NEIGHBORS SAVE LIVES ... During the recent Bay Area cold snap, four homeless people in Santa Clara County died of hypothermia. But about 50 unhoused people in Palo Alto were ushered in local motels, thanks to the efforts of the Midtown Court Neighbors & Friends' Neighbors Helping Neighbors, said Caryll-Lynn Taylor, who founded the volunteer program. The group quickly assembled an appeal for money to pay for motel stays, especially for older people and young children who were at higher risk. Neighbors Helping Neighbors has a year-round motel program to help people with chronic illnesses and families with young children, but during the freezing weather it included outreach to all 60 people on its roster who live in their cars. The group provided a two-night stay for 50 people starting Dec. 7, using the donated funds, Taylor said. Some of the most vulnerable then were invited to stay in people's homes. The group also distributed survival items, including travel mugs with vehicle plug-ins, foot and hand warmers, and emergency and thermal blankets. Neighbors Helping Neighbors is also hosting a holiday food drive through Dec. 21, in collaboration with Midtown Realty. Canned and packaged items can be dropped off in the food barrel in the office lobby at 2775 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Donations for motel stays can be sent payable to Midtown Neighbors & Friends, P.O. Box 113, Palo Alto, CA 94302.
YEAR-ROUND SWIM PROGRAM UPDATE ... The City of Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Department is considering an all-year swim program session, potentially at Rinconada Pool. The swim session would be between 3:15 and 4 p.m. for children who are not in the Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics league, Lacee Kortsen, community services manager, said. The city has launched a survey to gauge community interest in the program. Residents can take part by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VNZ7373. The survey must be completed by Jan. 31, 2014. It must be filled out only once per person.
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