Those warm fuzzy feelings you felt donating time, money, toys and food during the holidays can be repeated all year long.
Featured today are several outstanding organizations worthy of your support, volunteer time, and guaranteed to warm your heart.
Crisis Nursery news
The Bay Area Crisis Nursery, a 100 percent not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to preventing abuse and neglect of children. It provides support to families who are in stress or crisis through 24-hour residential care.
Some of those who receive assistance are homeless, have substance abuse problems or are fleeing domestic violence, have a history of mental illness or a medical emergency.
BACN is the only crisis nursery in our geographical area, and is funded by private donations without any government assistance. The services it provides are at no charge.
Founder and executive director Sister Ann Weltz, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has shepherded this wonderful organization for 30 years.
She established the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in July 1981. Her connection to such a program began in 1976, while in Arizona, when she became assistant director at a crisis nursery.
Because there were no other crisis nurseries in the Bay Area offering free, voluntary, and confidential services, Sister Ann raised $300,000 in donations and loans to open the doors to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, according to information provided by The Volunteer Center of the East Bay.
The Bay Area Crisis Nursery helped distribute toys this Christmas to hundreds of children.
Boy Scout Troop 444 helped collect them and the fine ladies of Clayton Valley Woman's Club helped wrap the gifts.
The next project at BACN will be creating Easter baskets for their clients to be distributed in March.
Perhaps you or your group might like to volunteer? Contact email@example.com, call 925-685-6633, or visit 1506 Mendocino Drive in Concord.
There is always a wish list on their website -- www.bacn.info -- for baby formula (they use more than 200 large cans a year), diapers (more than 14,000 a year), toothbrushes, new children's clothes and office supplies, among other necessities.
The next BACN fundraiser will be Saturday, Jan. 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails followed by a crab feed at St. Francis of Assisi Church Hall, 860 Oak Grove Road in Concord.
The $45 per person ticket includes all the crab, pasta, salad and desserts you can eat, along with auctions, raffles and lots of fun.
You can reserve tables for up to 16 people. Call 925-685-6633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
Scouts help BACN
Boy Scout Troop 444 met the challenge of sharing their blessings with 400 families in need this year, according to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery staff member Lisa Heimbruch.
The Scouts were able to ensure that many of the families had gifts for their children.
AJ Visaya, 13, who attends Diablo View Middle School, and his sister Jasmine Bell, 5, a Daisy Scout at Highlands Elementary, took their $50 gift card and bought all sorts of cool gifts for those in need in the community.
Julian Rike, 14, of Clayton Valley Charter High School, coordinated and collected -- along with his fellow Scouts Patrick Murray, 13, of St. Agnes, and AJ Visaya -- and brought several bags of new toys to the crisis nursery.
"It's nice to see that the kids in our community love to give as much as they love to get," said Helen Rike of Troop 444.
That's a good lesson for us all!
Service and smiles
The Clayton Valley Woman's Club had a lot of fun wrapping gifts for families in need at the Bay Area Crisis Nursery this holiday season. Throughout the year, dedicated volunteers also collect items to support a "Friendly Place," a local women's homeless shelter.
The club is one of many chapters of the Mt. Diablo District of the international organization of General Federation of Women's Clubs. That group also includes the Alamo Women's Club, Martinez Women's Club, Mt. Diablo Woman's Club and the Rossmoor Federated Women's Club, among others.
To learn more about General Federation of Women's Clubs in your area, visit www.gfwc.org.
Shelter for homeless
Shelter, Inc. of Martinez just released an impact survey of how their services helped the community last year. The results are impressive!
The organization helped 474 at-risk families from losing their homes, provided temporary homes to 293 families and gave them tools all to change their lives.
More than 73 percent of the adults who completed the Employment Services program found work or increased their income.
"As board president, I am honored to be part of an organization that is transforming lives in my own community," said Pete Davis, in a report at http://shelterincofcccorg.presencehost.net. "It is an extended family of people, faith communities, civic groups, schools, businesses, foundations, public officials and service clubs, all working ... to end homelessness in Contra Costa."
Individual volunteers are needed all year for a variety of services, both professional and personal. To volunteer with Shelter, Inc., contact Theresita Gonzalez, resource coordinator, at email@example.com.
42 years of awards
Pleasant Hill salutes its residents and businesses who go above and beyond at its 42nd annual Community Awards Night.
Make your reservations now for the event beginning at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 17, at Back Forty Texas BBQ, 100 Coggins Drive in Pleasant Hill.
Tickets are $40 and may be purchased before Jan. 11 online at http://phcommunityawardsnight.eventbrite.com or by calling Katrina at 925-691-5645.
Award categories include Citizen of the Year and nominees are: Andy and Dagny Benz, Hilde Brautigam, Leanne Hamaji, Jim Goonan, Ken Housefeld and Aleeta Slattery.
For Businessperson of the Year, nominees are Community Focus Magazine and Pleasant Hill Coin & Jewelry Exchange.
Teen of the Year nominees are Helena Encarnacion-Strand, a junior at College Park High School; and Dakota Valdez, a College Park senior.
Nominees for the Community Plus and Educator of the Year awards are Martin Nelis, and Aida Attiga, a third-grade teacher at Sequoia Elementary School, respectively.
Green Award nominees are 511 Contra Costa; Cantrell's Computer Sales & Service -- Wade Cantrell; Episcopal Church of the Resurrection; Hillcrest Congregational Church; Plant Decor -- Christine and Valerie Schmidt; and Sequoia Middle School's E.A.R.T.H. Club.
Pleasant Hill Community Awards Night is sponsored by the city of Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District.
GOP women collect toys
Ygnacio Valley Republican Women Federated collected and delivered some 50 new toys for the Toys for Tots drive at their Christmas party in December at Oakhurst Country Club in Clayton.
President Elaine Stephenson and Terri Di Loreto, Ways and Means Committee fundraising chairman, donated the toys to the program, whose local project coordinator was Staff Sgt. Erick Bannar, of the U.S. Marine Reserves in Pleasant Hill. The toys were distributed to children in Contra Costa County to bring them some holiday cheer.
Thanks to all involved!
"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.