Inaugural Mega Family Expo drew hundreds to the Elks Lodge, No. 6

The area’s youngest fashionistas strutted their stuff at the largest family event of the year held at the Elks Lodge, No. 6 on Saturday, April 12. There were more than 100 local, regional, and national companies that provide products and services for all families. There were free events, demonstrations, exhibitors, a kids’ zone, a teen zone, a family fashion show, a talent showcase, face painting, a balloon twister, an art center, bounce house, a loom center, vendors, food, entertainment and more. It was the inaugural event and next year’s date is set for Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Tickets now on sale for the 40th Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour

One of Northern California’s most loved holiday home tours returns this December with five elegantly decorated homes in East Sacramento’s historic Fabulous Forties neighborhood.

For 40 years, this popular tour has grown to include nearly 5,000 patrons from throughout northern and central California. The homes showcase elaborate renovation while preserving historic detail, custom interior design and creative holiday decor that is sure to ignite the spirit of the season. Homes on the tour this year range in style from a stately Tudor to a beautifully remodeled plantation home that was at one time a duplex.

The home tour begins on 38th Street between M and Stockton Streets and winds its way through East Sacramento, ending on 47th Street. You may start at either end for an enjoyable, self-guided walking tour, which takes approximately two hours to complete.

When you complete the home tour, don’t miss the boutique and cafe located at Sacred Heart Parish School. Delicious food, lovely gifts and holiday decorations are available for purchase.

You may use your ticket for a one-time admittance to each house any time during the home tour weekend. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Children over the age of one must have a ticket. Advance tickets can be purchased online or at a number of fine local retailers until Dec. 5. The Holiday Home Tour is a fundraiser that benefits Sacred Heart Parish School, and is organized by the parents of Sacred Heart School. On home tour days, tickets can be purchased at Sacred Heart School, 856 39th St. Cash or checks are accepted. They may also be purchased on the tour at the house located on 45th Street.

Tickets are available at the following retailers and at the Sacred Heart School office 456-1576:

Collected Works, 4524 Freeport Blvd., 737-8188
Pottery World, 4419 Granite Dr, Rocklin, 624-8080
Hoshall’s Salon & Spa , 6608 Folsom-Auburn Blvd. No. 4 , 987-1995
Haus Home Decor and Specialty Gift, 5601 H St., 448-4100
East Sacramento Hardware, 4800 Folsom Blvd., 457-7558, accepts credit cards
Calico Corner, 5255 Sunrise Blvd., Fair Oaks, 962-0281
Beyond the Garden Gate, 1015 Olive Drive, Davis, 530-756-6698
Talini’s Garden Center & Nursery, 5601 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, 451-8150
Emigh Hardware, 3555 El Camino Ave., 482-1900
Emigh Casual Living, 3535 El Camino Ave., 486-9500
Pink House, 1462 33rd St., 737-7465
Pottery World, 1006 White Rock Rd, El Dorado Hills, 358-8788
Summer Porch, 3254 J St., 444-2900

For general questions, please email us at shhometour@gmail.com

If you go:
What: 40th Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour
When: Friday, Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Homes through out the Fabulous Forties neighborhood
Cost: Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Buy online at www.sacredhearthometour.com or at local shops. (See list above.)

Pocket Martial Arts School Featured August 10 at Sacramento Banana Festival

Students and faculty of iYa Taekwondo will perform an on-stage demonstration of martial arts skills Saturday, August 10, at the 4th Annual Sacramento Banana Festival. The performance will take place from 4:30- 5:00 pm. at the festival’s Teen Zone Stage. Some 8,000 visitors are expected to attend the Sacramento Banana Festival August 10 and 11 at William Land Park, 3800 W. Land Park Drive.

The Sacramento Banana Festival is a multicultural event celebrating cultures in Asia, Africa and the Americas that use the banana as a source of food, art and culture. Entertainers will perform on three age-appropriate stages during the two-day, drug and alcohol-free festival, which also will feature a youth talent show, youth art exhibits, banana-themed cooking competitions, and educational activities and displays focused on culture, health, wellness and the environment. Festival hours are10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 10; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 11. General admission tickets are $5 and may be purchased online at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6587963777 or at the gate. Exhibitor spaces and event sponsorships are available—visit http://bananafestival.sojoarts.net for more information.

iYa Taekwondo focuses on teaching taekwondo as more than just kicks and punches but as a way of life. It teaches taekwondo as the balance of the body, mind and spirit and blends it with life skills every child and adult needs. The school teaches form, Olympic Sparring, and self-defense techniques, along with character development and practical safety skills. iYa Taekwondo is located at 7385 Greenhaven Drive, Suite 1, in Sacramento. For information, call 916-382-9058 or e-mail iyatkd@yahoo.com.

