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Ellen Sachtschale of Clayton works in the Civic Arts Education's Clay Arts Studio. The studio will be having a warehouse sale March 23-24, during CAE's Artist's Market.

Caring Hands is a collaborative effort of John Muir Health, congregations of various religious faiths, social service agencies, and the community to create one-on-one matches between caring volunteers and isolated, frail and disabled seniors over the age of 60, enabling them to remain in their homes as long as safely possible.

Overwhelming compassion and camaraderie were in full bloom at the Caring Hands volunteer appreciation dinner held last week at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Caring Hands program manager Linda Groobin thanked more than 350 volunteers from our communities that participate in the program and welcomed many of them attending the event.

Volunteers were lauded by Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva; John Muir Medical Center Concord Campus president Mike Thomas; Patrick Carew, president of the John Muir Health Foundation (who announced a generous donation from the foundation to support Caring Hands); Debbie Pendergast, senior vice president of Patient Services; and Roxanne Foster, director of volunteer services.

Care recipient Katherine Crow, matched to volunteer Don Kimura, was featured in a video presentation as an example of the warm relationships fostered through the program.

At the event, I was seated at the table with Don, who just glowed when he spoke of his friendship with Katherine over the many years of their match. Don visits with Katherine often, takes her to doctor's appointments and even out for ice cream. She couldn't attend, but will enjoy the bouquet of flowers Don presented, as our table decoration attendance prize.


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Caring Hands is always looking for volunteers, who need only devote a few hours a week to bring a lot of warmth and needed help to our senior citizens unable to leave their homes. Orientation for new volunteers is held every other month at their offices, located in the Shadelands Business Park area of Walnut Creek.

To request a volunteer application, contact Linda Groobin, volunteer coordinator, at 925-952-2999, ext. 34448.

Make a Difference

The Contra Costa County Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board wants to acknowledge both volunteer and nonvolunteer individuals, as well as groups who have significantly contributed toward combating alcohol and other drugs in the Contra Costa communities for the annual "People Who Make A Difference" Awards.

Nominations are due by April 5.

There are six award categories: volunteer individual, volunteer group, non-volunteer individual, non-volunteer group, youth leadership individual and youth leadership group.

Forms can be downloaded at cchealth.org/groups/aod_board.

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board will honor award recipients at the May 14 board of supervisors meeting.

Nomination forms must be received by 5 p.m. April 5. Send to Fatima Matal Sol, 1220 Morello Ave., Suite 200, Martinez, CA 94553; fax 925-335-3318 or email fatima.matalsol@hsd.cccounty.us.

Artists Market

The Civic Arts Education Artists Market sale March 22-24 will feature a wide range of paintings, sculptures, photographs, wearable art and works from glass artists, ceramists and more, at two sites in Walnut Creek.

The weekend will begin with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 22, at the Shadelands Art Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane, where there will be live music, hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

Sales at that site will continue from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

The Clay Arts Guild will also be having a warehouse sale at their studio in Civic Park. Items for sale include dinnerware, raku, sculpture, vases, wall hangings and garden ceramics. Guild sale hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 23, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 24, at the Clay Studio in Civic Park, 1313 Civic Drive.

For more information on both sales, call 925-943-5846 or visit www.arts-ed.org or www.clayartsguild.org.

Hunt for eggs, bones

Bring the whole family, including your best canine friend, and hunt for eggs and bones from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at Rodgers Smith Park, 750 Grayson Road, in Pleasant Hill.

The event benefits the Contra Costa Humane Society animals and programs.

Participants can create arts and crafts, have an Easter picture taken, win a raffle prize, fill up their basket by purchasing bake sale goodies and redeem their eggs for prizes.

Cost is $5 per participant (dog or child), $8 for two (any combination). Registration starts at 2 p.m. on-site, and the hunt at 2:35 p.m. Bring your own baskets.

For more information, visit www.cchumane.org or call 925-279-2247.

Easter treats

The Walnut Creek Neighbors and Newcomers Club Outreach Committee just finished 100 Easter baskets for the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Concord for the 11th year.

The baskets will be distributed to needy families during the Easter season.

The Outreach Committee also supports Trinity Center, Bay Area Crisis Nursery, food boxes for Child Protective Services, Project Ready to Learn in supplying backpacks filled with school supplies, and Winter Nights-Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.

Members of the Outreach Committee and friends who participated include Kathy Winnie, Lucy Blenio, Lee Burnett, Astrid Hofstadter, Lynda Smith, Carroll Brooks, Pat Hacker, Susan Hansen, Vera Braswell, Ellen Sturm, Laurie Colton, Carol Bonfiglio, Francine Ruotolo, Ann Smith, Celia Seibert, Tieli Long, Rita Forsyth and Sherrill Rafferty.

For membership information, call Laurie Colton at 925-937-2652 or visit www.walnutcreeknewcomersclub.org.

Gift to PHCF

Ted Winslow, who helped found the nonprofit Pleasant Hill Community Foundation, also established the Winslow Family Fund along with his siblings to memorialize their parents, Lawson and Charlotte Winslow.

The gift of $1,000 from each of the children has grown to some $20,000, and the family has directed that the account be granted to the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District to be used in furnishing its new buildings, said Betty Geishirt Cantrell in a news release.

A heartfelt thank you to the Winslow family for its donation to the foundation, whose mission is to strengthen community organizations and build endowment funds to meet ongoing and future needs.

For more information about the projects funded by the PHCF, visit www.PHCommunityFoundation.org. To set up a fund with the foundation, email info@PHCommunityFoundation.org.

Chocolate Indulgence

The Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, Inc. will host its third annual signature fundraiser, Chocolate Indulgence, at 7 p.m. March 23, at Round Hill Country Club, 3169 Roundhill Road, in Alamo.

Enjoy an evening of competition, chocolate, and celebration -- where local restaurants and chocolatiers compete ... and all event guests are winners!

This year's competitors for the coveted title of Best Dessert in the East Bay: Cypress (defending champion), Corners Tavern, Susie Cakes and Incontro Ristorante.

General admission is $55 in advance and $60 at the door. VIP tickets are $75, and patron and sponsor packages are available. Visit www.jloeb.org for more information.

"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Email goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.