All posts tagged: Contra Costa County

Open Heart, Open Table in Tri-Valley

Food connects us, especially at this time of year. In Contra Costa County, food links hundreds of organizations and businesses bringing free nourishment to those who need it most.   Through word of mouth, I’ve come to know a number of groups helping to feed the community. I first reported on Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa who referred me to White Pony Express with its hundreds of volunteers crisscrossing the county delivering fresh quality food seven days a week.  White Pony Express next referred me to their fresh fruit supplier, The Urban Farmers. The Urban Farmers spoke highly of Open Heart Kitchen that serves their fruit with free hot meals every weekday and packs it in their weekend bagged lunches for kids to eat when in school. I met with Linda McKeever, executive director of Open Heart Kitchen at Vineyard Christian Fellowship to learn more about the organization. We sat in the dining room in front of a window where clients were picking up Thanksgiving parcels, including donated turkeys for their holiday meals. The Kitchen rotates …

pleasan hill library reading

Nonstop Learning at the Public Library

Learning rocks and never stops at the public library. Libraries have evolved from being book warehouses to learning labs and one-stop-shop community centers for all ages. Patrick Remer, Senior Community Library Manager at the Pleasant Hill Library, grew up in Pleasant Hill. “As someone who used this library when I was a kid in the eighties, for me it was this awesome edifice filled with books. Now it’s an explosion of resources. Kids come to talk to authors, they come for hands-on learning, our Lego Club, our Maker events.” I’m here for a virtual author event for the library’s Citywide Read program. The library is “Skyping in” children’s author and comedian Chris Grabenstein from his apartment in New York City. His book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library takes us on an adventure through the radically high-tech, old school universe of a fantasy library. At first, I feel weird sitting among tweens and teens, their parents and an array of yellow balloons. Soon, though, the room’s enthusiastic discussion about books and writing and the kids’ bottomless …

A Foundation for Life – Habitat for Humanity

A friend of mine got lost in Martinez recently and stopped at a building site off Pacheco Boulevard to get his bearings. “Man, I want to come back here and shoot pictures of this place,” he told me. I stole his idea. This is what we call story development at BayMozaic.  I contacted Erin Spaulding at Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (EBSV) to ask about the Muir Ridge development. She told me the project matched a natural need for affordable housing in the far reaches of the East Bay, as housing costs have gone up across Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties. In an area where land is hard to come by, Habitat for Humanity EBSV was able to take over an existing development site in unincorporated Martinez. They broke ground a year ago and will complete the second phase of building twenty homes in late May 2016. Most of us have heard about Habitat for Humanity, and I was curious about Erin’s personal and emotional connection with the organization. Erin Spaulding: I …