Proceeds from the Banana Festival support the National Academic Youth Corps, a non-profit organization that does business as the Sojourner Truth Museum. In addition, 11 other non-profit, community-based organizations are invited to exhibit and fundraise at the festival for a nominal cost to the organizations. “The Sojourner Truth Museum launched the Banana Festival in 2010 to raise funds for programs to help area youth through the arts and celebrate the diverse cultural heritages of the Greater Sacramento region,” said festival organizer Shonna McDaniels. “The festival has grown larger each year with a positive, healthy message that brings families together from all different parts of the city. Our fourth annual festival will be bigger and more exciting than ever.”

The Banana Festival is produced by the Sojourner Truth Museum, which provides year-round arts, educational, and health and wellness programming serving more than 15,000 at-risk youth from all communities in the Greater Sacramento area. With the assistance of volunteer artists, the organization offers a summer art camp; workshops on mural arts and a mobile mural program; an after-school needlecrafts and mentoring program for adolescent girls; volunteer opportunities for senior citizens to encourage community involvement; a monthly Family Art Day; dance and movement classes; and HIV/AIDS awareness, drug and alcohol awareness, and gang prevention programs for youth.
Proceeds from ticket sales and exhibitor fees for the 2013 Banana Festival will also support a newly launched endeavor for the Sojourner Truth Museum. The museum recently received authorization from the Sacramento City Unified School District to move to a district-owned facility at 2118 Meadowview Road, a location it will share with an existing charter school.
For more information about the Banana Festival, visit http://bananafestival.sojoarts.net

California State Fair begins 17-day run July 12

Boy with Beef Cow

Boy with Beef Cow

For many decades, the California State Fair has been known as a well attended event that offers something for everyone. And this year’s edition of the fair is no different.
The buzz regarding the fair, which begins tomorrow, Friday, July 12, and continues until Sunday, July 28, was already in full swing last week when this publication visited with various residents and visitors of the community.
Arden area resident Michelle Jackson said that she is looking forward to the fair’s free concert series.

Roy and Deidra Bagley and their 12-year-old son, Jarek, are among the many families who have made coming to the State Fair an annual tradition. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Roy and Deidra Bagley and their 12-year-old son, Jarek, are among the many families who have made coming to the State Fair an annual tradition. Photo by Lance Armstrong

“I like seeing the concerts,” Jackson said. “In the past, I’ve seen Ciara, Nicki Minaj and some other (artists at the fair). The Four Tops (on July 15) and Kool and the Gang (on July 25) at this year’s fair will be awesome.”
Other artists that will be performing at the fair include Night Ranger (July 12), Weird Al Yankovic (July 14), the Journey tribute band, Evolution (July 19), Grand Funk Railroad (July 20), EnVogue (July 22), Air Supply (July 24) and the Queen tribute band, Queen Nation (July 26).
Jackson added that she also likes going to the fair with two particular groups of people.
“I like going with the (special needs) kids, and I do it for my job,” Jackson said. “I take care of the (special needs children) and the elderly. I usually go with them and have a special day with that. We take the whole group and we get as many volunteers as we can get and let (people in these groups) do the fishing, let them see the animals, let them do whatever they can do at the fair.”
Tahoe Park resident Carol Doring also mentioned music, as well as animal exhibits and food, among her favorite fair attractions.
“I like (those things), and the overall ambience of the fair,” Doring said. “I like the feeling of being with all the people, the happiness that’s there. You don’t see any fights or rowdiness during the day. I’ve been (to the fair) every year for about the last 16, 17 years. And there’s been some improvements, so for the most part it’s better.”
And in commenting about the fair’s food, Carol said that she is a big fan of the funnel cakes.
While observing a schedule of events for the fair, Carmichael resident Doug Drewes pointed to a photograph of the fair’s newest ride, Vertigo, and said, “What’s that (ride)? I just like rides and (having) fun with the kids. I bring my children.”
While en route to go shopping in the Arden area, Yuba City residents Roy and Deidra Bagley and their 12-year-old son, Jarek, noted that they were looking forward to attending the fair on July 16.
“We know we’re going to see the Third Day concert on the 16th,” said Deidra with an enthusiastic tone to her voice.
“One of my favorite things is the Ferris wheel,” Jarek said. “I also like the animals.”
And in response to her son’s comment, Deidra added, “The 16th is kids’ day and all rides are a buck.”
Continuing, Diedra said, “We wouldn’t mind seeing (country and pop singer) LeAnn Rimes (on June 23), but we’ll see.”
Despite his young age, Jarek is much braver than many adults when it comes to eating unusual fair food.
“I like the Rocky Mountain oysters, rattlesnake (meat), buffalo burgers,” Jarek said.
But even Jarek has his limits to such adventures, as during one visit to the fair, he refused to eat chitlins.
“Sometimes I get scared,” Jarek said.

