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Ways to Give Back This Week: Plant Trees in SoMA, Spruce up the Conservatory of Flowers, Pack Art Boxes for Kids

Although we write a lot about indulging ourselves in food, drinks and sweets, sometimes it feels even better to do stuff that's good for others. Here are a few ways you can lend a hand in the next couple of weeks to people & places that really need it.

Saturday, August 21

Friends of the Urban Forest, the organization that has showered the city with countless trees and saplings, is planting 37 new trees in SoMA this weekend, from 4th to 11th Streets and Mission to Brannan Streets. It will be a great reason to get your kids outside, or just sweat it on your own to help beautify the mostly-concrete SoMA. It begins at 9 am, and ends with a potluck lunch provided by businesses in the area. Email Heidi at heidi@fuf.net if you'd like to join! Also, visit their website to help organize a planting. 

A couple of volunteer groups, including Hands On Bay Area and One Brick, are getting together with the Oakland Zoo to clean up Arroyo Viejo Creek. Starting at 8:30 am until the early afternoon, come out and help with getting rid of non-native plants, planting native species, pulling garbage out of the creek and more. Bring sunscreen and shoes you don't mind getting dirty, because this clean-up is happening rain or shine. Additional info can found here.

Thursday, August 26th

Art in Action was founded in 1982, when Proposition 13 was damaging art programs in public schools. Today, Art in Action has spread to about 900 K-8 classrooms around the state, and teaches kids art appreciation, techniques and art history. Each Thursday at their Menlo Park headquarters, they recruit volunteers to help pack ARTboxes, which contain a galaxy of art supplies for kids to experiment with in class. Next Thursday from 6-8 pm, gather some friends after work to help pack these boxes to give these kids an opportunity to explore art. Contact Art in Action to help at volunteer@artinaction.org.

Saturday, August 28th

SF Natural Areas is organizing a community habitat restoration at and around the Randall Museum in Corona Heights from 10 am-12 pm on Saturday. Kids are encouraged to come, although little ones under 12 need to be supervised and have their own gear ready. Otherwise, gear, tools, water and snacks will be provided. These habitat restorations occur at the end of every month, so if you can't make this one, mark your calendar for next one. RSVP on the SF Natural Areas website.

The Conservatory of Flowers is one of the most beautiful spots in Golden Gate Park, and happens to be the oldest conservatory in the western hemisphere. SF Parks and Recreation is recruiting volunteers to help spruce up the Conservatory of Flowers on Saturday, August 28th at 9 am by landscaping the grounds around the Conservatory and cleaning up the inside of the greenhouses. Bring long pants, heavy shoes, and come rain or shine. RSVP here. You must be 18 years or older to help!

If you love kitties and have an ounce of free time every week, the Homeless Cat Network needs you. There are thousands of homeless and feral cats in San Francisco and beyond, and all they need is a little extra attention from humans every once in a while. You can sign up to foster or socialize cats, humanely capturing them for spaying and neutering, set up feral cat feeders, drive them to and from doctor's appointments and more. Email them at volunteer@homelesscatnetwork.com if you can help, or click here if you're looking for a kitty for your home!

Photo via Hysterical Bertha on Flickr.com