Season of giving

The holidays are coming, and there are many opportunities to give back

About a week before Halloween, CN&R Managing Editor Meredith J. Cooper and I ran some errands to pick up a few items for our annual Best of Chico bash, a celebration for the winners of that beloved contest.

Due to the occasion’s proximity to the holiday each year, we liven things up by making it a costume party. This time around, the theme was Mardi Gras. I ended up buying a mask and some beads from a couple of dollar stores and bedazzling myself by way of an old prom dress that was collecting dust in my closet—sequins were big in the Bay Area in the 1990s, so I got by on the cheap.

Like a true journalist, I wasn’t motivated to shop for the accessories until deadline pressure started setting in. What I noticed at the stores is that they had already cleared out the majority of the Halloween merchandise to make way for the other upcoming holidays, but mostly Christmas.

Indeed, as we put this issue to bed on the morning of Nov. 1, we’re heading into prime holiday season. It’s a hectic time of year for everyone, and we at the corner of Second and Flume streets are no exception. We’re planning out issues months in advance, while trying to stay on top of what’s happening in our community day by day.

Also at the forefront of my mind during this seasonal shift is the drop in temperature and the fact that there are many folks in Chico who don’t have a home of their own. Several organizations are working to help provide a warm and dry place for the homeless members of our community to rest their heads, but this week I want to give a shout out to the Chico Homeless Action Team, aka CHAT.

Among other projects, that all-volunteer group works with local churches to operate the Safe Space Winter Shelter. The organization has a couple of fundraising events planned this month for that cause, including a big bash at the Chico Women’s Club dubbed Funksgiving III, a show featuring live music and a DJ. For more info, go to or There, you’ll also find information about volunteering at the temporary shelter.

Also, as has become tradition, the CN&R is accepting donations for our annual toiletries drive. For those who aren’t familiar with that effort, each year this newspaper’s downtown office serves as a repository for supplies that are everyday items for most of us, but often are luxury products for folks who live on the streets. Picture travel-size soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, etc. Those are the kind of items we’re looking to take in, sort and distribute to local service providers, but we’ll accept any size, so long as it’s unused.

Last year, the lot was given to the Torres Community Shelter, which at the time was serving a record number of clients. Over the years, in discussions with the good folks at such organizations, I’ve gathered that, among the supplies we’ve delivered, the most wished-for items include: feminine hygiene products, oral care products (toothpaste, tooth brushes, mouthwash, floss) and new socks.

Our office at 353 E. Second St. is generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Thanks, in advance, for your donations.