The holidays inspire many Bay Area residents to give back to their communities, either by volunteering their time or giving donations to charitable organizations. There’s no shortage of local charities in need, so if you’re looking for a nudge in the right direction, here are a few suggestions on how you can make a positive impact on your community this year:
Make a home visit: One way to give back is to bring the holidays to those who have trouble leaving their homes. Meals on Wheels is looking for volunteer drivers to take prepared dinners and gift bags to homebound seniors this holiday season. Volunteers can sign up for shifts lasting 2-3 hours, which gives you plenty of time to share the holiday spirit and spend some time with your own family as well. Another option is to sign up for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day home visit through Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly, an organization dedicated to reducing loneliness and isolation among seniors. Volunteers arrive at a senior’s home with a gift, then spend some time enjoying the company of a new friend.
Donate practical items to help local families get through the winter season: Another option for charitable giving is to purchase much-needed items like toiletries or winter coats for local organizations who support families in need. Compass Family Services and St. Anthony’s Foundation Free Clothing Program are two worthy organizations that accept winter coats, children’s clothes, and more for distribution to Bay Area residents in need.
Give online: Another avenue to consider is making a monetary donation to each of the organizations mentioned above. Many of them have a donor form on their website, where you can make an electronic donation using your credit card or PayPal account.
Support a toy drive when you visit SF Police Credit Union: SFPCU is pleased to host toy collection barrels for the SF Police Activities’ League, Operation DREAM, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, San Francisco Firefighters, and the Oakland Police Officers’ Association. The barrels will be distributed among our five branches depending on location to ensure that each organization can pass the toys on to kids within their communities. Bring a new, unwrapped toy (no guns, please) when you visit one of our branches and help make a local child’s holiday a little brighter. Check our website or social media for collection dates and barrel locations.
It’s admirable to be generous with your time and resources during the holiday season, but don’t forget that there are many organizations doing important work in our communities that need your support year round! The programs above are just a fraction of the local programs that could use your help. If none of the opportunities above are quite what you’re looking for, Volunteer Match is an excellent online resource for you to peruse. Volunteer Match has a calendar of upcoming charity events as well as a comprehensive search so you can find a cause you’re passionate about.