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November 11, 2009 > Give a penny or an hour

Give a penny or an hour

As you may have noticed, the weather has finally started to show signs of the fall season coming. Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us. Now I know what you are thinking, here comes another call for donations for the needy. Well, you are correct; but this year it is more important than in the past as the slowing economy has reduced the amount of donations that nonprofits normally receive.

Now I know that many are struggling among us including some of you; every day I see the reports of more first time unemployment applicants and the rise in home foreclosures. So while I would ask that you dig through the couch or look under the seat in your car for the loose change that you could donate to a charity, I urge you to also look at ways you can help that will not dip into your savings account.

The easiest way is to look in your closet for clothes or blankets that are still in good condition but that you just don't use anymore. Perhaps they have gone out of style, your kids have grown out of them, or you just don't need them; either way, there are many people that would be very appreciative to have an extra blanket or coat, or even a regular t-shirt or jeans.

Another way that you can help is to volunteer your time. There are soup kitchens of course. But other places that could use help are food banks like Second Harvest Food Bank that need help distributing food bags and containers, and sorting the food that they receive. Or you could volunteer at the county's Senior Nutrition Program that provides nutritionally balanced meals for seniors that are delivered to their homes or provided at community centers.

There are many ways that we can step up to help out our neighbors during these tough times. These are just a few of the many ways that I can think of, but this column is not long enough to list all of them. So what I am going to offer is to host a list of resources on my website at, that you can go to in order to locate places that you can go for help or to help out. If you would like to add an opportunity or need to our website - please email Steven Blomquist at

I am constantly amazed at the many resources that are available for the residents of Santa Clara County that people do not know about. So my goal for this list of resources is to enlist "people-power" to get the word out.

Just keep in mind that every little bit helps. Whether it is your spare change or the thirty minutes that you spent giving a nutritious meal to a local senior, you will have made a difference in the life of someone else. And if we all band together, these small acts will combine to make a difference in our community and our nation.

As always, I am here to help you or to listen to your suggestions. Please give me a call at (408) 299-5030 or email me at

Steve Blomquist contributed to this article.

Dave Cortese
Santa Clara County
District 3 Supervisor

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