doubled Thanks To Generous Matching


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!

Peace (And Social Justice) On Earth


While the malls were bursting at the seams on a recent weekend, another shopping mall of sorts was bustling, as well. The items at this makeshift mall were just a little different than the ones for sale down the road. These items at the Peace and Social Justice Fair at First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto on Dec. 11 aimed to make the world a better place.

From beads, to fair trade coffee, to books, to recycled gift items, there was plenty to choose from. There was also lots of information about how to make a difference here in the Bay Area, as well as around the world. And there were kittens and birds—on opposite ends of the room—looking for loving homes. [Read more…]

Company’s Employees Skip Holiday Party For Largest-Ever Service Event


Last weekend NVIDIA’s employees chose hammers and shovels over hors d’oeuvres and Champagne, forgoing a holiday party and instead taking part in one of Silicon Valley’s largest-ever employee volunteer service events.

About 1,500 employees, their families, and other volunteers descended on the nonprofit Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale Friday and Saturday to saw wood, swing hammers, shovel dirt, paint and more. The result was a huge boost to the farm’s ability to provide nutrition education to students and fresh produce to the community.

On Saturday morning about 1,000 grownups, teens and children were busily tilling soil, building new structures and planters, and painting murals on the 11-acre farm located on land leased from the Santa Clara Unified School District.

“I think parties are kind of selfish and this is selfless,” said Chris Pedersen, a content developer for NVIDIA, who was busy digging raised beds with his wife and two kids on Saturday. “I think it’s awesome; you always go home with a really good feeling.”

The technology company stopped having holiday parties 11 years ago, and had been doing annual community service on a smaller scale, until 5 years ago when employees organized under the banner Project Inspire, said spokesperson Tonie Hansen.

The Project Inspire events started with about 500 employees and other volunteers, but over the years has continued to grow, peaking at this year’s 1,500 participants. [Read more…]

Neighbor Carries On Holiday Tradition Of Lights For Good


The Christmas lights on Tangerine Way went dark when Dave Severns passed away recently, but a neighbor is carrying on Severns’ tradition of using a dazzling light show to help hungry peopleSeverns-Pease Christmas Display in the Silicon Valley.

According to today’s San Jose Mercury News, neighbor Anthony Bernal, of 716 Peach Avenue, Sunnyvale, is sponsoring his own light show, “Lights on Peach Avenue”, in memory of Severns. He’s hosting a special event tomorrow night, Sunday, Dec. 11, to collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, Severns’ favorite charity. Collection bins will be available for the drop off of non-perishable food. There will also be treats for visitors.

Bernal told the Mercury that his show features 18,000 lights, which is about 70,000 less than Severns had as of last year, but it sounds like Bernal is just getting started. Even Severns told Good Neighbor Stories last year that he started small more than 15 years ago and worked his way up.

If you can’t make it to the Peach Avenue show tomorrow night, you can donate to Second Harvest through our own virtual food drive for the charity through Dec. 31.

Animal Shelters Offering $10 Adoptions To Bring Pets ‘Home For The Holidays’


Six Silicon Valley animal agencies are promoting $10 adoptions between Dec. 9 and Dec. 31 in an effort to find homes for 1,000 pets in a drive they are calling “Home For The Holidays”. Home for Holidays Pet Adoptions

Humane Society Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County Animal Shelter, City of Palo Alto Animal Services, Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority, City of San Jose Animal Care and Services, and Town Cats are working together on the drive.

The group set up a counter at to keep track of the adoptions between now and the end of the month. Click on any of the logos at the bottom of the page to be redirected to the shelters for more information and to see available pets.

Not all pets will be available at the $10 rate; some animals younger than six months will require standard adoptions fees.

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


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…]

30 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor This Holiday Season – Part 3


We’re counting down 30 ways to be a good neighbor during the holidays. We started with Part 1, how to be a good neighbor in your own neighborhood, followed by Part 2, how to help the greater

Peace Pendant

community. Today we list the ways we can all be better neighbors to the world.

Good Neighbor Stories wishes everyone a very joyous holiday season to all! Please be a part of our neighborhood by leaving your comments and ideas. Share with us how you’re being a good neighbor to others, or how someone reached out and blessed you.