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Helping Hands

As fate's harsh sun sets on the greed-is-good crowd, National Volunteer Week kicks off a new and even presidentially promoted era of selfless giving. Starting Sunday, April 19, and continuing through Saturday, April 26, this year's event, themed "Celebrating People in Action," highlights a dizzying array of North Bay volunteer offerings. But judging from some of the events, a good deal of this volunteer work demands suffering some extreme pleasures.

For example, Katie Meehan-Rubin, program manager at the Volunteer Center of Napa Valley tells us that Diageo Chateau and Estates will host a weeklong salute to Napa County volunteers. During the entire course of National Volunteer Week anyone currently contributing their time to a Napa County nonprofit will receive a free tasting for two, a 50 percent retail wine discount and 20 percent off all non-wine purchases at Diageo-owned wineries Acacia, Beauleiu, Provenance and Sterling vineyards. Whichever nonprofit convinces the highest number of its volunteers to drop in for a tipple earns their organization $1,000.

Across the Mayacamas divide, the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County and Friedman's Home Improvement jointly sponsor Hands Across the County, a volunteer workday on Saturday, April 25, from 9am to noon. Volunteers choose from 13 assorted nonprofits to aid. Chores range from spring housecleaning to gardening, landscaping, creek cleanup and food packaging at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Hospitality positions are available for those with the gift of gab. Site hosts greet volunteers, direct them to projects and hand out water, snacks and T-shirts. Pet lovers can opt to help at the Petaluma Animal Shelter.

Marin County residents participating in National Volunteer Week get to choose from 11 volunteer opportunities offered through the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin. Tasks include ranch beautification, brush clearing, clerical, donation help and assisting Great Chefs of Marin.

In addition to National Volunteer Week, all three organizations encourage everyone to participate in ongoing year-round volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Center of Napa Valley, 707.252.6222.

Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. Contact Maureen Cecil at 707.573.3399, ext. 125, or

Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin, contact Katie Nelson at 415.479.5710, ext. 341, or for more information.


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