http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/04/18/diablo-views-a-neighborly-kind-of-brunch


Danville Express

Column - April 18, 2008

Diablo Views: A neighborly kind of brunch

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Anyone hungry for pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and a chance to meet the neighbors? Alamo Women's Club sponsors a Family Brunch the third Sunday of each month, partnering with nonprofit groups in the community, and the next one will be Sunday, April 20.

I'd heard about these brunches and when I was at the club's rummage sale last Friday I finally met organizer Nancy Combs and had the chance to talk to her about them. She said they are a great success and a lot of fun. And lucrative for the good causes - the last one made almost $1,000. Alamo Women's Club splits the profits with the group, 50-50, as well as the efforts.

"We provide the venue and the shopping list, they do the cooking," said Nancy.

She has it down to a science and knows exactly what is needed to cook a brunch for 100, including a timetable to prepare the food. She also noted that the kitchen has been renovated to use for public events, a very important fact.

The club supplies the tables, chairs and tablecloths. Then the community groups are in charge of cooking and decorations. They also provide information about their activities. Combs said last month the co-sponsor was Tassajara 4-H and its members displayed their animals in the parking lot. It got pretty noisy, she told me with a laugh.

Alamo Women's Club and the community group also share the cost of the food. The menu includes pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee, tea, hot cocoa and orange juice, served buffet style. Some groups have also served other things, including berries and quiches, Nancy said. They charge $8 for adults and $5 for children.

So far the club also has partnered with the San Ramon Valley YMCA, Job's Daughters and the Alamo Merchant and Professional Association. This Sunday it will be the Monte Vista Keynoters raising money for the instrumental music programs at the high school.

Nancy said she and her husband (and real estate partner) Joe help out every month as do Marcelle and Joe Roice, and club president Lauren Hash and her husband Jamie. Club member Pat Burke brought three generations of her family one time, including her son who was visiting from Italy.

"The object of the brunches is twofold," said Combs. "One, it is community spirit for Alamo; two, it's a chance for the organization to dip into a different pond, so to speak."

Or a different stack of pancakes?

The Alamo Women's Club - and its clubhouse at 1401 Danville Blvd. - holds a special place in my heart. Soon after we moved here 25 years ago from San Jose, we went to the clubhouse for an art auction fundraiser for Alamo Elementary School. We met lots of nice people and saw my son's fifth-grade teacher, Sally Schultz, in a whole new, social light, laughing and having fun along with her husband. We knew we'd moved to a great community! We even bought two pieces of art - one a modern lithograph called "In the Beginning," which still hangs in our family room.

I also went to the club to hear a speaker one morning, Marianne Alireza, author of "At the Drop of a Veil," who told about her years living in Saudi Arabia in the late 1940s and 1950s and finally leaving and abducting her children from a school in Switzerland. What a wonderful club, I thought, that offers such interesting speakers to the public.

Then my life got busier, especially when my youngest started kindergarten and I went back to work. I rarely entered the clubhouse, although passing by it always made me smile, whether I was driving on Danville Boulevard or walking the Iron Horse Trail. And now, more than 20 years later, I work for the Danville Weekly, and since we cover many activities that take place there, I often find myself inside the clubhouse.

Next I'll have to check out one of those Family Brunches. The hours are 8:30-11:30 a.m. It would be the neighborly thing to do.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.

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