Elk Grove residents Jim and Shiela Tonel give thumbs up to the California State Fair. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Elk Grove residents Jim and Shiela Tonel give thumbs up to the California State Fair. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Roy said that attending the fair has becoming a tradition for his family.
“We’ve come to the fair pretty much every year for the last 10 years,” he said. “I just enjoy being with the family and hanging out. I also like going through the shops and seeing the cool, new gadgets and stuff like that that are for sale there.”
Reina Ortiz, who resides in the city’s Foothill Farms area, also makes coming to the fair a family activity.
“I have three kids, so they love the rides and the food is one of the best (fair offerings),” Ortiz said. “Funnel cakes, those are our favorites. And those (brick of) fries, you know the huge ones? Those are good. We buy one for the three kids and myself and my husband. That’s enough calories for everybody, so not just me. I like to see the magicians. That’s my favorite.”
And like many fairgoers, Ortiz is interested in many of this year’s live music performers.
While pointing to different areas of a listing of the fair’s concerts, Ortiz said, “I’ll probably see this one, this one and this one. I like that (kind of) music. It’s like music that you can understand that has a good message. Nowadays, musicians, they just sing about anything, stupid things, ridiculous things. They’re always (using) obscene language. That’s not good for kids. All bands, they used to sing about love, about situations in your life. That’s what I like, and that’s why I like those kinds of groups.”
Elk Grove resident Jim Tonel, who will be attending this year’s fair with his family, said that he is drawn to the demolition derby (July 19 and 20) and the Sacramento Mile flat track motorcycle racing event (July 27).
Jim, who performed at last year’s fair with a local Filipino association, said that he also enjoys the fair’s rides and food, and noted that he is especially a fan of the corn dogs and barbecued turkey legs.
This year’s fair will include a variety of other attractions, including live horse racing (July 12, 13, 14, 17 and 21), the Brewers’ Festival (July 20), Friday and Saturday night fireworks shows, the Hall of Heroes interactive exhibit, and The Farm, an award-winning demonstration farm.
Fair hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Admission to the fair is $10/general, $8/seniors, 62 and older, $6/children 5 to 12, and free/ages 4 and younger.
For additional details about the 2013 State Fair, visit the Web site www.bigfun.org.

