Good Neighbors by Faith Barnidge: Fundraiser helps needy, brings awareness to local poverty

St. Vincent de Paul Society of Contra Costa programs help our neighbors living with poverty by providing access to services, including free dining rooms, medical and dental care, a daytime homeless shelter, food pantry, help with employment and mentoring, and free or low-cost household goods and clothing.

The Friends of the Poor Walk/Run is held annually to raise awareness about poverty in Contra Costa County, and raise funds for those in need. Two events are scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Join a team or make a pledge and inspire your family and friends to help others. Friends of the Poor Run/Walk registration begins at 8 a.m., and the events start at 9 a.m. at:  

  • St. Agnes Catholic Church, 3966 Chestnut Ave., in Concord. Contact Kathie Hieb at 925-689-0838 ext. 250 or email or

  • St. Isidore Catholic Church, 440 La Gonda Way in Danville. Contact Barbara Hunt at 925-330-6732 or email, or

Run/walk individual, family and community teams are soliciting pledges now. To learn more, register, or make a pledge, visit Select Walk for “Contra Costa County” or a local church to participate.

Teen volunteer coordinators from De La Salle and Carondelet high schools in Concord, and St. Isidore High School in Danville, are recruiting walkers and pledges by distributing fliers throughout Danville and Alamo to local businesses and restaurants.

They make announcements at their schools, and visit church youth groups and help organize the walk, solicit sponsors, assist in publicity and manage the day-of activities. Student volunteers also help with food drives for the food pantry, provide facility and yard cleanup, and help at special events throughout the year.

SVdP’s 740 volunteers conducted more than 67,000 personal visits to our neighbors in the county who were in need last year. SVdP of Contra Costa County operates a Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, 28 parish-based branches, and two thrift stores, located at 2815 Contra Costa Blvd., in Pleasant Hill (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily925-934-5063) and 2210 Gladstone Drive in Pittsburg (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MondaySaturday, 925-439-5060).

SVdP’s thrift stores are used to support SVdP’s programs to help the community, providing low cost and no-cost goods to our most marginalized residents. Store vouchers are given through the SVdP Conferences that conduct home visits to help people identify needs for clothing, housewares, furniture or beds from our stores at no charge.

Unemployed residents may be hired to train and work at these thrift stores to gain experience. Last year SVdP stores provided more than $ 70,000 in free goods to the needy. Volunteers are always needed. Visit

Dancing With the Cars

See the “coolest collection of classic Corvettes west of the Mississippi,” and enjoy cocktails, great food, and music at  “Dancing With the Cars,” the 13th annual Orinda Classic Car Show, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, at the Orinda Country Club, 315 Camino Sobrante in Orinda. The cost is $ 125.

The Orinda Classic Car Show is produced this year by the Rotary Club of Orinda, Orinda Association, Educational Foundation of Orinda, Lamorinda Arts Council, Orinda Parks and Recreation, Orinda Chamber of Commerce and the Orinda Starlight Village Players. They have joined together to collect a remarkable selection of prizes and auction items for the event, including floor tickets to see the Warriors, and a fabulous getaway to Costa Rica. 

For reservations, visit before Sept. 7. Proceeds benefit the “Seniors Around Town” transportation service, an Orinda Association program, Educational Foundation of Orinda, Lamorinda Arts Council and the Rotary Club of Orinda.

Diablo Choral

Diablo Choral Artists community chamber chorus, based in Walnut Creek, is scheduling auditions for Monday, Sept. 11, to fill openings for vocalists. DCA performs vocal music from all eras.

They are in rehearsals for their next concerts beginning with a holiday concert in December, featuring carols and lullabies, “Christmas in the Southwest,” by Conrad Susa, accompanied by harp, guitar, and marimba.

In mid-December, they will present “A Christmas Fantasia,” with Diablo Symphony Orchestra and four additional choirs, performing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols,” and a set of carols in the style of Carmina Burana.

The March concert will feature the classics, including melodies by Brahms, Bach, Mozart and Haydn. The June concert will conclude the season with “A Whimsical Look at Love,” with pieces ranging from the lyrical Brahms’ “Neues Liebeslieder,” to Meacham’s amusing “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.”

Prospective vocalists are welcome to attend rehearsal and audition at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Ave., in Walnut Creek. Please arrange for an audition with music director Mark Tuning at Auditions will seek to identify voice range, quality, and sight-reading ability. For more information, contact Pat at, or visit

Wine and music

Join the Friends of the Martinez Library for an afternoon of wine and music from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at Viano Winery, 150 Morello Ave., in Martinez. Proceeds will support children and adult programming at the Martinez Library.

The ticket price of $ 35 includes a souvenir wine glass, five wine tastes, assorted appetizers and entertainment by Sin Silver. To purchase tickets for this popular event, or additional information, contact or call Ginger at 925-229-2871 before Oct. 8. Viano Winery has been locally owned and operated by the Viano family since 1920. For directions, visit

Welcome Brunch

The Pleasant Hill-Martinez Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is eager to welcome new and prospective members to a “Welcome Brunch” beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 16, at the home of member Marilyn Thelen. Please RSVP to Bernice Ball at 925-890-0202, or Elva Valli at 925-228-8056. Prospective members must have an AA, BA or higher degree to join AAUW. Visit to learn more about AAUW.

The mission of AAUW is to promote equity for all women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.  AAUW fundraising provides fellowships and career development for women, provide college scholarships to local girls graduating from high school, and support Pleasant Hill and Martinez middle school girls to Tech Trek summer camp math and science programs.

Peter Pan

The Peter Pan Foundation, a musical and theater nonprofit organization based in Lafayette, donated $ 15,000 to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, after a performance at the hospital. Peter Pan Foundation artists will also create line drawings that will be reproduced and given to children in the hospital to color.

“Helping young hearts to fly is so much more than just our slogan at the Peter Pan Foundation. It represents our mission to provide the young — and the young at heart — an enthusiastic environment in which participants are inspired to discover and develop their creative talents, while also teaching them important lessons about their responsibility to take care of themselves and others,” said Leslie Noel, founder and director of the Peter Pan Foundation. “This donation was made possible by the love, laughter, talent, and hard work of our performers, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be helping our friends at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.” 

For more information about the Peter Pan Foundation, including auditions, donations and volunteering, visit

“Good Neighbors” is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, notices of awards, and other submissions to

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