HELPING OUT: Christmas Cheer Center now open

PETALUMA CHRISTMAS CHEER: Volunteers prepare food and gift boxes for distribution to underserved families and residents.



Donation Center opened on November 27; applications for assistance now being accepted.

Established in 1957, Petaluma Christmas Cheer has now been helping families in need for six decades. The locally-based volunteer group collects food, toys, and cash, and distributes it to Petaluma families who apply for Christmas Cheer assistance. The new collection center has just opened, and applications for assistance are now being accepted.

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Christmas Cheer is now open at 1338 Ross St., near Lagunitas Brewery. Volunteers are there daily to accept donations of non-perishable food (no glass containers), unwrapped new children’s toys (no toy guns or weapons, please), and (of course) cash money. From applications submitted by families in need, the group selects recipients, and serves as many families as possible, depending on the amount of donations received.

WHO DOES IT HELP? From the donations collected, Petaluma Christmas Cheer provides a large food and gift box to underserved families in the greater Petaluma area. The organization also sponsors a drawing for new bicycles, which are provided by the Kiwanis Club and individual donors.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW? Volunteers are still welcome to help with collection and distribution. Just stop by the center any day it’s open. Applications are accepted in person at the center, 1338 Ross. St., near Lagunitas Brewery, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also mail a check to Petaluma Christmas Cheer (a 501C3 non-profit) at P.O. Box 4741, Petaluma 94955.

Another way to help support Petaluma Christmas Tree is by stopping in at the annual Zumba for Christmas Cheer event on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Plan to make a donation of at least $5, and get ready to dance Zumba style. Sonoma Mountain Charter School (1900 Rainer Circle), with local Zumba instructors leading a high-energy hour-long dance party for a good cause. Dancer/exercisers can also bring canned goods and new, unwrapped children’s toys.

A raffle for great prizes will be part of the fun.


Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. & Saturday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m.

Now under the direction of Linda Evans Manuilow, the Petaluma Chorale is a multi-voice chorus committed to community service. Last week, the leadership announced it would be donating all of the net proceeds of its annual holiday concert – this year titled ‘Music for a Winter’s Eve’ – to the Santa Rosa Junior College Fire Relief Fund.

WHAT’S HAPPENING? The concert, held at the Petaluma Valley Baptist Church, 580 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, will feature beautiful songs of the season.

WHO DOES IT HELP? The SRJC Fire Relief Fund assists the more than 1,000 students and faculty (many who attend or work at the Petaluma SRJC campus), who lost their homes during the fires. For additional information visit

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW? There are two performances, on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. Cost is $12 (general), $10 (students), and free for kids 12 and under.


This annual fundraiser, sponsored by The Fabulous Women of Sonoma County, is a free community display of trees decorated by artists and organizations from around Petaluma. During the display, the trees will be auctioned off with proceeds assisting local non-profits. Friday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hotel Petaluma, 205 Kentucky St. JOIN THE JINGLEBELL RUN

Raising funds for the Arthritis Foundation, the inaugural Petaluma Jingle Bell takes place at Shollenberger Park on Saturday, Dec. 2, with registration at 7 a.m. and the race beginning at 8 a.m. Dress in holiday attire, or as your favorite themed character, and make your way around the 5K course. Sign up with Pamela Cook at (415) 356-1246 or at


The Petaluma Argus-Courier, along with the Press Democrat and the Sonoma Index-Tribune, have partnered with the Redwood Credit Union and a number of business leaders to raise funds quickly, recognizing the immediate need of thousands of displaced families. Every dollar goes directly to those affected by the fires. Donate at