Janey Way Memories #99: Rocking and Rolling at the Teen Fair

In 1964, the managers of the old State Fair on Stockton Boulevard came up with a novel idea.  They decided to stage a fair within the Fair, just for teenagers, called the Teen Fair.  In the American entrepreneurial spirit, they even tacked on an extra fee for entering the Teen Fair. The exhibit was set up on a grass field right next to the carnival.  It became an instant success.
The Teen Fair featured booths with teen clothing, instruments, and even amplifiers and speakers for electric guitars as well as the usual fair food and beverages.  But, the main attraction was the music. Virtually all the local rock and roll bands played at one of the two stages the fair offered, bands with names like: the Fugitives, the Contenders, the New Breed, the Sveltes (an all-girl band) and the Intruders.
My friend Dan Blakolb played bass guitar for the Intruders and his involvement with the band makes for quite a story. In the spring of 1964, Dan sang in the Hiram Johnson High School choir. Remember when kids did those kinds of things? Anyway, one day at practice, the boy next to him asked if he would like to sing in a band. The band needed another singer.  Dan said yes, but then said, “I don’t play an instrument.” The boy said: “That’s OK. Come to my house on Thursday, I can show you how to play electric bass.”  The rest is history. Six weeks later, Dan played his first gig with the Intruders.  He would play with the same band on and off for the next 30 years.  His conversation in choir practice led to a career in music.
The Intruders appeared at the Teen Fair in the summers of 1964 and 1965 playing instrumental songs like Wipeout and Walk, Don’t Run, and singing vocals like the great Louie, Louie.  The Teen Fair venue opened at 10 a.m. daily and ran until 10 p.m.  Bands played virtually non-stop on two stages all day long.  Kids came from all over California to take in the Teen Fair.  I recall walking from Janey Way to the State Fair with Jim Ducray to see the Intruders play at the Teen Fair.  It had everything we wanted: good food, good music and girls.  We had a ball.
Sadly, like all good things, the Teen Fair gradually faded away. After 1966, the State Fair dropped the venue.
The Intruders (then called the Psy-kicks) kept playing though, and my friend Dan continued to play with them well into the 1990s.  He recalls touring the entire country playing various venues.
These days, Dan is semi-retired, playing about 40 dates a year with a group called the Jay Rolerz Band—at events such as high school reunions, weddings.  But, he has not forgotten his experience at old State Fair.  Now, the Teen Fair is just another rocking and rolling Janey Way memory.

McClatchy HS Seniors Look to Promote Literacy with Bound Together Libraries

(From left) Allison Yamamoto, Second Vice President for SCUSD Board of Education Darrel Woo, and JasMin Khoe at the grand opening of the Bound Together Library in the Pocket. Photo courtesy Kathi Windheim.

McClatchy High School seniors Allison Yamamoto and JasMin Khoe needed to come up with an idea for their senior project. As they both had a far-reaching love books and libraries, they decided to do a project to promote literacy.

Yamamoto is a member of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) for Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library, while Khoe was on the TAB of the Belle Cooledge Library and for the past year has sat on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Sacramento Public Library.

At first, they set their senior project as a book drive at McClatchy. Yamamoto says they conducted the drive by placing donation boxes in classrooms at the school and by working with academic groups that focused on community service. Through this effort, they were able to collect more than 600 books.

“My goal was around 500 (books) … I was really happy when I found out there was over 600 — it was a great surprise,” Khoe says.

Books for Rwanda
With the books collected, Yamamoto and Khoe decided to send 270 of the books to an orphanage in Rwanda through an organization called Streets Ahead Children’s Center Association (SACCA).

Khoe was introduced to SACCA when she traveled there last summer to help build a school. “I met a lot of kids in Rwanda and so I was really inspired to do something for them,” she explains. “I wanted to send them some materials over, and then I thought books — just to promote literacy would be really great.”

Khoe says SACCA works to take kids — ranging from infants to teens — off the streets in Rwanda to giving them food, clothing, and shelter, and helping them with education. “I was really inspired by that organization and what they do, so that’s where we sent the books,” she adds.

(From left) Jonathan Louie, Allison Yamamoto, and JasMin Khoe install the first Bound Together Library. Photo courtesy Kathi Windheim

(From left) Jonathan Louie, Allison Yamamoto, and JasMin Khoe install the first Bound Together Library. Photo courtesy Kathi Windheim

Bound Together
Now with still books to use from their book drive, Yamamoto says they began to look for an opportunity to help promote literacy in their own community. Then they heard about a recent movement where community members build small libraries, which look like oversized birdhouses, and set them up in a public area such as outside a home or in a park. The library is stocked with books, which anyone can take. Once you read it, you can return it. Or if you want to keep it, community members are urged to replace it with another book.

Yamamoto says they decided to built similar libraries on their own they could stock with the remainder of the books they had collected and called them Bound Together libraries. “JasMin and I are really close friends and the whole purpose of the project is to bring the community together, so we call them Bound Together libraries,” she explains.

The only problem was the girls now needed help in actually building the libraries. For that, they turned to Khoe family friend and East Sacramento resident Greg Stults, who in addition to being a past teacher at Crocker Riverside Elementary has experience in construction and woodworking.

Stults says he met with Yamamoto and Khoe to design the two libraries they would be building. Then after purchasing necessary hardware and using scrap wood and tools he had, he guided the girls in constructing their libraries. He says it took them about 10 hours to build both libraries.

