Monday, July 29, 2013

Santa Cruz, California

I returned home tonight from a four-day-weekend adventure in Santa Cruz, California for a friend's wedding, very much appreciating the 800+ miles posted onto a free rental car and the handsome man who drove it.  (This is what happens when two cars break in a week!)  But, I also thought the whole weekend about the beauty and simplicity of Santa Cruz, and the charitable gems I might find there.  A few of my favorites:

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter: While eating poached eggs and bacon at the delicious Buttery Bakery on Saturday morning, I sat outside to catch some foggy sunshine and watch volunteers from this shelter introduce adorable dogs to nearby customers from the adjoining lot.  From little runts to old, graying dogs, they had a wonderful selection of precious pups to choose from -- and knowledgeable volunteers to talk about the needs of each animal.  Check out SCCAS's Pet of the Week, including the fun-loving Gizmo pictured below:

Gizmo from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter

Pickleberry Pie, Inc.: One of the best-named charities based in Santa Cruz has to be Pickleberry Pie!  This organization creates music-oriented entertainment and education projects for children in need.  Pickleberry has put on thousands of concerts at children's hospitals, hospices, and special education schools, featuring musicians, magicians, storytellers, puppeteers, and more.  The leaders work with hospitals to customize the experience for all children, and they count on volunteers and donations to help expand their work.

Photo Credit: Pickleberry Pie

Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz County: Perhaps my favorite charity in every city is the local food bank.  Food banks not only provide food and needed items to locals in need, but volunteering at your local bank is a fun and rewarding experience!  Second Harvest was founded in 1972 as the first food bank in California, and is now the second oldest in the nation.  They distribute food, but also work to end hunger by using education and advocacy.  This organization distributes more than 8.3 million pounds of food each year, working with more than 200 agencies and programs as well as 3,000+ volunteers.

Photo Credit: Second Harvest Food Bank

These are just three of the many, many fantastic charitable organizations in Santa Cruz.  What are some of your favorite charities in your hometown?

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