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Around East County: Elderly Wish group’s virtual gala Feb. 27 this year

For two decades, volunteers with An Elderly Wish Foundation have hosted their annual Heart to Heart Gala in Antioch to help raise funds to grant life’s wishes to Contra Costa County seniors with serious or chronic illnesses. The group is still working hard to keep the wishes coming during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Things need to be a little different this year,” said the foundation’s executive director, Mary Chapman.

The plans for a modified Heart to Heart Gala, which Chapman said they call their “Heart to Heart Gala to Go,” started a few months ago. The group is still keeping with the original plans to provide a special dinner for ticket holders, only now the food will be to go. One of the organization’s many volunteers, “Chef” Tom Hartrick, will cook full-course meals including barbecue beef tri-tip, pulled pork and chicken.

Dinner for two is just $50 this year to adjust for the savings in not renting a venue. Guest can pick up dinner anytime between 3 and 5 p.m. on the date of the gala, Feb. 27, and tickets need to be purchased in advance by Feb. 23. Chapman said that the silent auction usually hosted at the event would be hosted online this year.

“Prizes for the auction will include many themed baskets like “Elvis Forever;” a Fireside Basket with fire logs, a blanket and firewood holder; and a Warriors quilt in a duffel bag,” she said. “The Live Auction also has a one-week timeshare at The Ridge in Sedona, Arizona, an overnight at Skylark Resort at Clear Lake, and a two-night midweek stay in Napa and more.”

Chapman said buying dinner tickets isn’t necessary to participate in the auction. Information on tickets and the auction can be found on the organization’s website at Chapman said that sometimes wishes could be the smallest thing when talking about the foundation’s work for seniors.

“The idea is to do something that makes the person happy while they’re going through a serious or chronic illness.”

She also explained that some of the wishes they fulfill aren’t lifelong dreams, but sometimes just something they miss. To submit a wish, the organization asks for a paragraph explaining the wish, a completed request form located on their website, and a physician or medical care provider physician statement form also found on the website. Completed forms can be sent to An Elderly Wish Foundation, P.O. Box 4365, Antioch, CA 94531-4365.

Oakley added to trail: The city of Oakley has announced that the city is now part of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), which stretches from coast to coast. The ADT consists of more than 6,800 miles of a continuous multiuse trail from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware to Point Reyes National Seashore here in the Bay Area’s Marin County.

The Oakley portion of the trail runs nearly two-and-a-half miles, and the recently installed trail markers are along Bridgehead and Neroly roads from the Antioch Bridge to the Delta de Anza Trail near Laurel Road. Other areas in Contra Costa County include where the trail enters via the Antioch Bridge and passes into Alameda County at Inspiration Point in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley.

As the ADT reaches across America, it connects communities as the first coast-to-coast, nonmotorized trail. It passes through metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Cincinnati, traces numerous pioneer trails, leads to 14 national parks and 16 national forests and more than 10,000 sites of historical, cultural and natural significance. The ADT Society reminds hikers that all COVID-19 restrictions apply throughout the trail. For more information on sites to see in California, go to

Roni Gehlke can be reached at

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