Cultural diversity nourishes our communities and feeds our hunger for variety in our lives. Living in the Bay Area offers us many opportunities to enjoy the variety of cultures shared by our neighbors in ways that benefit us all.
The Big La Bocce
Loaves and Fishes, and St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa, are holding a bocce ball tournament and fundraiser from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Martinez Bocce Federation on Joe Di Maggio Drive in Martinez.
Bocce, a game of outdoor bowling, originated in Italy and has become a popular activity in our area.
Registration is $59 each and provides entrance into the tournament, dinner, and one drink ticket. All funds raised will be used to help those in need living in Contra Costa.
Register as a team (4-8 members) or as an individual by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Vincent de Paul, in collaboration with Loaves and Fishes, regularly provides a hot meal to the needy at their Family Resource Center, 2210 Gladstone Drive, in Pittsburg, which also houses the St. Vincent de Paul RotaCare Clinic, open every Wednesday (except holidays) from 4 to 7 p.m. offering chronic and acute care to uninsured adults not currently served by other community clinics.
St. Vincent de Paul volunteers staff two thrift stores -- at 2815 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill and at 2210 Gladstone Drive in Pittsburg -- providing free clothes, household goods and furniture to the very needy.
The revenue from these stores pays the salary and costs of entry-level shop workers who are learning workplace skills.
St. Vincent de Paul is also a partner for the Winter Nights Rotating Family Shelter, a project of the Social Justice Alliance of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, which provides a clean, safe, and warm facility at night and a daytime services center during winter for homeless families with children and for homeless seniors.
JFCS East Bay
Mitzvah is a Hebrew word for performing a good deed by helping others, an inspiring action in any language.
Jewish Family and Children's Services East Bay is one that helps provide specific care, tutoring and access to our neighbors. Volunteers give their time and energy to help isolated seniors, new immigrants, disabled adults, or disadvantaged children and also deliver kosher holiday meals if needed.
Visit www.jfcs-eastbay.org or the JFCS Contra Costa Office located at 1855 Olympic Blvd. in Walnut Creek. Call 925-927-2000 for more information.
Relay for Life
Congregation B'nai Tikvah of Walnut Creek will participate in Relay for Life from 10 a.m. Saturday, July 27, to 10 a.m. Sunday, July 28, at Martinez Junior High, 1600 Court St. in Martinez. The 24-hour event is designed to celebrate survivorship and to raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society.
Music, food, raffles and entertainment are featured throughout the day. The track will glow all night with hundreds of luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. Visit www.relayforlife.org to see how you or your organization can participate.
Japanese Festival fun
The annual Diablo Japanese American Summer Festival returns from 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 10, and from noon to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11, sponsored by the Diablo Japanese American Club, at 3165 Treat Blvd. in Concord.
Highlights of the event include calligraphy, bonsai display, judo, Taiko drumming, folk dancing, and Japanese cuisine. Free parking is available at Ygnacio Valley High School with a free air-conditioned shuttle ride to the festival.
The fundraiser supports the organization's cultural programs that includes flower arranging, bon odori dancing and Japanese language instruction.
'Back 2 School'
The Monument Crisis Center, celebrating its 10th year, sponsors "Back-2-School," an annual drive to collect backpacks and school supplies for children ages 5-18 in the community. Last year, more than 1,000 backpacks were distributed.
Donations of new school supplies will be accepted from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; or 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, from July 25-Aug. 8, at the Monument Crisis Center, 2350 Monument Blvd. Suite B in Concord.
Concord-Diablo Rotary and Discover Books teamed up to once again give Ygnacio Valley Elementary School students in Concord their choice of a book.
Edi Birsan, community service director of the club, and Victor Aparicio of Discover Books, led this joint project is in its third year.
Rotary International advocates for literacy and Discover Books is a subsidiary of the largest used book seller on the Net. Together, they raise the ability for all children to explore the world of reading.
Visit www.discoverbooks.com to learn how to get used books into the hands of children who want and need them most.
Concord-Diablo Rotary meets at noon Wednesdays, at the Crowne Plaza in Concord. Visit www.CDRotary.org
Other Discover Books drop-off areas for your used books are:
Busi-Kids in Martinez
The Martinez Chamber of Commerce recently made a generous donation to Busi-Kids, a fundraising arm of the Martinez Education Foundation.
Businesses large and small, foundations, families and/or individuals comprise the Busi-Kids contribution list, and the community responds by patronizing Busi-Kids contributors.
Building self-confidence and leadership skills for girls on and off the soccer field is a goal of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and California Storm soccer players.
Team members will be participating in the "Taking the World by Storm" soccer clinic for girls ages 9-18 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Tesoro Soccer Fields, 1743 Arnold Industrial Way in Concord.
There will be motivational sessions, goal shootout, injury prevention workshops for parents, and a lunch program including a legislative update on the state budget, education, and health care at the free event.
To register, call 925-521-1511 or email Antinette.Watkins@asm.ca.gov.
Under the Rainbow
Everything Under the Rainbow is a community thrift shop to raise money for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and questioning community in Contra Costa County, located at 2095 Pacheco St. in Concord.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, sponsored and staffed by volunteers from The Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County.
All profits help at-risk youth, programming for seniors, a food pantry, and a weekly HIV testing clinic.
The store provides job training and life skills to transitional age volunteers (18-24), helping them find work and healthy life skills. Adult volunteers are welcome.
"I have worked really hard to create a different type of thrift experience for our team and customers. Fun is the most important part of the job ... and I really think our message of acceptance and diversity shines through to all of our customers," said program and store manager, Jimmy Gale.
Visit email@example.com for more information.
"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.