A Christmas tradition in Richmond reaches a milestone

Santa presents a young man with a soccer ball signed by a San Jose Earthquakes player attending the event.

If you needed something uplifting this past week (and don’t most of us?), the Richmond Police Activities League on Macdonald Avenue was a good place to be Sunday.
The RPAL gym again played host to the Charles Reid Christmas Party, a tradition born 65 years ago in North Richmond, where Mr. Reid was the recreation director and wanted to ensure that all the families in the neighborhood struggling post-war years were able to celebrate the holidays.
The tradition, carried on by the late Reid’s family through the Charles Reid Foundation, has not only survived, it has grown, expanded and moved downtown.
The need is no less great now than when the early parties started and people began arriving early Sunday.
“I think we had people starting to line up at 7 a.m.,” said Todd Lewis, Reid’s grandson. “When we came at 7:35 there were about 50 people in line already and we weren’t opening until noon.”

Families in line at the RPAL gym Sunday.


El Cerrito: Gordon White is honored for 30 years of volunteering at the Sundar Shadi display

At the annual installation of the Sunday Shadi Christmas scene in El Cerrito on Saturday morning, Gordon White (above, right) was honored with a plaque commemorating 30 years of volunteering with the beloved display. He explains in the video below how he first became involved after seeing Mr. Shadi working by himself, “standing on a rickety ladder” on the vacant Arlington Boulevard property where the display originated.
White said he had “watched that display since the first star.”
White said he now lives out of town, but plans to find time to come back when the display is set up again.


Richmond parks and rec offers winter basketball and tennis for local kids

The city’s parks and rec department offers Winter Tennis and CandyCane Basketball for local kids.

These are great, low-cost opportunities for local kids to get involved in some healthy sports during the rainy season.

Click below for the sign-up sheets and more information.

Winter Tennis 2013 flyer

Candy Cane Classics 2012


MLK, Peres, Richmond schools benefit from Danville kids giving



Danville elementary school students learn the value of giving, by making sure other less fortunate students in Richmond have a happy holiday season.


                     WHAT/WHO: Sycamore Valley Elementary School is partnering with Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary to help 28 needy families. This event is called, “Adopt A Family” and it’s run through the San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s, Sister School Program. It is aPTArun program, partneringschools within SRVUSD with other schools in aneighboring disadvantaged area in the East Bay. The program’s mission is to foster philanthropy within our youth. Students are directly involved in helping other students in need, by actively participating in programs throughout the school year. Sycamore is one of 32 schools participating in the Sister School program this year.


                     WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, December 13th, 2013

                              -We will be loading up 2 moving vans at Sycamore Elementary School in Danville, between8:15am-9am

                              -We then caravan over to MLK Jr. Elementary in Richmond and unload all the donations.

                              -There will be students from both schools helping with this process as well as a few families who will receive the donations.

 Also: Susan Barrington, a substitute principal at Perez Elementary School in Richmond, said donations of bikes, toys and other things from folks/kids at SRV High School in Danville happens tomorrow

                     CONTACT: Kim Lonergan for more information at: mail2kimy@yahoo.com



                     Sycamore Elementary: 2200 Holbrook Drive, Danville

                     MLK Jr. Elementary: 234 South 39th Street, Richmond




Chevron Richmond makes big donation to Catholic Charities




Contact: Frank Malifrando, Chief Development and Public Affairs Office:510-768-3115


Catholic Charities of the East Bay will receive a $200,000 grant from Chevron Richmond for Project Access


Project ACCESS advances child care education and student success by providing training, career and other support services for non-native speakers of English who want to enter and advance in the Early Childhood Education field.

In a letter announcing the grant, Andrea Bailey, Community Engagement Manager of Chevron Richmond, wrote:

Due to the high quality of received proposals, the review process was very competitive. The committee received ll applications and decided to fund three projects. After a thorough and careful consideration of your proposal . . . the committee has decided to fund your proposal for Project ACCESS Mentoring Program in the amount of $200,000.

