Holiday fun and giving continues with great activities this weekend. Get out of the house and brave the rain to spread holiday sunshine all over our neighborhoods!
HOGs & Toys for Tots
The fun begins at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, when Harley Owners Group members of the Mt. Diablo Chapter rumble in on their motorcycles to bring gifts for Toys for Tots to Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West St. to support the U.S. Marine Corps in its annual gift-giving effort.
Then, at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., join church members at their annual Carol Sing, accompanied by a full orchestra and five choirs, including guest performances by the award-winning Concord High School Ladies First and favorite HouseBlend Quartet. The church director of music is Doug Emigh.
Bring your family, friends and a new, unwrapped toy -- or just bring yourself -- and sing as you have never sung before, said Jim McGuire in a news release. Members of the U.S. Marine Corps will be at the evening performance, and visitors can have their picture taken with Santa for free. Refreshments will be served.
For more information, call 925-685-5260.
The Cathedral Choir of First Presbyterian Church of Concord presents "The Songs of Christmas" at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1965 Colfax St. in downtown Concord, said Jim Cismowski, minister of music and worship, in a news release.
The concert will feature Biblical stories of the first Christmas told dramatically with actors, accompanied by the Cathedral Choir and orchestra (mostly members of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra who rehearse at the church). Concluding the program, the choir and audience will sing more contemporary Christmas music together.
A reception follows and everyone is invited. The concert is offered free of charge, with a freewill offering to help cover expenses and replenish the Dawn Chiappino Concert Fund. Call 925-676-7177 for more information.
Nearly 3,000 shoe boxes filled with gifts of toys, school supplies and necessity items were collected in October and packed in November by local children and volunteers of Operation Christmas Child with the support of Pastor David Yoon, Martinez Relay Center coordinator and associate pastor of the Concord Korean Baptist Church, 5000 Hiller Lane, Martinez. Residents also packed gift-filled shoe boxes at the First Baptist Church in Martinez.
Their donations will provide a little bit of joy for children in underdeveloped countries, including Panama, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru and the Philippines.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization, Samaritan's Purse, is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind.
This year, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone -- collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the program began in 1993.
For medical expenses
A fundraiser for Katie Grace Groebner will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm & Christmas Trees, 1060 Pine Lane in Clayton.
Visitors can take a train ride from 2 to 5:30 p.m. ($2.50 per person) or "bale" their child ($5) with all proceeds donated to Katie Grace's medical expenses for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Born in 2002, Katie was diagnosed with PAH, and doctors recommend a lifesaving heart and lung transplant. An estimated $50,000 is needed for transplant related expenses.
Katie Grace's family sold everything they owned in Minnesota and drove their RV to Stanford Medical Center for treatment. They have settled in a small home in Clayton. They will be answering questions about PAH, selling T-shirts and singing Christmas carols at the event to help their daughter. You can, too.
For more information, visit http://caringbridge.org/visit/katiegrace or phassociation.org. Donations can be made to the Katie Grace Benefit Fund through US Bank at www.usbank.com. The family accepts emails at email@example.com.
Girl Scout service
Cheryl Breen, secretary of the Walnut Creek Girl Scout Service Unit shares with us that there are almost 1,000 registered Girl Scouts in Walnut Creek, divided between some 100 troops. The girls are big on community service and recently conducted a food drive and the collected items went to the local Fresh Start program in Walnut Creek.
Girl Scout parent Christine Zupan took the lead on this and reported that 2,200 pounds of food was collected, and more was still coming in. She noted that the "cupboards were nearly bare" at Fresh Start, so that organization was extremely grateful.
Scare Away Hunger
Concord High School students used Halloween to gather food and monetary donations for the Tesoro second annual "Scare Away Hunger" Food Drive. Tesoro matched the pounds of food and monetary donations up to $5,000 and also made a matching donation to Concord High School for their programs.
The grand total collected was 10,256 pounds of food (3,600 pounds more than last year) and $1,162.05, plus a $1,000 donation from an individual who wanted to do more after hearing that Tesoro would match the pounds/money up to $5,000 for the Food Bank, and an additional $5,000 to the Concord High programs, said Lisa Sherrill of the Food Bank.
Tesoro Corp., sponsor of the event, is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products and operates seven refineries in the western United States, including one in Martinez.
The California Retired Teachers Association, Diablo Vista Division 52 celebrated the "Week of the Retired Teacher" in November by giving back to local schools.
Vivian Boyd and her Save Our Schools committee chose Antioch Middle School, Stoneman Elementary School in Pittsburg, Liberty High School in Brentwood, Wren Avenue Elementary School in Concord, and Concord High School as beneficiaries.
At each site, two teachers were chosen from a random draw to each receive $50 in cash for classroom supplies.
President Pat Seaman and member Lorrie Osborn presented Concord High teachers Paul Crissey and John Ballard with awards. On hand were Principal Gary McAdam and Mt. Diablo school district Superintendent Steven Lawrence.
CalRTA volunteers in the community, provides scholarships to local community college students, and supports classroom teachers, legislation to benefit education and teachers, informs retired teachers of resources and insurance available, offers travel opportunities, and holds bimonthly luncheons with speakers, entertainment, and fundraising.
For more information, call 925-687-5246 or visit www.div52.calrta.org.
The Diablo Women's Chorale will present its holiday concert, "Stars," at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 399 Wiget Lane, in Walnut Creek. For its 70th anniversary holiday concert, the group will feature traditional holiday songs as well as offerings of Broadway, pop, film, jazz, folk and rock styles.
Director Mary Sorenson and accompanist Stephen Evans will lead the musical event with the All-Stars Band and Girl Scout Troop 30760. Audience members of all ages are invited to sing along and enjoy and reception after the concert.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students, and are available from members or at the door.
The Diablo Women's Chorale has been entertaining audiences since 1943, and welcomes new members in January and September. For information, contact president Sonja Wilkin at 925-672-2689 or visit www.diablowomenschorale.org.
"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.