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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mitzvah Moments - Give to the Needy this Holiday

“Think outside the box.” Give someone the gift of giving to someone else. Here are some ideas.

• Blood Bank of the Redwoods. Give the gift of life - give blood, the need is especially great during the holidays. Call 545-1222 for blood bank hours and blood mobile locations.

• Give the ultimate gift - life to a local woman! Tracie Skaggs, who has lived in Guerneville for more than 30 years, still needs a kidney. Tracie and her husband, Mike, have given so much to the community. Remember her Halloween Haunted House fund raisers and “Elves with Attitudes,” where she and her partner at All About You Beauty Salon adopt several families at the holidays, making sure everyone in the household gets gifts.
Tracie has been on peritoneal dialysis for over a year, making it hard for her to work and continue her community service. She could wait more than seven years for a deceased donor, but a living donor is somewhere in our community. It’s easy to be a living donor––I know, because I am one––and a kidney from a living donor is the best option for Tracie. Please spread the word––may you or someone you know “share your spare.”
Find out more about kidney donation and see “The Gift of Life,” a video, at or call 1-800-482-7389. transplantation/livingDonors/info.cfm, is also good. Tracie needs a donor with type O or O- blood, but paired donation programs mean someone with another blood type could still donate. Leave Tracie a message at 707-695-7591 if you’re interested in being a possible donor.

• The Living Room, Santa Rosa’s daytime drop-in shelter for homeless women and children, needs gifts by December 15th––especially items for women (umbrellas, socks, combs & brushes, jewelry (may be used), gloves, wooly scarves & caps, small makeup or manicure kits) and teenage boys (movie passes, M & L sweatshirts, watches, hand-held games). Go to contribute.htm or call 707-579-0138 to donate money.

• The Volunteer Center’s Secret Santa Program delivered over 13,000 gifts in 2008. Adopt a Secret Santa Gift Heart––go to; www.santa09.htm for where you can find them and more information.

• The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program has many drop-off sites locally. Go to or call 707-584-5886 for locations and more information. You can donate online, too.

• Firefighters’ Toy Drives. Drop off new unwrapped toys at fire stations in Forestville, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol (which also takes used toys in great condition.) Look for Graton firefighters’ donation barrels at the post office and Andy’s Produce.

• Sleep Train’s Secret Santa Toy Drive benefiting the Children's Village of Sonoma County and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Foundation ends Dec. 12th. Take any new, unwrapped toy or game to the Santa Rosa store at 2795 Santa Rosa Ave. or donate online at If you miss this opportunity, their (new) pajama drive is from January 4th to February 21st.

• Help a dad or mom in the service read to their kids. Support the USO’s “United through Reading” program, which has video cameras and libraries at most USOs, both in the US and overseas, so parents can read a bedtime story to their children via web cam. Or donate to help buy phone cards for “Operation Phone Home.” While you can’t specify who will get your gift, you can make it in honor or memory of someone. If you don’t know anyone in the service, check out the wall of honor at the main post office in Santa Rosa for a name or two. Check out other USO programs at or call 1-800-876-7469. If you are an American Airlines frequent flier, you can get 125 miles for every $25 you donate––you have to do this by phone.

Local Food Banks need your help all year, but especially now. See last month’s Gazette and and the website GazExtra! for one near you. Many local charities have benefits during the Holidays. See the Gazette’s calendar for information.

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