“I wanted them to do as much of it as possible,” he says. “I wanted them to learn how to use the table saw, bandsaw, nailgun — I would demonstrate and make sure they were safe. They did the majority of the work themselves, so they learned a lot about measuring and how to use the tools.”

Yamamoto says she learned a lot from Stults when it came to how to use the different tools. “I learned a lot about the whole mechanics and how much thought you really have to put into constructing something,” she adds. “It was just really fascinating.”

“First Two of Many”
On May 2, Yamamoto and Khoe, along with community members, held the grand opening of their first Bound Together Library on Arabella Way in the Pocket area. The second library is expected to be placed in Curtis Park by the end of May.

Yamamoto hopes that more students and community members will take up the charge to build Bound Together libraries and place them in other areas of Sacramento. She says there are other students at McClatchy, as well as students at John F. Kennedy High School already talking about building their own libraries. “Hopefully this is just the first two of many,” she adds.

According to Kathi Windheim, president of the Pocket-Greenhaven Friends of the Library, the Friends has set aside $500 to reimburse students and have more built, and Eagle Scout Jonathan Louie plans to build one.

To help community members learn more about Bound Together libraries, Yamamoto and Khoe will be offering a workshop on Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library. “We’ll be there presenting what it is, how they can use it and how they can build their own,” she explains.

Pocket-Greenhaven library held 2nd annual spring after-hours celebration

On Saturday, April 27, the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library celebrated spring with its second annual spring after-hours celebration. The event was open only to the Friends of the Library. The event featured books, food, wine, art, music and fun.

The following are bios of the local artists and authors who showed their works at the celebration.

Mary Highstreet is a Californian fine artist. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and later attended to college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  She graduated in 2009 with a BFA in Art & Design.  Following her graduation, she spent eight months in Los Angeles studying concept design for film under visual development artists and animators currently working in the film industry. Mary has worked in a variety of media and is currently working in oils, acrylics, and digital painting. Her subject matter delves into the deciphering of the human mind, literature, dreams, spirituality, and capturing the sublime.  Her style is primarily illustrative and impressionistic.  Visit www.maryhighstreet.com.

Twenty-three years old, Michael Panush has distinguished himself as a promising young writer. He has published numerous short stories in a variety of e-zines including:  AuroraWolf, Demon Minds, Fantastic Horror, Dark Fire Fiction, Aphelion, Horrorbound, Fantasy Gazetteer, Demonic Tome, Tiny Globule, and Defenestration. He published his first novel, Clark Reeper Tales, for his high school senior project. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Michael currently serves as a City Year Corps Member at Rosa Parks Middle School. His books with Curiosity Quills include The Stein and Candle Detective Agency, Volume 1: American Nightmares, Volume 2: Cold Wars, and Volume 3: Red Reunion, all featuring a pair of occult detectives in the 1950s, Dinosaur Jazz– where The Great Gatsby meets Jurassic Park — a story about a Lost World battling against the forces of modernization; and El Mosaico, Volume 1: Scarred Souls and Volume 2: The Road to Hellfire, a Western about a bounty hunter whose body was assembled from the remains of dead Civil War soldiers and brought to life by mad science. Dinosaur Dust and El Mosaico, Volume 3: Hellfire are expected to be released soon. Read excerpts from his work at http://curiosityquills.com/published-authors/michael-panush/ and follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Michael_Panush

Eighteen-year-old Sierra Brown is a senior at CK McClatchy High School in the Humanities and International Studies Program. She has won numerous awards over the years for her photography, writing, and art. She enjoys traveling and has visited every state in the U.S. (except Hawaii) and has also traveled extensively throughout Europe and the British Isles. Last summer Sierra spent a month in Rwanda, Africa, as part of a cultural and community service program with other McClatchy High School students.Many of photographs were taken during her travels. Sierra will attend UC Berkeley this fall and plans to study integrated biology.

