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At the Heartfelt Gala, held at the Blackhawk Museum to benefit the Monument Crisis Center, Sam Liubicich, from left, Sarah ìSarahAngelî Dougherty, Cara Young and Kaila ìKMDZî Mendoza attend the event in Roaring '20s style.

Monument Crisis Center's Heartfelt Gala was a rousing success, welcoming 250 supporters to the Blackhawk Museum in February, many dressed in authentic, period clothing from the 1920s. A record $120,000 was raised to provide critical services for Contra Costa County's low-income residents.

The Crisis Center is celebrating 10 years of service to our community growing from 84 families and a handful of dedicated high school volunteers to today serving 13,000 households.

Teens are still at the core of the volunteer program, but it now also includes thousands of energetic adults, families, seniors, special needs adults, college interns, Scouts, faith-based, service and corporate groups, job seekers and juvenile offenders.

If you would like to volunteer, visit www.monumentcrisiscenter.org.

Their food distribution program is one of the largest in the Bay Area, distributing more than one million meals to those most at risk in Contra Costa County. Additional services include after-school tutoring, teen mentoring, senior services, summer camp, health and nutrition workshops, cooking classes, employment workshops, English language classes and even yoga.

The Monument Crisis Center will thank their volunteers at a board-hosted volunteer appreciation luncheon -- with a "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" theme -- at 11 a.m. Friday, April 12, at the center, 2350 Monument Blvd. Suite B in Concord.


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Donate for troops

Contra Costa Blue Star Moms are preparing to send July 4 care packages to our troops deployed overseas. Oreo cookies, beef sticks and baby wipes top the list of requests from our troops!

Other needed items include beef jerky (no pork); tuna packets; tuna/chicken salad kits (no ham); canned chili or stew; small packets of trail mix, corn nuts, snack crackers, nuts and cookies; granola and protein bars; drink singles like cider mix, cocoa mix; and instant oatmeal packs.

Also sought-after items include microwave popcorn; mini cereal boxes; microwave macaroni and cheese; individually wrapped snacks like hard candy (no chocolate), gum, mints; 80 percent cotton crew socks, sundries like clothespins, antibiotic cream, cough drops, disposable razors, fingernail clippers, small foot powders, Qtips, eye drops, toothbrushes, small toothpastes, sewing kits, eyeglass repair kits, AA batteries; pencils, work game and crossword books (no Sudoku) and playing cards.

Donations may be delivered until May 25, to A-1 Self Storage at 5296 Concord Blvd. in Concord, any Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (closed Wednesdays and Sundays).

Cash donations are also welcome, as each package requires $14.85 postage. Checks may be made payable to Contra Costa Blue Star Moms and mailed to P.O. Box 6379, Concord, CA 94524. All donations are tax-deductible.

Blue Star Moms will send a care package to any address they receive before May 25. APO or FPO addresses should be sent to carepackageaddresses@ccbluestarmoms.org. Please include an end-of-deployment date. Contact Loretta Masnada with questions at 925-686-3944.

Our troops thank you, their families thank you, and most of all, their Moms thank you!

TAPS helps kids

The Teens and Parents Society (TAPS) is an organization of high school girls and their parents committed to promoting volunteerism through effective action and leadership. There was a Mother/Daughter luncheon March 2, to recognize their contributions.

Teens and parents typically commit about four hours a month to community projects. Melanie Knoth English, Christy Deibert, Rhonda Montgomery and Cindy Sakai founded TAPS in Walnut Creek in 2002.

TAPS signature project is Love-A-Child Missions Homeless Recovery Shelter. Love-A-Child serves needy women and children of Contra Costa County by providing emergency shelter, food, clothing and hope through substance recovery programs, job training and educational support.

On April 27, all TAPS teen and parent members will be at the shelter refurbishing gardens, making donations of food and household supplies, and providing a barbecue and afternoon of fun for women and children at the shelter, said Deborah Tobin, in a news release.

Members also volunteer at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

TAPS organizes projects to respond to short- and long-term community needs requiring volunteers by building a local network of supportive, enthusiastic and dedicated teens and parents. Visit www.tapservic.org for more information.

AAUW spaghetti feed

The Clayton branch of the American Association of University Women will hold its community "Spaghetti Feed" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., in Clayton.

Linda Pinder, AAUW event chair, encourages everyone to attend to raise funds for eighth-grade girls' scholarships to attend Tech Trek, a math and science camp. This is the club's only fundraiser, and members typically sponsor three girls per year to the camp. Girls are nominated by their teachers at Diablo View Middle School and then by an essay contest. Tech Trek works to help girls continue their interests in science fields, and features hands-on activities in math, computer, science and related fields, which are held on a university campus.

Tickets are available in advance from any AAUW member, or at the door. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children from 6-12, with kids younger than 6 eating free. A wide variety of raffle items will be available.

For more information visit www.claytonaauw.org.

WAC veteran

At the Martinez American Legion Post 29 monthly guest speaker meeting on the third Wednesday of every month, members and the public in February heard the fascinating story of Pat Hogan, who earned the distinction in 1945 of being the only marine repair engineer in the Women's Army Corps during World War II.

Pat attended the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia and studied mechanical engineering, and first worked as a draftsman at New York Shipbuilding Corporation where her father was an engineer. She was assigned to an operating gang which manned the engines for generators and pumps of warships during dock trials.

Pat desperately wanted to get into the war but the Navy did not allow women in marine engineering. Undaunted, she consulted with WAC Recruiting Headquarters, and was soon on her way to Army basic training. During her career, she was also a cryptographer, chaplain's aid and dental assistant, and earned a private pilot's license. Once, when the pilot of a military transport aircraft on which she was a passenger learned this, he let her fly it while en route. Bringing a drum with her to the American Legion presentation, she demonstrated how she played when she was assigned as a member of the Army women's fife and drum corps.

What a life!

The March event featured Nathan D. Johnson, the Contra Costa County Veterans Service Officer since 2012. The office assists veterans and dependents in applying for federal and state benefits. He served in Pakistan and Iraq.

The guest speakers are scheduled from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. the third Wednesday each month, preceded by dinner at the Martinez American Legion, 930 Ward St. Call Jeff Roubal at 925-957-1662 or Gerry DeGuzman at 510-799-3243 for dinner reservations. No reservations are needed to attend the presentation.

DVC Emeritus classes

Emeritus College, a nonprofit, fee-supported program of Diablo Valley College, is designed to provide affordable classes and special programs for adults 55 and older.

It has new classes starting in April and May, including Western Civilization: The Rise of Christianity, God in the 21st Century, Cuba Travelogue and more. A trip to Sicily is scheduled Sept. 1-9.

Classes are held at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, and Diablo Valley College and JFK University, both in Pleasant Hill.

For more information, call 925-685-1230, ext. 2388, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

View the complete fall schedule online at emeritus@dvc.edu.

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