As an expression of our Chevron Way values, We believe that supporting local communities is our
responsibility as a good neighbor. Chevron Richmond is committed to making social investments that
Will improve the quality of life for Richmond/W est County residents through expanding opportunities for youth, education and economic development. Chevron focuses on funding results-oriented organizations, enabling our contributions to have a greater impact in the community.

We greatly honor the Work you are doing in the Richmond/W est County community and encourage you to continue to present your ideas to us on how – Working in partnership We can find Ways to increase and sustain community economic viability through comprehensive services that improve family self-sufficiency and help small businesses create and sustain jobs.
The award will formally be presented onDecember 19, 2012.


Catholic Charities of the East Bay helps to meet the survival needs of the poor and vulnerable amongst us. We have served Alameda and Contra Costa counties for over 75 years, and we are known and trusted for compassionate provision of basic human services.


Directed by our faith, Catholic Charities of the East Bay lifts people out of poverty by promoting self-sufficiency, strengthening families, and supporting safe and just communities.


For further information, please contact the Public Affairs Department at Catholic Charities of the East Bay at 510-768-3115.  Additional information on CCEB services can be found at www.cceb.org


Richmond ‘Human Rights City,’ celebrates United Nations document

The city’s Human Rights and Human Relations Commission on Dec. 10 held a ceremony celebrating International Human Rights Day in Council Chambers.

More than 60 people attended the meeting, and volunteers read each of the thirty Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Richmond became a “Human Rights City” when it adopted the spirit of the document on Nov. 3, 2009.

“(The Declaration) guides the spirit of the laws, practices and policies in the city of Richmond,” said commission chair Vivien Feyer, who added that Richmond was a leader in creating a “more just world … with equality, without discrimination.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948 in Paris. The Declaration stemmed from the horrors of WWII and was the first global expression of human rights. It consists of 30 articles which have influenced international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.

Monday’s event was “an exciting opportunity to communicate to the community that our elected representatives are serious about making Human Rights a top priority in their decision making,” Feyer wrote in an invitation last week.

Rita Maran, a UC Berkeley lecturer and United Nations Association East Bay Chapter vice president, organized the presentation.  

Maran noted that people all over the world, some illiterate to written language, know to brandish their small declaration pamphlets when their rights are imperiled.

“Governments heed that,” Maran said. “If you are alone anywhere in the world, these are still your rights.”

Since Richmond became one of the growing list of “Human Rights cities” in 2009, the Human Rights and Human Relations Commission has sponsored and hosted annual service events to celebrate the principles of the 1948 document. One year, Feyer and other commission members hosted an outdoor coffee and breakfast gathering to welcome the hundreds of day laborers who look for work daily at Home Depot on San Pablo Ave.

Monday’s program also included student speakers and a video presentation.


Christmas toy giveaway named for legendary North Richmond figure set for Dec. 16


The Charles Reid Foundation


What:             65th Annual Charles R. Reid Memorial Christmas Party


When:            Sunday,December 16, 2012


Where:           RichmondPALCommunity Center

                       2200 Macdonald Avenue,Richmond,CA94804


Who:              Children between 2 – 12 years old with Parents


Time:              12:00 PM –4:00 PM


Cont:              Todd Lewis(510)236-8520




The Charles Reid Christmas Party is an annual event that was originated in 1947 by the late Mr. Charles Reid to offer Christmas Toys to underprivileged kids in the Richmond Community.  We are proud to announce this year’s event will be our 65th consecutive year.


This event has passed though generations of families inRichmondand surrounding communities.  We provided Christmas Toys and a visit with Santa for families whom are truly needy during the holiday season.


During the past 65 years, this event has been a cornerstone to the families ofRichmondand surrounding communities. Since the inception of the event, we have served approximately 1000 – 2000 children each year with toys, fruits, candies, cookies, stockings and entertainment.  We are hoping to assist all those in need during this Christmas season.


