What Are You Thankful For?

With the holiday season in full swing and charity drives taking place to benefit the less fortunate, it's a good time to reflect on our own blessings.


Given the time of year we all become more aware of things that are precious to us. Precious people, precious time, precious health, precious memories and precious institutions and traditions are all in our minds' forefront.

As we get older the value of these things becomes greater and more meaningful. We're reminded of this value when things go wrong. Given some tragic, and nearly so, events in our town in the last year, I want to shed some light on some things that have been going right. These things haven't gone right because of luck or wishing upon a star, but by the goodness and passion that we, Los Gatans, are raised with. We are a special breed of caring and community minded individuals with a sincere desire to make this place and the entire world better for us being in it.

I am so proud at the eve of the first anniversary of A group of 30 women came together to start the California chapter of the organization I co-founded in Scottsdale, AZ 10 years ago. We host a once-a-month charity lunch at different restaurants for different small local women's or children's charities. The model is that two, or more women pick a month, pick a restaurant and pick a charity to benefit. The cost is $55 per person, $25 going to charity, $25 going to the restaurant and $5 going to cover fees and administrative costs.

It is simple win-win model as the charity gets great exposure and a shot in the arm in terms of needed funds.  The restaurant gets fantastic exposure from local women who we all know talk and dictate where we all generally socialize and dine. The women get to hear about needed charities in the area while lunching with their girlfriends.

Last month California Cafe, along with organizers Leslie Hatch, Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, Kim Russell Walker and Trish Weinstein, hosted a beautiful luncheon benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. Through that lunch they collectively raised enough money to feed more than 180 families turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

On Tuesday, I played hookie from work to spend a little quality time with my mom visiting Michelle Robson's beautiful home on Karl Avenue where she staged her annual event befitting The Princess Project. I think everyone in town was out to support this wonderful cause that hosted vendors who were there selling their treasures to raise money for the charity in the magnificent homes that dot Karl Avenue in Monte Sereno. What a marvelous event and effort from our local vendors and community.

In addition to the second The Doves' holiday girlfriend luncheon at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Palacio, 115 N Santa Cruz Ave., Cheryl Bailey is hosting an event 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at her home, 14601 Wild Oak Way, in Saratoga, to raise even more money for those in need. Bailey's leadership has turned an idea into an organization that raised more than $200,000 alone this year for local charities and Palacio's owner Dean Devincenzi was the first restaurateur to volunteer his restaurant for our group one year ago.

After searching the world for a place that would equal my childhood experience in Los Gatos, I finally gave up a few years ago. I was born in this town, I have traveled and lived in many other places since, and I continue to be honored to call this place my home.

Why? Because of the people. And THAT is what makes life worth living and to be thankful for.

Sheila Sanchez December 05, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Thanks for this great post, Jennifer. You and Las Palomas are such good examples of giving and being of service, which is what the holiday season is about. Appreciate the question you're asking as we often take for granted those things that are the most important in our lives ... I'm thankful for my husband, my best friend and biggest fan! My three beautiful, healthy children, my Creator who blesses me unconditionally, my job at Patch, which helps send my daughters to college and pay our bills and my health and strength. I'm also thankful for the Town of Los Gatos, its residents and all those who have supported me in this amazing adventure. Without them, this site wouldn't have been possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dyan Chan December 09, 2012 at 07:45 AM
It is easy to get overwhelmed with the barrage of requests we all get during the holidays. I appreciate how Las Palomas/The Doves balances philanthropy with socializing. It is truly a painless way to contribute to the community.
Tamara Archer December 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The list of gratitude and thankfulness can go on for awhile but the short list is huge appreciation and thankfulness for my health and the connectedness and love of my immediate and family and my great friends. Makes life rich, wonderful, and fulfilling. Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for all you're doing to make life better for more!


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