If you believe in the pursuit of peace, get involved with Interfaith CommUNITY

By Robert Airoldi

Congrats to Cinda Meister, businesswoman extraordinaire. Her store BookSmart, co-owned with her husband, Brad Jones, was one of 500 American booksellers who received $500 as part of author James Patterson’s Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program.

The winners were chosen from a pool of more than 2,500 nominations, with applications based on one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” Meister said she is honored to receive the holiday bonus from the “mega author.”

“It is validating to be recognized for doing what I’m passionate about,” she said. “Matching someone with the perfect book is one of my very favorite things. Thank you so much to the person or people that nominated me. I love the holiday season and this makes it even a little sweeter.”

In a statement, Patterson said: “I’ve said this many times before, but I can’t say it enough: booksellers save lives. Children’s booksellers especially – they guide children to books they’ll genuinely enjoy and in turn create a new generation of readers. I’m happy to be able to acknowledge them and the important work they do in any way that I can this holiday season.”

BookSmart is located in the Vineyard Town Center.

During the season of promoting peace, I want to put a holiday spotlight on a special group in the South Valley that is committed to encouraging peaceful interactions in support of diversity, inclusion and coming together in the spirit of a common good.

The Interfaith CommUNITY of South County is a vibrant and active faith-based group of people. The interfaith group is committed to creating compassionate communities through social, service and educational programs. The ICSC is open to all faiths and denominations.

The group organizes community social events to support participating faith communities and promote inclusiveness. Members meet monthly at various representative houses of worship. The meetings have both a business and social component. Participants are invited to join in events that  highlight social as well as educational opportunities.

These events have included participation in meditation walks, interfaith dinners, International Peace Day picnic, Christmas holiday concerts and Ramadan celebrations. Together with the Clergy Alliance of South County, the ICSC also hosts annual Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day Services followed by dessert  socials in their efforts to realize their mission to create compassionate communities.

The ICSC promotes and supports organizations that provide help to people in need regardless of background like the Morgan Hill Safe Car Park Project providing safe parking, showers, laundry facilities as well as social services. The ICSC gathered to present a statement of support and comfort to the community at the Monday Vigil following the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

Other service projects include active support  to community organizations which promote help for the homeless, back to school projects, holiday toy drives, and food pantry support.

If you believe in the pursuit of peace, I encourage you to get involved. Learn more by emailing [email protected]

Santa Claus paid a special holiday visit to the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Morgan Hill the evening of Dec. 12. The Jolly Old Elf, played by Morgan Hill Life publisher Marty Cheek, enjoyed the Christmas-time festivities with the real estate agents and their families and guests. There were many photos taken with Mr. Claus in front of a green screen that provided various holiday-themed backgrounds.

“This was the first time I played Santa — it was magical to see the wonder and awe in the youngsters’ eyes when they saw the bearded man from the North Pole,” Cheek said.

“The children were all very nice. Not a naughty girl or boy in the crowd.”

“Children worked on holiday crafts, drank hot chocolate and, of course, asked Santa to remember them on Christmas Night,” said manager John Agresta. “It really was a heartwarming time for all.”

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life. Send ideas for stories and Around Town items to [email protected]

Robert Airoldi