Turkeys -- of the frozen, not wild, variety -- will be distributed to 250 Richmond families in need on Friday afternoon at the RPAL gymnasium, along with pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and gravy.

The distribution is made possible by the Original Mels Diner of Pinole, which inaugurated the holiday giveaway a year ago by giving away turkeys and side fixings for 240 families.

This year's distribution is being done through RPAL and other community organizations in Richmond.

Earlier this month Mels Diner in Pinole hosted a benefit for Interact public service clubs at Pinole Valley, Hercules, Middle College, De Anza, El Cerrito, Berkeley and Salesian high schools that raised funds for Asante Africa, a foundation that promotes education for African children.

TECH PROGRAM SEEKS MENTORS: Technovation, a national nonprofit program established "to inspire and support girls and women to become creators and innovators," is seeking mentors in the East Bay to work with young women of middle and high school age.

"Our mission is to inspire girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders and entrepreneurs," writes AnnaLise Hoopes, Technovation's Bay Area director. "In the program, students work in teams to build apps, write business plans, and pitch their ideas ... for a chance to win $10,000 in (venture capital) funding."

A team from Albany High School took first place in the Technovation Challenge last year and this year's challenge has teams forming from areas around the world.

The program sponsored a "Hack Day" at UC Berkeley on Dec. 15.

"We have served over 800 girls since the program began in 2010, and we hope to serve 1,000 girls next year as we expand globally," Hoopes said.

Details: www.technovationchallenge.org or annalise@iridescentlearning.org.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: Deborah Dashow Ruth, a longtime Kensington resident, is the first place winner in the McLean Drama Company's National 10-Minute Play Competition.

Her play "True Colors," a look at a couple's changing marital roles, was given two staged readings at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Rehearsal Hall in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21 and 22 with the playwright, a member of the Dramatist Guild, in attendance.

  • This column is saddened to share news of the death on Dec. 12 of Charlie Weaver, a certified public accountant who left a corporate job to open his own firm in El Cerrito in 1983. Weaver was active in the community with the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of El Cerrito, serving on the boards of both organizations.

    "Charlie Weaver was a kind and gentle man that cared deeply for his community," noted El Cerrito chamber President Judy Pope in announcing his passing. "It is my hope that we can honor his many years of service and dedication in a meaningful manner."

  • PanWest Caribbean Steelpan Music Center at 10855 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito -- recently featured in this publication -- is offering free drop-in beginners classes at 7 p.m. Mondays, though you might want to wait until after the holidays. Details: Harry Best at 510-222-1123 or panwestcsmc@gmail.com.

  • The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, "the only independent consumer review of children's media," annually presents awards on NBC's "Today" show for toys that "represent the most innovative, engaging new products of the year" (think nonplastic, non-electronic, non-big name branded).

    This year the OTP cited gamemaker Peaceable Kingdom in Berkeley, awarding it two Platinum Best Toy Awards for their entries Seeds For The Birds (ages 3 and up) and Race To The Treasure (ages 5 and up). Gold Awards went to Peaceable Kingdom's games Willy's Wiggly Web, Snug As A Bug In A Rug and Feed The Woozle (all for ages 3 and up).

    The 30-year-old company (www.peaceablekingdom.com) specializes in cooperative, rather than competitive games that win praise of early educators.

  • The American Basketball Association has returned to Richmond this season, with the local division champion Bay Area Matrix playing half their home schedule at the RPAL gym at 2200 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

    The team is teaming with local nonprofit organizations by offering a portion of the proceeds for game or season tickets purchased through the groups.

    "We are hoping that you business people out there would also be interested in buying tickets for individual games" to allow youth basketball teams to attend, writes Mark Torres, athletic director of the Richmond Police Activities League. "We at RPAL have six teams from 16 years old and down that would love to go."

    For details contact Torres at 510-427-4254 or sharkiet@sbcglobal.net.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.