Book fair benefits education foundation

Books are great gift items and you can shop for the holidays and do some giving to local students via the Albany Education Foundation on Dec. 1 at the El Cerrito Plaza Barnes & Noble. The store is hosting a book fair that day, with 10 to 25 percent of purchases going to the AEF when shoppers mention the fundraiser when checking out.

AEF volunteers will be at the store from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to offer free gift wrapping of holiday purchases and assist shoppers who want to buy any items on wish lists of Albany librarians and teachers.

Purchases can also be made online by going to www.barnesandnoble.com and entering book fair ID number 10730711.

For details or to volunteer, contact Marsha Skinner at 510-526-1154 or marshaskinner@yahoo.com.

Talk on alternatives to medication

Homeopath and herbal enthusiast Lourdes Gonzaga will discuss using common herbs, kitchen staples and homeopathic remedies as the basis of a "first aid kit" alternative to commercial medicine at a free talk at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Edith Stone Room at the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave.

The talk is sponsored by Transition Albany, which will hold a raffle and provide free roots and seeds for attendees to grow their own kit ingredients.

This is part of a series on Transition Skills.


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Good gifts and good cheer at St. Jerome fair

St, Jerome Church will hold a Christmas Crafts Faire from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 2 in Rohan Hall at the church, 308 Carmel Ave. in El Cerrito.

The event will feature gifts, children's books, jewelry, handcrafted items, baked goods, music and holiday cheer.

Shopping adventure at St. John School

The annual Christmas Faire at St. John's School, a tradition for more than 40 years, will have food, gift shopping, entertainment and more from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the gymnasium on the Kearney Street side of the school at 11156 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.

Come early for the pancake breakfast, then browse the arts, crafts, jewelry, T-shirts, hats, decorations and other offerings available from area vendors in a relaxed atmosphere.

Enter the prize raffles and take advantage of Santa's Workshop to get gift items wrapped (donations accepted) and Mrs. Santa's Kitchen, where all ages can purchase and decorate gingerbread man cookies for $1 each.

Raffle and vendor fee proceeds benefit the parish.

Space is still available for interested vendors.

For details on vendor space availability or advance raffle tickets, contact Geseell Grant at 510-235-5859 or gesgrant@yahoo.com.

High school benefits set for Dec. 2

Barnes & Noble and Pasta Pomodoro at El Cerrito Plaza are participating in fundraisers for the El Cerrito High School speech and debate teams from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 2.

Shop for books and gifts and stop for lunch or dinner, and a portion of your purchase will benefit the team. To participate, go to http://bit.ly/UEsZJB and print out the fundraiser fliers, then show them at the businesses on Dec. 2.

"Last year, this fundraiser was a huge success for us, and we hope to do even better this year," says debate team parent Leslie Cohen. "Students will also be present at the Plaza handing out fliers and talking to folks about the team."

The debate program has 55 students competing in more than 20 tournaments around the Bay Area and the state.

Purchases can also be made online from Dec. 2 to 5 at bn.com/bookfairs. Enter book fair ID No. 10815793 at checkout and the program will receive credit.

Quilters set holiday craft fair for Dec. 1

East Bay Heritage Quilters presents its Holiday Craft Fair from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

Admission is free to the event that will feature quilts as well as jams and jellies, jewelry, pincushions, books, ornaments, stationary, place mats, pillows, scarves, potted succulents, fabric post cards, dolls, and toys offered by guild members.

Members have also donated items that will be on sale at a separate table, with proceeds used to buy materials for the more than 1,000 quilts the guild donates "to those needing the comfort of a quilt stitched with love and concern." The 34-year-old nonprofit guild has more than 400 members of all age and experience levels. Details: www.ebhq.org.

Santa Claus will visit at annual breakfast

El Cerrito's annual Holiday Breakfast and Scholarship Fundraiser is from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane.

The festivities will include breakfast served from 9 to 10:45 a.m., a visit from Santa Claus from 9:10 to 9:40 a.m. songs by children in the city's preschool and after school/child care programs from 9:45 to 10 a.m. and a holiday variety show by the ClownSnotBombs Circus from 10 to 10:45 a.m.

Tickets are available at the Community Center or online at www.el-cerrito.org/recreation.

-- Chris Treadway