Folks are working hard around West Contra Costa to ensure happy holidays for those in need, and the longest-standing of these efforts is this weekend in Richmond.

The 66th annual Charles Reid Foundation Christmas Party takes place rain or shine from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Richmond PAL Community Center, 2200 Macdonald Ave.

The party, the ongoing legacy of the tradition started by the late Charles Reid in North Richmond, annually provides a visit with Santa Claus and a gift for all children ages 2 to 12, along with entertainment and activities for the family.

Children must be present to receive a gift.

For more details on attending or helping, contact the Charles Reid Foundation at 510-236-8520.

  • Drew Gooden, the El Cerrito High School basketball star who went on to a productive career in the NBA, is holding a second annual toy drive for children in his hometown of Richmond.

    The Winter Wonderland Holiday Event will be hosted by the Drew Gooden Foundation and Maurice Braxton on Dec. 22 at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center, 960 S. 47th St. in Richmond.

    Donation needs include new, unopened toys; gift-wrapping materials; and food and beverages for the 500 children picked to attend the event. For details visit thedrewgooden.com or contact Melissa LaCorte at 925-305-1420 or melissalacorte@thedrewgooden.com.


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  • Residents in San Pablo have again participated in Operation Christmas Child, a national donation drive that will provide 26,000 needy children in troubled areas around the world with gift-filled shoeboxes "toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement."

    Learn more about the program at samaritanspurse.org/newsroom.

    MUSIC of the season: Jessica Bejarano directs the community musical ensemble West County Winds in a free seasonal at 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Knox Performing Arts Center at Contra Costa College, 2600 Mission Bell Drive in San Pablo. Details: www.westcountywinds.org.

  • The choir from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Kensington will sing at the Sundar Shadi Holiday display on Moeser Lane at Sea View Drive in El Cerrito at 9 p.m. Dec. 19. The musical director is Bryan Baker.

    As noted here last week, bell-ringing duo Larry and Carla Sue perform on Dec. 14, the opening night of the display, which will be illuminated from 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 26.

  • First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St. in Point Richmond, is hosting severat musical events.

    A Point Richmond Acoustic concert with singer/songwriter Teresa Tudury is set for 8 p.m. Dec. 13. Opening the show will be storyteller and songwriter Claudia Nygaard. Tickets are $15 at the door. Details: pointacoustic.org.

    The church will hold a Christmas Pageant in the sanctuary at 7 p.m. Dec. 22, featuring Bible readings and special music performed by members of The Masquers Playhouse, Joyful Noise Choir and Angel Choir. A shorter version of the pageant will be held at the 11 a.m. worship service.

    The annual Christmas Eve Jazz Service at the church is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 24 and will feature the Dan Damon Quartet (Kurt Ribak bass, Randy Odell, drums, Lincoln Adler, sax and Dan Damon, piano, guest soloists and the Angel Choir).

    Details: www.pointrichmond.com/methodist.

    WEST COUNTY NOTES: The music recording industry has again recognized Arhoolie Records in El Cerrito with a Grammy Award nomination.

    "They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration," a compilation of artists recorded by the Arhoolie label, is a nominee for Best Folk Album.

  • The East Bay Bay Regional Park District is finalizing acquisition of a 362-acre, unimproved property adjacent to the eastern edge of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park off San Pablo Dam Road in Richmond for $1.45 million.

    The district has been negotiating for the land since 2010.

    "This is a large area of beautiful oak woodlands and non-native annual grassland. It will allow the park district to protect significant habitat, prevent further development of the hillside, complete the operational boundary of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, and provide public access opportunities from San Pablo Dam Road," said district board Treasurer Whitney Dotson.

    According to the district, "The property will be placed into land bank status until a Land Use Plan Amendment for Wildcat Canyon Regional Park can be completed."

  • San Pablo has completed a guidebook for people who own property by or live near any of the city's creeks.

    The "Creekside Property Owner's Guidebook" explains the functions and importance of the waterways and outlines the special rules for construction and landscaping near creeks. It is available on the "Creek Stewardship" page on the city's website, www.ci.san-pablo.ca.us.

  • The new documentary "Sundar Shadi's Gifts" can now be streamed from the City of El Cerrito website at ca-elcerrito.civicplus.com/MediaCenter.aspx and will soon be available to borrow from the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave., or rent at Silver Screen Video at El Cerrito Plaza.

    Copies of the DVD will also be available for sale at the Shadi display.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.