Wishing you all a happy new year! Good Neighbors shares stories of generosity, acheivement and good news. Contributors include community leaders, nonprofit organizations that provide necessary goods and services to those who need them, service organizations whose members volunteer where help is needed, and individuals, who make ramdom acts of kindess all year long.

We can't spread the good news unless you share it with us! Send us your contributions, photos, congratulations and announcements. We will do our best to inform and enlighten the community about your efforts.

This community service is provided free of charge by the Contra Costa Times and is published Thursdays in the Pleasant Hill/Martinez Record, Concord Transcript, Walnut Creek Journal and online at www.contracostatimes.com, "My Town" menu, which offers up-to-date local news in your town.

Food bank donation

John Muir Health is delivering much needed assistance to families this holiday season with a $25,000 donation to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

"We are extremely grateful for the generosity of John Muir Health," said Larry Sly, executive director of the food bank. "This funding will enable our food bank to provide 50,000 meals right here in our community where the need is greater than ever before."


Advertisement

The funds will support its efforts to reduce malnutrition by providing access to food, which is a critical component of an individual's overall health. The donation is also in keeping with John Muir Health's mission to improve the health of the communities it serves.

John Muir Health employees have also been participating in a holiday food drive to support the food bank. Since making its first holiday donation in 2008 at the suggestion of an employee, John Muir Health has contributed more than $200,000 to the food bank.

"This donation and the food drive reflect the generosity of our doctors, staff and volunteers who are committed to helping the members of our community," said Alice Villanueva, senior vice president of human resources at John Muir Health. "As a community partner, we are pleased to be able to help make this holiday season a little brighter for those in need."

Business acumen

Congratulations to Colleen McCormick, co-founder of Lamorinda Music, for being chosen as Lafayette's Marquis Business Person of the Year. Colleen and her husband, John, had this crazy idea in the middle of a bad economy: Open a music store and grow the community of local musicians.

Since it opened, Lamorinda Music has tripled in size, and two new partners share the space on Lafayette Circle, including Mighty Fine Guitars, owned and operated by Colleen's uncle, Stevie Coyle and Lamorinda Theatre Academy (upstairs), operated by Renee DeWeese and Rena Wilson.

A dinner will be held in Colleen's honor on Saturday evening, Jan. 26, at the Lafayette Park Hotel, 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd. In Lafayette. Tickets are $59.50 per person. Reservations are due by Jan. 22 and can be made by visiting www.trylafayettefirst.org.

Helping schoolchildren

Contra Costa District IV Supervisor Karen Mitchoff represents the residents of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill, part of Walnut Creek and the unincorporated Contra Costa Centre, and supports the Assistance League of Diablo Valley, serving as one of eight chapter advisors to the organization.

Mitchoff and staff assistant Laura Case helped Assistance League president Linda Mercer; Susan Angle, grants committee/corporate partners committee liaison; Operation School Bell team leader Lesley Salo and Operation School Bell chairman Liz Haag fill bags of new school uniforms for local recipients of Operation School Bell, a nationally acclaimed program that provides clothing and shoes for elementary schoolchildren.

Assistance League of Diablo Valley partners with public officials and stewards so children thrive and the entire community benefits.

To learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley's corporate partnerships, Operation School Bell, and the chapter's primary fundraiser, the Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, 3521 Golden Gate Way in Lafayette, next to the old movie theater, visit diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.

Bikes for Tots

Bikes for Tots was started eight years ago by two Morgan Stanley employees -- Shawn Oliver of the Napa office, and Brian Lewis from the Orinda office. The two founded the Morgan Stanley Cycling Team, a group of avid cyclists -- not all of whom are employees -- who love to ride and race in master's level road bike events.

This year's Bikes For Tots raised funds to foster a love of cycling for underprivileged kids and included a fundraiser, bike build and bike giveaway.

The Bikes for Tots bike ride, lobster feed and auction invited cyclists of all ages and skill levels to participate. They raised funds for a bike giveaway in local communities, Trips For Kids, an organization which has opened the world of cycling to more than 90,000 at-risk youth since 1988 through mountain bike rides and Earn-A-Bike programs, and the Fast Freddie Foundation which supports young cyclists in their goals in cycling and beyond.

Morgan Stanley employees have loved being involved in the giveaway during the holidays. Company offices hosted the kids, their parents or counselors for a snack and to receive bikes and helmets for their good behavior and citizenship.

Great work everybody!

Women's conference

The eighth annual East Bay Women's Conference, conceived by Marcie Hochhauser, vice president of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, will be held Monday, March 4, at the San Ramon Marriott, 2600 Bishop Drive in San Ramon.

I have attended this wonderful conference for many years and have always enjoyed the company of the sellout crowd of enthusiastic, welcoming and professional women.

Keynote speaker Marlo Thomas, breakout sessions focused on contemporary issues, exhibitor booths and networking opportunities, continental breakfast, lunch and an afternoon reception are all icluded in the ticket price of $195.

The conference is presented by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau and Chevron Corporation. Visit www.walnut-creek.com to make an online reservation.

Record harvest

The Concord-Diablo Rotary Club's Picker Squadron was out Christmas weekend gathering excess fruit from neighborhood trees and getting it to the food pantries and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

The club, in their third year of the project, is closing in on almost 10,000 pounds for this year, beating last year's record of 8,000 pounds by quite a bit, thanks to the help of 25 donors and volunteers who have participated in the efforts, led by Edi Birsan, the club's community service director.

Contact the Picker Squadron at 925-798-3537 or email EdiBirsan@astound.net.

The Rotary club meets at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays at the Crowne Plaza, 45 John Glenn Drive in Concord. Visit www.CDrotary.org. The president is Eric Maldonado, who is also the Hispanic Chamber president.

Free trees

Celebrate the new year with free crapemyrtle trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Send a $10 membership contribution to Crapemyrtles, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Jan. 31, or online at arborday.org/january.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between Feb. 1 and April 30. Members will also receive a subscription to the foundation's colorful bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.

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