The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter provides relief to neighbors affected by disasters, and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
They help people in the Bay Area learn how to take care of their families and neighbors. Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies.
My husband, Tom, and I are big fans of the American Red Cross. The St. Louis chapter saved my life 40 years ago, and we have thanked them ever since by giving blood regularly.
There are many ways to help others by volunteering with the Red Cross or supporting their programs.
Volunteer of the Year
The Red Cross Volunteer of the Year award is presented to an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and who has contributed significantly to operations, programs and services as well as the mission of the Red Cross.
Gary Higgins has been named the Contra Costa County Volunteer of the Year by the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter.
Gary joined the American Red Cross in 2005, first helping as a disaster worker during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Since then, he has continued to be a leader of logistics and transportation while helping the Red Cross team in Contra Costa County maintain its ability to keep supplies updated.
As a Disaster Action Team member, Gary leads a crew to support clients who have been affected by a disaster. He is concerned about the community's well being and acts upon it to make a difference.
He has been an extremely reliable volunteer and uses his creativity to complete any task, effectively and efficiently. Gary always goes the extra mile to get things done, all with a smile on his face.
Outstanding volunteers honored at the June Contra Costa County Volunteer Awards and Recognition Event also include Rick Palmer, Disaster Services Community Partnership Award; Bea Roberson, Community Preparedness Rookie of the Year; Heald College, Good Neighbor Award; Nancy Domingo, Volunteer Resource Award; Ann Stokes, Disaster Services Rookie of the Year Award; Jan Peterson, Community Preparedness Award; Jon Hammond, Disaster Services Volunteer of the Year Award; and Bob Hernandez, Exceptional Volunteer Award.
Committed, compassionate volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter.
In the Bay Area, nearly 2,000 dedicated people volunteer their time and energy to fulfill the organizational mission and help strengthen the local community.
For more information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, call 888-4-HELP-BAY (888-443-5722) or visit www.redcrossbayarea.org to learn more.
Dresses for the world
Christ the King Ministry Center in Pleasant Hill is busy every Wednesday as about 50 local volunteers participate cutting patterns and sewing dresses through a program called "Dress a Girl Around the World," sponsored by Hope 4 Women International.
The group is a nondenominational Christian organization that provides patterns and encouragement for local groups to help dress girls around the globe. Some 100 women are involved at the Pleasant Hill site. The international organization has delivered more than 101,000 dresses to 58 countries.
Diablo Women's Chorale welcomes new members for fall rehearsals of its 70th holiday program, "Stars" to be held in December.
Rehearsals are from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays, beginning Sept. 3, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 399 Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek. Informal auditions will be held Aug. 27 by appointment.
The Diablo Women's Chorale has been entertaining local audiences since 1943. This season, mothers and school-age daughters will sing songs arranged especially for them. Come for the music ... stay for the fun. More details are on the website at www.diablowomenschorale.org or call 925-256-8960.
Did you know that Trader Joe's donates usable unsold products to local food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens in their neighborhoods?
Each Trader Joe's store has a donations coordinator who organizes store donations and often provides gift baskets for neighborhood events. Their corporate website specifies that Trader Joe's can only donate to nonprofit (501c3) organizations with a valid, current tax ID number.
Donations are limited to one per year, per organization from Trader Joe's Company (not one from every Trader Joe's store in your area).
To find out more, contact the donations coordinator at your local store or visit wwwtraderjoes.com and choose stores/neighborhood involvement.
A cut above
Pleasant Hill stylist Lindsey Combs took top honors in "The Look 2012" national competition held by Sport Clips Haircuts. She described her winning style as a "faux hawk made into something a businessman could wear" with a longer, textured back and shorter sides. Combs received $2,500, shears and a trophy. Her hair design will become a part of Sport Clips training nationwide, and a poster representing the style will be placed in stores across the country. The five finalists -- chosen from Sport Clips 7,000 stylists -- competed before a crowd in Orlando, Fla.
More than 700 of our neighbors in Contra Costa County volunteer in eight different programs through the Sheriff's Department. Volunteers help get full-time officers out in the field helping our neighbors.
Currently, the Sheriff's Reserve Program consists of more than 60 members. Reserve deputies have provided the Sheriff's Department and the communities they serve with thousands of hours of professional service. Citizen-volunteers give their time to increase the safety and security of their community.
Reserve Program deputies work in patrol, custody services and investigations, and provide dedicated support services to each of the cities that contract for police services with the Sheriff's Department (Danville, Lafayette, Oakley and Orinda).
Reserve deputies also provide support to the air operations and the Marine Patrol, Traffic Safety Unit (motorcycles) and the Off Road Enforcement Unit (ATVs).
Like many of the other programs operated by the Sheriff's Department, the Reserve Program emphasizes crime deterrence by providing high visibility patrol and is committed to building strong relationships and rapport within the communities in the county.
The Volunteer Services Unit is continually accepting applications. Those interested may pick up an application in person at the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, Volunteer Services Unit, at 50 Glacier Drive in Martinez. Or call the volunteer services coordinator at 925-646-4461.
"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to email@example.com.