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November 18, 2009 > Give a penny or an hour

Give a penny or an hour

The weather has started to show signs of the fall season and the holidays will soon be upon us. You are probably thinking "here's another call for donations for the needy." Well, you are correct but this year it is more important than ever because the slowing economy has reduced the donations non-profits normally receive.

I know many are struggling among us, including some of you. Daily, I see reports of more first-time unemployment applicants and the rise in home foreclosures. So, while I would ask that you rummage around the couch or under your car seat for loose change you could donate to a charity, I urge you to also consider ways you can help without dipping into your savings account.

The easiest way is to search your closet for clothes or blankets still in good condition but you just don't use anymore. Perhaps they are no longer fashionable, your kids have out-grown them or you just don't need them. Many people would appreciate an extra blanket, coat or even a regular T-shirt or jeans.

Another way to help is to volunteer your time. There are soup kitchens, of course, but food banks like Second Harvest Food Bank also need volunteers to help distribute food bags and containers and sort the food they receive. Alternatively, volunteer at the county's Senior Nutrition Program which provides nutritionally-balanced meals for seniors in their homes and at community centers.

We can support our neighbors in so many ways during these tough times. These are just a few that spring to mind; this column does not have enough space to list all of them.

So, I am offering to host a list of resources on my website at www.SupervisorCortese.org so that you can locate places where you can obtain help or offer your help. If you would like to add an opportunity or cause to our website, please email Steven Blomquist at steven.blomquist@bos.sccgov.org.

I am constantly amazed at how many resources, some better-known than others, are available for Santa Clara County residents. My goal for this list of resources is to utilize "people-power" to inform everyone of what is available.

Remember, every little bit helps. Whether it is your spare change or the thirty minutes you spend giving a nutritious meal to a local senior, you will make a difference in the life of someone else. Collectively, these small acts will make a difference in our community and our nation.

As always, I am here to help and listen to your suggestions. Please call me at (408) 299-5030 or email me at dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org.

Steve Blomquist contributed to this article.

Dave Cortese
Santa Clara County
District 3 Supervisor

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