Carol Ng has played the piano since she was 4 years old and has taught piano for more than 28 years.  Her second instrument is the harp, which she has played for more than 19 years and has taught it for eight years. She has been employed as a clinical certified music practitioner at Mercy General Hospital since 2008 where she has brought therapeutic harp music to the patient’s bedside.  Carol is the resident harpist for the Lutheran Church of the Master and an active member of the choir and bell choir.  Carol received her music teaching diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in Hong Kong.  She composes and arranges music for both the harp and piano.  She is a freelance harpist and pianist for weddings and special events.  She has played before large audiences in Hong Kong and intimate settings in Sacramento. During her tenure as a piano and harp instructor, she has intimate musical one on one interaction with her students and has modified her teaching to accommodate their interest and learning abilities.  She has been an active member of the California Associate of Professional Music Teacher Association (CAPMT-MTNA), the Sacramento Capitol Valley Harp Circle, Harper’s Hall and was Vice President of the Association from 2004-2006. She can be reached at 391-2560.

In addition to her work in public relations and communications in Sacramento, Annette Kassis is a historian specializing in the Western United States, particularly the Greater Sacramento region and Northern California. She recently received the Sacramento County Historical Society’s Award of Excellence in Publications for her book, Weinstock’s: Sacramento’s Finest Department Store (The History Press, 2012), an examination of the history, people and innovations of the Sacramento landmark department store that began at 4th and K Streets in 1874. Kassis serves on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento History Foundation, and her background includes nearly 20 years as co-owner of Sacramento-based advertising and public relations firm K&H Marketing, LLC. Kassis studied journalism and history at Louisiana State University-Shreveport, and continued with graduate studies in United States history at California State University-Sacramento and the University of California-Santa Barbara. She and her husband Rich Kassis live in the Sacramento area.

Ravenous Café: A neighborhood gourmet restaurant

Ravenous Café owner Wade Sawaya fondly remembers the wonderful dishes his mother made for her family and the love and care she added to make each meal special.
Born in the Azores Islands in Portugal, Sawaya had his first experience in the restaurant business washing dishes at the air base where his father worked as a civilian.
“When I decided to join the Air Force years later, I still had a part-time job waiting tables,” Sawaya says. “I decided to keep on that path.”
Sawaya has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years and is a certified Sommelier. Sawaya worked for the world renowned Broadmoor Hotel and many other fine establishments before buying his own restaurant. He believes what is most important is making sure the diners have a good time. Sawaya is completely dedicated to his business and doesn’t mind working 24/7.
Ravenous chef, Roberto Lainez has been preparing appetizing dishes for close to seven years and Sawaya says he is incredible.
“I can pretty much do what I want here, making my own twist on the food,” Lainez said. “If someone comes into the restaurant and wants something a little different than what is on the menu, I try to remain open to their ideas.”
Lainez is from New York and started his career there. He said he has always enjoyed trying new restaurants to see what other chefs are making and still enjoys going to new places.
Sawaya moved to Sacramento from Boulder Colorado after he bought Ravenous in August 2011. Sawaya likes the fact that Sacramento is in the heart of good wine. He said the Pocket is a great neighborhood and the people are friendly.
“This is your restaurant,” Sawaya says. “It’s Pocket’s fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere and people don’t have to drive too far.”
A specialty offered by Ravenous is the endless mimosas for $10 when ordering an entrée for Sunday brunch. The signature dish at Ravenous is the risotto. There is a different risotto every day in addition to the fish of the day. Arctic Char and Barramundi are a couple of the chef’s favorites. There is a European influence in most of the dishes prepared. Ravenous changes their menu each season to provide the freshest ingredients in their food.
“I love it!” says Karen Waring, a Pocket resident for 22 years. “This place stands up to any restaurant downtown.”
Waring said it’s nice to have a restaurant so close that serves gourmet food. There’s a good wine selection and Waring said it’s also a nice place to just order appetizers and wine with friends.
Ravenous believes in supporting small businesses and buys everything locally. As part of their wine selection, they carry Scribner Bend wines, a local winery from Clarksburg, Bella Bru bakery breads, produce from Produce Express, which are all the local farms with an 80-mile radius and their meats from Preferred Meats out of Oakland.
A native of Sacramento, Skip Lee provides the art on the walls at the restaurant. The art adds warmth.  Sawaya wants people to feel cozy, like they are at home.
“I feel like I’m entertaining folks every night in my dining room,” Sawaya says. “Great music, great food and great wine.”
“Over the years I have learned the importance of beginning with the freshest ingredients, preparing them with care, and serving them with love so that people do not just have a good time at a restaurant, but they felt like they were treated like family.”
Sawaya highly recommend reservations.
Ravenous Café is located at Pocket Road and Greenhaven Drive.
The hours are as follows: Thursday through Sunday dinner 5-9 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 pm., Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday dinner (no lunch) 5 to 9 p.m. (Endless mimosas for $10 with purchase of entrée).
Ravenous is closed Mondays. The restaurant will serve a five-course prefix menu on New Year’s Eve for $75 per person. Reservations are required. Visit  http://www.ravenouscafe.com/ or call 399-9309 for details.

