The 75 second graders at Bay Farm Elementary School have started work on new community service projects this year. The effort is called “We Love Our Town!” For their first project, the kids planted more than 600 spring bulbs in November around the school. Then, on Dec. 20, the kids collected hundreds of socks, hats, scarves, jackets and toiletries in support of the annual Christmas Eve Soup Kitchen held at Alameda’s Pappo Restaurant. The soup kitchen was again well attended this year with a line out the door of people in need of the kids’ and restaurant’s generosity.
During the week of Dec. 15, Alameda Kiwanis joined the Alameda Firefighters Toy Drive at Christ Church Episcopal Church. Club members sorted toys gathered in barrels at local businesses in the church parish hall, transforming it into a huge toy store. On Dec. 20 to 21, as Alameda families came to collect their holiday gifts, with volunteers spoke to the children and assessed their wish lists. The Kiwanis and Church elves then went into the toy store to shop and emerged with a bagful of custom-selected toys for each family.
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft marked the beginning of the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, last Friday at the Bridgeside Center by lighting a 10-foot menorah. Chabad of Alameda hosted the lighting, which featured performances, crafts and other fun. Chanukah lasts eight days from the 25th day of Kislev, a month in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in 165 BC after its desecration by the Syrians. The holiday is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.
Toby Schrager, a student at Queener’s Piano Studio, performed at the tea party venue at the First Presbyterian Church associated with the Dec. 14 Alameda Family Services Holiday Home Tour. During one of his songs, an appreciative listener offered him a sandwich as a tip, which he proceeded to eat mid-performance. Carolyn Queener, piano instructor, frequently arranges for her students to play in support of local events. “Don’t eat and play at the same time!” Queener reminds local pianists.
Parents and students at Love Elementary School held demonstrations on various street corners the morning of Dec. 18 before school started. At the intersections of Willow and Chestnut streets with Lincoln Avenue and Chestnut with Santa Clara Avenue, the most dangerous intersections near the school, residents gathered with posters and signs to remind drivers of the school zone and to drive carefully.
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Vice Mayor John Knox White and Councilmember Malia Vella all joined the demonstration.