Organizations in West County are doing their best to get folks off to a healthy start for the new year, with new facilities and programs being made available to residents in Richmond and surrounding areas.

A grand opening celebration for the RotaCare Richmond Free Medical Clinic will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Bermuda Room of the Richmond Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza.

The new center, which will initially be open on Tuesday evenings, is a joint project of Rotary Club chapters in Richmond, Albany, Berkeley, Hercules, San Pablo, El Cerrito and Alamo. The facility, housed at Brighter Beginnings at 2727 Macdonald Ave., is intended to address the shortfall in available health care to uninsured or underinsured residents in Contra Costa County.

"A primary focus of the clinic's education and treatment will be in the areas of diabetes, asthma, hypertension and obesity," organizers say, noting that death rates from chronic conditions in the greater Richmond area are significantly higher than the rest of the county, and higher than statewide averages.

The opening festivities will include entertainment, remarks by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and county Health Officer Dr. William Walker and a ribbon-cutting at the facility at 6:15 p.m. followed by tours of the space.

The clinic, which has received anchor funding from the Dohmen Company Foundation, will operate without government funding or insurance reimbursement.


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More than 100 doctors, nurses and technicians have already committed to volunteering time, as have members of the Rotary chapters. The facility will be the 12th RotaCare clinic in the Bay Area.

For information about volunteer opportunities contact Drea Riquelme at 510-207-7516. To learn more about funding opportunities, contact Grace Aroha at 510-903-7529.

  • Free classes for healthier living are upcoming at the Richmond Native Wellness Center, 260 23rd St.

    "Urban Gardening and teaching planting for the future" is a weekly class starting noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 4 that will provide instruction on nurturing seedlings into mature plants using the center's urban garden boxes. Participants will receive a free seasonal plant at the end of each class. The sessions are for all ages and will include some field trips.

    "Healthy Body Movement and Seasoned with Spirit-Cooking Class" is a second weekly series on healthy activities and economical and nutritious cooking that kicks off from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. The grand opening session will have demonstrations by the instructors, refreshments and a raffle.

    Classes are open to all. To register or get more information about the center, which offers a variety of classes and medical and other resources for the Native American community, call 510-232-7020, email Courtney Cummings at CourtneyC@nativehealth.org or visit

    www.nativehealth.org.

  • Dinner Dialogue, described as "a monthly community event with good food and lively discussion on social and political issues facing the Iron Triangle community of Richmond," is a monthly series from Building Blocks for Kids that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 4. Sessions, with a communal meal and a new topic each time, will meet on the first Monday of the month at the Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Ave.

    Details: www.bbk-richmond.org.

  • Drumming as a healthy activity is the focus of a free event at 4 p.m. Feb. 4 at the San Pablo Library, 2300 Portal Drive. Drums will be provided free for all who attend. For details, call 510-374-3998.

    MORE CRAB FEEDS: The seventh annual crab feed and silent auction to benefit the Hercules Running Rebels youth track team is 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Hercules Community Center, 2001 Refugio Valley Road.

    Menu includes all you can eat hot crab, garlic noodles, Caesar salad and fresh bread are on the menu. Tickets are $45 each or $25 age 12 and under. For tickets or details, call 510-691-5652 or info@herculesrunningrebels.com.

  • The annual Rodeo Chamber of Commerce crab feed is at 6 p.m. (social hour) Feb. 16 at St. Patrick's Hall at Seventh Street and Vaqueros Avenue. Menu is crab, tri-tip, vegetables, pasta, salad, rolls and dessert and tickets are $40 each, available by calling 510-799-6420 or going to Rodeo True Value Hardware, 670 Parker Ave.

    WEST COUNTY NOTES: Lunafest, the annual traveling festival and fundraiser of films by and for women, comes to the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 8.

    This edition of the film festival is hosted by the Zonta Club of Berkeley/North Bay and tickets are $25, $35 and $40, with proceeds benefit projects seeking to eliminate violence against women. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/4706538383#.

  • The second annual Charles Reid Gospel Festival will be held at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 with a lineup that includes the famed Rance Allen Group, the Mighty Clouds Of Joy, Paul Porter and the Gospel 4.

    Tickets range from $20 economy to $50 VIP, available by calling 877-295-5227 or 800-965-9324. Details: www.reidsrecords.com/CharlesreidSecond.html.

  • Martine Ham of the East Bay Rose Society will give a talk on "Care and Feeding of Roses" when the Pinole Garden Club meets at 1 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Alex Clark Room of the Public Safety Facility, 880 Tennent Ave. Guests are welcome. For details, call 510-758-0462.

    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.