Join the heroes

Consider giving back through volunteerism this holiday season—or any season

Each Thanksgiving week, the CN&R publishes the popular Local Heroes Issue, this newspaper’s way of thanking some of the members of our community who go out of their way to better the lives of others.

And every year, with help from our readers, via nominations, we end up with an impressive group. Finding folks to feature would be a much more difficult endeavor if our community wasn’t so engaged in volunteerism. Indeed, Chico and the surrounding communities are home to many who are dedicated to giving back.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should sit back, content that others will continue carrying on with their good work. Organizations that rely on volunteers are nearly always in need of additional helping hands.

That’s why we’d like to encourage our readers to make an effort to volunteer in some capacity. Opportunities abound, and there are many ways to find them. Try, check out the organizations affiliated with the Chico-based North Valley Community Foundation (, or scour the listings in the volunteer section of Craigslist. Even if it’s for a single event or a single day, you can make a difference.

Here at the CN&R, we know this. For the past couple of years, our busy staff has banded together each winter to provide one evening’s dinner for the folks staying at the low-barrier Safe Space winter shelter operated by the Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT), whose efforts are heroic. About half a dozen of us prepare a hot dish, a single recipe. Others from our crew bring the rest of the meal: salad, rolls, refreshments, dessert. We meet at the facility and chat with and serve the folks spending the night there, as well as the people who organize and run that amazing program.

The seasonal, volunteer-run shelter opens on Dec. 10 and is currently seeking helpers, for meal donations, transportation and other tasks. To learn more, visit Another way to help: head to the Maltese Bar for Funksgiving III, a post-Thanksgiving benefit show on Friday, Nov. 24, featuring a DJ and live music from several bands, including Black Fong (see the event at