Sacramento Charities Offer Lots of Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Everyone can participate in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services' annual Turkey Drive! Photo courtesy Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Everyone can participate in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services' annual Turkey Drive! Photo courtesy Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

‘Tis the season for turkey, carolers, gingerbread men, friends and family – and giving back.
“For a lot of people part of their holiday tradition is the giving back and the instilling the spirit of service in their children and we love it,” says Nicole Elton, marketing and communications officer for Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada. “It’s such a wonderful jump-off point – we’ve had so many volunteers who have come back to us year after year.”
“It’s the most popular time of year when people want to volunteer,” adds Frank Kennedy, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Sacramento. “It’s the holiday season and people want to help people less fortunate than them.”
Whether you want to give of your time or money, there are lots of ways you can help out those in need this holiday season right here in your own community. Here’s a look at just a few!

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
You can start giving through the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Turkey Drive, to be held Friday, November 16, at 3333 Third Avenue (corner of 3rd Avenue and 33rd Street in Oak Park). According to Communications Director Kelly Siefkin, donations of fresh and frozen turkeys will be accepted from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., which are then distributed to those in need the following Monday.
“It’s so great – we have moms driving vans full of kids and after soccer practice they all go in and buy some turkeys, bring them down, and all the kids unload and drop off the turkeys,” Siefkin says. “That may be the easiest way a family can start their holiday giving.”
Then on Thanksgiving Day, families can get involved in the annual Run to Feed the Hungry. “That’s a really good community thing to do with your entire family – it’s truly become a holiday tradition for so many area families,” Siefkin says. Both participants and volunteers are needed for the race, however, Siefkin says the minimum age to volunteer at the Race is 18, and the minimum age to volunteer on Nov. 8 and 9 for race preparation is 16. Editor’s note: For more information on the Run to Feed the Hungry, see page 16.

Volunteers at last year's Family & Teen Volunteer program through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento get ready to decorate the Adopt-A-Family gift distribution center. Photo courtesy Volunteer Center of Sacramento.

Volunteers at last year's Family & Teen Volunteer program through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento get ready to decorate the Adopt-A-Family gift distribution center. Photo courtesy Volunteer Center of Sacramento.

And on the Teen Service Day on December 10, teens ages 12-17 can help sort and organize clothing donations for SFBFS’ Clothing Program. Siefkin says this is a great way for teens to spend time together, but also serve the community. “They really enjoy spending that time here and making an impact in our community,” she adds. Siefkin says volunteers ages 12-15 need to have a parent on-site during the event, and volunteers ages 16-17 can volunteer on their own with a parent’s signature.

For more information:
Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
Oak Park – Main Campus
3333 Third Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 456-1980
www.sacramentofoodbank.org

Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada
Part of Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada’s giving opportunities includes a number of drives community members can donate to. For example, from now until Nov. 18 they will hold a Turkey and Turkey Dinner Food Drive for the clients living in their programs, says Elton. That includes donations of fresh or frozen turkeys and ingredients needed for a holiday meal, such as stuffing and mashed potatoes.
Following, VOA will be holding both a Hats, Gloves, and Scarves Drive to provide warm clothing for those living in its shelters, as well as a Stocking Drive. “We’re asking people to purchase a stocking and stuff it full of a variety of things that would make life a lot easier and more pleasant for the men, women, children, and youth in our program, things like pens and pencils, lip balm, flashlights, batteries, and a gift card so people who have specific needs can go and get those needs fulfilled,” Elton explains.
VOA is also looking for families or groups to come and throw a holiday party for its various shelters. “It’s the time of year when people are used to going and doing the family holiday parties, so this is a fun opportunity where a family can plan and host an entire party,” Elton says. “We’d love for a family or group of families to come together, work with our volunteer coordinator, and plan just a fun holiday event.”
In addition to giving, there’s volunteer opportunities as well. Elton says in December VOA will hold Wrap-Up Parties where families can come and help wrap gifts and stuff stockings for the children, adults and youth living in their shelters.

