Lending a Hand
Thank you for your recent feature on volunteerism (Nonprofit Guide, Sept. 29). The story neglected to mention some important news, however. Sonoma County ranks first in the state for volunteerism! With 39 percent of residents contributing an estimated $414.8 million worth of services each year, volunteerism has been increasing at the fastest rate in six years, despite the economy. Since we opened our doors nearly 40 years ago, we have seen a steady increase in the number of people sharing their time and talents by giving back to those in our community who are less fortunate.
People are rolling up their sleeves and working together to create solutions to our toughest problems, from homelessness and hunger to the dropout crisis.
Volunteering does more than help build strong communities; it also benefits those who volunteer. Studies show that adults who volunteer experience health benefits when it comes to longevity, mobility and mental health. Volunteering can lower depression, reduce stress and the risk of disease.
And it's so easy to get involved. The Volunteer Center is the leading agency that matches prospective volunteers with local nonprofit agencies. Visit www.volunteernow.org to learn more. We thank all the volunteers who give so much to so many in our county.
Executive Director, Volunteer Center of Sonoma County
I am writing to say that I am horrified that there is a bill going through Congress muscling and censoring our internet and other forms of media, not to mention access to our email accounts, so as to protect us from terrorists. This makes us one step away from a dictatorship. And if the word doesn't get out that this is happening, the mass population may never know the truth or even have access to it after it passes.
Voice for the Voiceless
I read that last Saturday marked the 28th annual worldwide observance of World Farm Animals Day, dedicated to exposing and mourning the suffering and death of 58 billion land animals in the world's factory farms and slaughterhouses.
We're certainly much more aware of the devastating impacts of animal agriculture than we were 28 years ago. Several well-publicized studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic killer diseases.
A 2007 United Nations report blames meat production for 18 percent of greenhouse gases, and the animal waste "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico was found to be larger than that from the BP oil spill. Undercover investigations show male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, their female counterparts crammed for life in tiny wire-mesh cages, pigs clobbered by metal pipes and killed by hanging, and assorted farm animals skinned and dismembered at the slaughterhouse while still conscious.
Some of us saw the handwriting on the wall early on and made the shift to a plant-based diet. I hope it won't take another 28 years for the rest of us to get the message.
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