The holiday season is here, and it's the season of giving. But we're not just talking about giving presents to loved ones and trying to woo your office crush. We're talking about giving back to the community. Whether you are helping out by making donations to the Red Cross to support hurricane relief or serving meals at a local soup kitchen, every ounce of effort that you can give matters. We've compiled a list of ways you can help others in need this holiday season, and we urge anyone willing and able to do so! Basically all you need are arms, legs, a warm smile, and willingness to help.
The holidays are officially, officially upon us. Thanksgiving is Thursday, and then we'll have tree lightings, family dinners, and the discount consumerist death duel of Black Friday, Black Thursday, Cyber Monday, and something-else-I-forget Tuesday. If the hustle and bustle of trying to find the perfect turkey -- or the perfect gift -- is making you wonder what the holidays are really about, you might want to consider volunteering. There's nothing like giving back to make you thankful for what you have, and we've found some great places where you can help out.
Full Disclosure: I was a core collective member of the CELLspace Community Arts Center from 2000 until 2007. During that time I lived in a small box in the ceiling, sat through more "ritual theater" than I care to remember, and learned that when someone starts shooting at a party you end up with a large pile of high heel shoes because you just can't run fast enough in heels.
If you're involved in community arts in the Bay Area, you've probably been touched by CELLspace in some way. The graffiti and mural covered warehouse on Bryant has been hosting b-boy competitions, tango lessons, art classes, youth programming, and underground dance parties for over a decade. During it's early years CELL functioned almost entirely through the efforts of volunteers and operated on the collective consensus model of decision making. It provided space for artists like the Flaming Lotus Girls, Twisty Tie Joe, and the female hip hop collective Sisterz of the Underground to make a name for themselves, and also helped to create and inspire the warehouse art movement now flourishing in the Bay Area at spaces like The Box Shop and The Crucible. Burning Man's Community Events Director Steven Raspa commented over e-mail that, "CELL has played a vital and significant role in the underground creative community in the Bay Area for many years, serving as a stopping point for touring acts, a stomping ground for local art groups, and numerous mad-capped 'happenings' that defy explanation."
"I'm gonna puke!!!!! How do you get the attention of the people of SF? The neighbors of Dolores Park have no idea that the trailer issue is even back, so to get the word out and get people talking about it, we are gonna have a protest, sort of. We're all gonna puke in Dolores Park on Saturday the 23rd at 2:00. More details soon. Privatizing our parks makes me sick. How about you?"
Many of the people who plan to toss their cookies have signed an online petition called Take Back Our Parks, which opposes permits that have been or are likely to be issued to vending trucks. Basically: "The undersigned respectfully demand that all necessary measures be taken to rescind the currently issued permits, and a new process be undertaken to fully mitigate all possible environmental consequences, and all resource use and development potential prior to permitting any further commercial activity in Dolores Park."
We've heard of Die-Ins, Teach-Ins, Kiss-Ins, Be-ins, and Drive-Ins. But this is the first time we've run across a civic-minded group hurl.
(Yes, yes, it's a Chicken John event. Yes, yes, he used to do a weekly column for this blog. It's going to be fine.)
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Said it before, we'll say it again: Volunteer. Especially if you're unemp. or ret.
It's "nice," right? Of course, but it's also frescante for you, refreshing, invigorating. We were gonna say that volunteering is "fun," but it's often better than fun, more than fun. Hence the resort to Fauxtalian.