Volunteers in our community often make the difference for our neighbors in need as public services are reduced. We all care about children, education, the sick and abused members of our community. These organizations put caring into action. Please support their efforts.

We Care for children

We Care Services for Children is hosting the Little Stars Gala at 6 p.m. Nov. 10, at the Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd., in Concord. All proceeds will be used toward programs for children with special needs.

This "Grease"-themed event will feature a spectacular evening that will take you back to the '50s with dinner, dancing and an auction.

For reservations, visit www.wecarechildren.org/events. If you can't make it to the event, you can still support the children by bidding on items like a tour of Pixar Animation Studio, private dining in a local car museum, a vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico, and much more.

We Care Services for Children is a private, nonprofit agency devoted to serving special needs children ages birth to 6 years and their families in Contra Costa County. Visit www.wecarechildren.org or contact Barbara Langsdale, development director, at 925-685-0207, ext. 108 for more information.

Youth Grants deadline

The Pleasant Hill Community Foundation has extended the application due date for its Youth Grants to Nov. 5.

Download the application from the Grants and Scholarships page of the website at www.PHCommunityFoundation.org. Contact Betty Geishirt Cantrell, Pleasant Hill Community Foundation at info@PHCommunityFoundation.org.

Students' Ethics Day

The Walnut Chamber of Commerce education committee is sponsoring Ethics Day, and invites high school students Nov. 13, and middle school students Dec. 4, for the event that brings together business leaders, educators, government officials and high school students for an interactive exploration of various ethical challenges facing all of us today. Those interested in being a business representative, email Marcie Hochhauser at mhoch@walnut-creek.com.

Hike for SHELTER, Inc.

The third annual Hike for SHELTER took on Mount Diablo to raise awareness and end homelessness for thousands of families in the county, raising $70,000.

More than 160 hikers, including 30 children, hiked four different trails, totaling an estimated 866 miles.

Hikers were cheered on and assisted along trails by volunteers from Las Lomas and Athenian high schools, National Charity League-Acalanes, and the San Ramon Valley High School's Mountain Bike Club Team.

A Girl Scout Troop brought smiles to families when hikers were surprised by a pumpkin decorating and coloring activity at the turnaround point at China Wall.

Craig Chase, Danville resident and co-chair of the Hike for SHELTER volunteer committee, led 80 hikers along the 5.2-mile moderate trail. He volunteered because he believed it was a great combination of showcasing the natural beauty of the community with the safety-net needs of residents.

Businesses like Kaiser Permanente, Sports Basement and American Giant showed their support as well by donating time, services and supplies. Starbucks employees fundraised and hiked as a team.

Adam Yust, president of Concord Graphic Arts, printed all the trail signs, hiker cards and maps for free. "This is the way we support the community by supporting local organizations that can make an impact."

Jeff Rose of JRoPhotography donated his time and hiked the day capturing participants on all four trails. "It was time well spent, especially knowing that you are a part of something that makes real changes in the lives of people. I have kids and can't imagine them living in a car or in a shelter."

Over the last year, more than 6,500 people -- with almost half of those being children -- saw their homelessness end through SHELTER, Inc.'s preventive measures, housing program, case management services, educational assistance and employment training.

Hikers were surprised by the support, especially with the economy.

"My friends donated because they believed in ending homelessness and believed in me. They have no idea how much their support means to those SHELTER helps," said Kathy Richardson, inaugural Hike for SHELTER participant, who along with husband Kevin, ensured that everyone on the challenging seven-mile hike made it to the finish.

SHELTER, Inc. is an independent, charitable, nonprofit organization founded in 1986 to alleviate Contra Costa County's homeless crisis. Its mission is to prevent and end homelessness by promoting self-sufficiency among low-income residents of the county. Visit http://shelterincofcccorg.presencehost.net for more information.

Women's networking

Lorrie Sullenberger, wife of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, of Danville, shared her life with those attending the Concord Chamber of Commerce Women's Networking Speaker Series luncheon in October.

The series, held on the second Thursdays of the month, will feature Dan Ashley, anchor of ABC7 News, as the guest speaker at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 8, at the Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond in Concord.

Tickets are $25 for chamber members and $40 for nonmembers. For reservations, contact Gina Rigley at 925-685-1181 or grigley@concordchamber.com.

Caring Hands help

Hillcrest Church in Pleasant Hill recently made a $350 donation to assist with John Muir Health's Caring Hands volunteer recruitment efforts, said Susan LaPat, church publicity coordinator, in a news release. Caring Hands recruits and trains volunteers to help adults 60 and older remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible.

Linda Groobin, program manager for the Caring Hands Caregiver program said, "Those who serve with the Caring Hands program have found that many seniors benefit greatly from a weekly friendly visit, a walk in the park, or other social outings."

Hillcrest Church takes pride in its involvement in community outreach services through its clothing room, food room and layette programs. Its donation to Caring Hands recognizes the importance of the program, and hopes the contribution will help offset some of the costs of training new volunteers.

"Working together with the Caring Hands program will allow us to partner trained volunteers with Hillcrest Church members who could benefit from a friendly visitor," said Betty MacKenzie, church care ministry coordinator.

Caring Hands is offering two upcoming training classes: Friday, Nov. 16, at John Muir Medical Center's Concord Campus, and Friday, Jan. 25, at the medical center's Walnut Creek Campus.

For more information about becoming a Caring Hands volunteer, contact Linda Groobin at 925-952-2999.

For information on Hillcrest's Church's Clothing and Food Room, or to become a Hillcrest outreach volunteer, contact Bill Cunningham, Hillcrest outreach coordinator, at 925-689-8260.

"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.