There's lots of ways to give back this holiday season through  Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada. Photo courtesy  Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada.

There's lots of ways to give back this holiday season through Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada. Photo courtesy Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada.

For more information:
Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada
Point West Plaza
1900 Point West Way, Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 442-3691
www.voa-sac.org

Volunteer Center of Sacramento
The Volunteer Center of Sacramento (VCS) offers monthly Family & Teen Volunteering opportunities for kids ages 0-17. Kennedy says VCS developed this series after realizing it was difficult for youth to become involved in the community, since there can be liability issues or training involved. The monthly events are normally held on a Saturday for about three to four hours. “It’s basically a great way for people and families to show up and volunteer – there’s not a lot of prep work, not a lot of training that needs to go on,” he explains. “It allows everybody an opportunity to get involved in the community.”
On Saturday, Nov. 17, families and teens can volunteer at Harvest Sacramento, which Kennedy says is a program of Soil Born Farms that goes into parts of the community that have unharvested fruit trees or vegetable gardens. Once the food is harvested, it’s then distributed to families in need.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Family & Teen Volunteer opportunity will focus on VCS’ annual Adopt-A-Family program, which provides food and gifts for local, low-income families during the holiday season. On this day, Kennedy says volunteers will work on organizing and decorating the gift distribution center.
Kennedy says they are also looking for those that would like to adopt a family in need this year. “This year our goal is to get 500 families and 75 foster youth adopted, so we have a big chore ahead of us,” he says. Community members can visit www.adoptafamilysac.org for more information on the program and to select a family to adopt.
And for youth and families that want to volunteer all year round, they can search for volunteer opportunities just for youth 18 and under on VCS’ website, www.volunteersac.org. Additionally, Kennedy says on the site families can download the Youth Volunteer Directory, which lists nonprofits that accept youth, as well as a “how to” volunteer guide for parents and teachers.
For more information:
Volunteer Center of Sacramento
1300 Ethan Way, Ste. 600
Sacramento, CA 95825
916-567-3100
www.volunteersac.org
www.adoptafamilysac.org

Socks for Seniors
Socks for Seniors is an annual community service project where new socks are collected to be distributed to elderly in local area nursing homes around the holidays.
The program began Oct. 27 and runs thru Christmas. Community members can help by hosting a Sock Drive. Additionally, local area coordinators near Sacramento are needed to help with collecting socks this year.

For more information and to register, visit www.socksforseniors.com/register.html.

St. Francis High School holds record breaking food drive

Francis High School students pack up 131,216 food items for Foodlink and Elk Grove Food Bank / Photos courtesy of St. Francis High School

Sacramento Emergency Foodlink and the Elk Grove Food Bank got a big boost from the St. Francis High School student body, which collected 131,216 cans and packages of nonperishable food items, breaking last year’s food drive record by 30,000 items.

Each fall St. Francis High School’s Homecoming festivities involve numerous activities designed to build class spirit and unity, from pseudo-sports competitions to creating elaborate, theme-based decorations, skits, dances, songs and cheers. The annual Food Drive is part of the competition among the classes and serves as an amazing display of the power of young women to optimize their resources and serve their community.

St. Francis High School students in the gym, displaying a portion of the 131,216 good items collected for Foodlink and Elk Grove Food Bank / Photos courtesy of St. Francis High School

St. Francis High School students in the gym, displaying a portion of the 131,216 good items collected for Foodlink and Elk Grove Food Bank / Photos courtesy of St. Francis High School

Family connections in the food industry, grocery store requests and going door to door in their neighborhoods helped St. Francis students gather the extraordinary quantity of food, which included 1,008 ounces of baby formula, 17,328 cans of food from Raley’s, 9,952 cans of fruits and vegetables, and 77,000 boxes of Mac and Cheese.

The main beneficiary of the food drive, Sacramento Emergency Foodlink, serves over 150 local agencies and food closets throughout the Sacramento community. Thirty percent of the food collected will be donated directly to the Elk Grove Food Bank.

St. Francis High School students also raised money through recycling, bake sales and a portion of sales from Leatherby’s Family Creamery to raise $2,441 for Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc., an agency that provides a wide variety of social services to people and families in need throughout the 20 counties of the Diocese of Sacramento.