Our Sponsors


Chevron Richmond                        Omega Pacific Electrical Supply, Inc.     Stifel Nicolaus

Mechanics Bank                  San Francisco Fire Toy Program              Richmond PAL

Marriott Richmond


Annual Christmas toy and coat event Friday at Verde Elementary in North Richmond


JOHN GIOIA (joy-a) | Contra Costa County | Board of Supervisors | District One 11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D | El Cerrito, CA 94530 | (510) 374-3231 www.cocobos.org/gioia For Immediate Release December 13, 2012 For more information contact: Luz Gomez, Deputy Chief of Staff – 510-374-3231 Office; 925-785-2439

What: Annual Verde Elementary School Toy and Coat Distribution

When: Friday, December 14, 2012; 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Where: Verde Elementary School, 2000 Giaramita Street, N. Richmond, CA

Why: More than 300 kindergarden – 6th graders at Verde Elementary School will be receiving a new coat and wrapped present at tomorrow’s toy & coat give–away.

Verde Elementary School is located in the East Bay unincorporated community of North Richmond in Contra Costa County, which is considered to be one of the most impoverished communities in the Bay Area.

County Supervisor John Gioia, whose West County District includes North Richmond, has been organizing the toy and coat distribution for the last 14 years.

This year, more than 20 volunteers to help sort and wrap items, and donations from the public totaling nearly $8000 have made the event possible. The toy & coat give-away will begin at 9 a.m. Toys will be located in the school’s multi-purpose room. Coats will be given at the library.


March on Richmond bank scheduled for Wednesday


Embargoed until Wednesday, December 12th

For more information contact David Sharples, ACCE, 415-377-9037, dsharples@calorganize.org

Homeowners and Activists to March on Richmond Wells Fargo, Occupy the Bank and Demand Affordable Loan Modification and Principal Reduction for Struggling Richmond Homeowner

The group will tell Wells CEO John Stumpf to stop being a Grinch and will sing Christmas Carols like “Arrest ye Merry Bankermen!”

RICHMOND, CA – Members of the community group ACCE, Occupy Activists and other concerned Richmond residents will join Eloisa Mendoza, a struggling Richmond Homeowner, as she marches to a Wells Fargo branch and demands an affordable loan modification and principal reduction.

What: Action on Richmond, CA Wells Fargo

When: Wednesday, December 12th, 5pm

Where: Wells Fargo, 4300 MacDonald Ave, Richmond, CA

ACCE is calling on the major banks to stop being community killers and instead institute policies that put homeownership before foreclosure by using principal reduction as a core strategy to save homes and reboot the economy.

In addition, ACCE is calling on President Obama to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to institute a real principal reduction program and Replace Ed DeMarco as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is a multi-racial, democratic, non-profit community organization building power in low to moderate income neighborhoods to stand and fight for social, economic and racial justice. ACCE has chapters in eleven counties across the State of California. For more information visit

http://www.calorganize.org/ or follow ACCE on twitter @CalOrganize


Richmond’s RYSE youth center celebrates

(by Robert Rogers)

RICHMOND — Four years ago, the RYSE Center was just taking shape 
Today, it’s one of the city’s proudest success stories.
And it keeps adding new chapters.
“This community knew that young people could lead a center and develop the programming and have adult allies to help make it work,” said County Supervisor John Gioia, one of the founders of the Macdonald Ave. youth center. “And that’s what’s great about this center. It’s an alliance between adults and youths, but the youths lead the effort.”
On Dec. 8 hundreds gathered to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the RYSE Youth Center with s ribbon cutting for the opening of an outdoor stage, gardens, and basketball court.
In addition to the grand opening of the RYSE Outside’s project, the youth center distributed hundreds of toys to Richmond families.
The new outdoor area was funded mostly by the Bechtel and Lesher Foundations, to the tune of more than $200,000.
The Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, established in 1989 and named for the founder of the Contra Costa Times, grants hundreds of thousands annually for community improvement and educational scholarships in Contra Costa County.
“Dean would be thrilled to see this,” said Lesher Foundation Executive Director Kathleen Odne, gesturing toward the outdoor ampitheater and dozens of children. “We are ongoing supporters of RYSE programming.”