Archive of Chrisie Wendin

Peninsula-born Chrisie Wendin discovered Menlo Park some 20 years ago through a fortuitous house-sitting gig on Oak Grove. Once married, she settled down to raise her family in the Willows. Chrisie is an award-winning editor who’s been covering business and technology for the last two decades, having “been there” during the heady days of many now-defunct magazines. Currently working at a professional services firm on a custom business publication, Chrisie sees contributing to InMenlo as pure fun.

Chrisie has written 63 article(s) for InMenlo.

Willows neighborhood residents are inviting the rest of Menlo Park and surrounding communities to join them in collecting toys and gift cards for deserving students in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. They are working in partnership with the Ravenswood School District and Ravenswood Education Foundation where 44% of Ravenswood students meet the District’s definition of homeless/housing insecure.

Between now and December 7, we need to collect more than 1,000 toys and gift cards. For those who want to stretch their donations, any funds collected will be used to purchase toys from local favorite Cheeky Monkey Toys, who generously has offered to discount our direct purchases. If you prefer to pick them out yourselves — always fun with kids — please consider doing so from this amazing local business!

We’re also recruiting volunteers to help with setup and distribution, which will be on Sunday, December 8, at the District Office. (For those who have helped in past years, the format will be a bit different.)

Here are five ways you can get involved:

1. Purchase and drop off unwrapped toys to 1231 Woodland Ave, Menlo Park. Please leave on porch and in a plastic bag if raining.

2. Donate funds that can be used by our team to purchase toys from Cheeky Monkey, as well as Target gift cards in denominations of $25 each. PayPal: Direct link or [email protected] Venmo: RavenswoodToys; Checks: Chrisie Wendin, 405 Shirley Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

3. Buy gifts online and have sent directly to Dana Shields, 1231 Woodland Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

4. Host a mini-drive at your work, school, or neighborhood. Contact us to coordinate bulk donations.

5. Volunteer to transport toys on 12/6 and 12/7, setup on 12/7, and work event on 12/8. Email us at the address below and we’ll share a sign up sheet as details are confirmed.

Questions or ideas? Contact [email protected] or call/text Chrisie at 650-207-3835.

InMenlo file photos from 2018 toy drive


Ravenswood students and families celebrate early holiday thanks to huge community response

A few weeks ago we reported on the urgent need for donations to the annual holiday party held for students of the Ravenswood City School District and their families. The Willows neighborhood group spearheading the effort had less than a week to recruit volunteers and collect toys, gift cards, and blankets to serve the more […]

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Willows neighbors embark on ambitious toy drive for 2,500 kids in the Ravenswood school district

10 days. 400 blankets for homeless families. 2,500 gifts for low-income kids. And 100 volunteers to pull it all off. That’s what’s top of mind for Willows resident Dana Shields and her neighbors. The children in the Ravenswood City School District (RCSD) are close to her heart. For six years, Dana has volunteered in RCSD […]

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Toy drive for Ravenswood students extended — 1 more day to help!

Despite the towering pile of toys taking over Dana Shields’s living room, there’s still a need for hundreds more to ensure that every child in the Ravenswood City School District receives a gift at Saturday’s holiday party. As she has done for the past few years, Dana, a Design and STEAM teacher for the District […]

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Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation grants $3.6 million to school district

At Tuesday night’s board meeting of the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD), excited students from Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview presented a symbolic $3.6 million check to the school board, which passed a resolution to accept the grant. The grant from the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) will become a crucial part of […]

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Shop the MPAEF Chic Boutique at Allied Arts on Friday to support local schools

Tonight kicked off the MPAEF’s annual holiday boutique, this year appropriately dubbed the Chic Boutique with its smart and stylish gifts for all ages and budgets. Twenty local vendors including many InMenlo favorites are featured at the boutique, which continues until 2:30 pm tomorrow and is free and open to the community. The fourth annual […]

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MPAEF Chic Boutique at Allied Arts on Nov. 21 and 22 benefits local schools

The community is invited to attend the fourth annual MPAEF Chic Boutique, a local tradition at Allied Arts, which raises funds for the schools in the Menlo Park City School District. The Boutique will feature a wide array of local vendors, offering gifts and treasures that span Holiday Sparkle, Delicious Delicacies, Home, Decor & More, […]

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MPAEF grants record $3.6 million to Menlo Park City School District

This week’s MPCSD School Board meeting had a full agenda, but one of the highlights was surely the presentation of a giant check—both in size and dollar amount—from smiling students. The kids delivered the check to the School Board and Superintendent Maurice Ghysels on behalf of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF). The grant has […]

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Laurel students create outdoor art with polka dots, paint, and inspiration from local artist Dana Shields

Second-grade students in Ms. Cressey’s and Ms. Warren’s classes had plenty to smile about last week when they put the finishing touches on a large-scale outdoor project, which was the brainchild of class parent and artist Dana Shields. The spectacular project transformed a grove of on-campus trees into a vibrant, polka dot–covered work of art […]

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Schools earn $50,000 from MPAEF’s Participation Challenge grant with 83% of families contributing

After a month of tireless activity by parents, teachers, principals, and students, the good news came this morning: Menlo Park’s schools would receive a $50,000 challenge grant from an anonymous, local donor. The Participation Challenge sought to increase the number of families in the Menlo Park City School District that supported its four schools through […]

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Get a head start on shopping at the MPAEF Holiday Boutique at Allied Arts in Menlo Park

Two dozen local vendors, including Menlo Park’s Wrap It Up, which sells holiday aprons and other handcrafted wares, are taking part in the MPAEF Holiday Boutique, which continues until 2:30 pm today at Allied Arts and is free and open to the community. (Pictured above is Wrap It Up owner Kim Salkind and daughter Hannah […]

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