Bay Area Holiday Toy Drives Need Some Elves (Like You)

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Adobe Photoshop PDFThis is a 2013 list. See the 2014 list.

You can be a Santa’s helper and make the holidays brighter for Bay Area children by donating to a local toy drive in the coming weeks. If you’re already out shopping, consider picking up a new toy, or grabbing an extra gift card (much easier for donations to teens), to donate to one of the many drives in need of donations.

Below is our extensive list of local holiday toy drives, their drop-off locations, needs, and deadlines, organized by region.

Can’t drop off a donation? Click on the name of the organization to go to its website (if available); many are taking online donations, or will provide an address for checks.

Know of a toy drive we missed? Tell us in the comments. We’ll update the list with new information as it comes in.

UPDATE:  See the latest deadline info, plus a link to more Bay Area holiday donations drives here. Scroll down for our complete list.

All Over the Bay Area

CHiPs For Kids

What it is: Annual toy drive for kids in need conducted by the California Highway Patrol.

Needs: New, unwrapped toys; also accepting canned goods.

Deadline: Dec. 14

Drop-off Locations: Any Golden Gate Division CHP office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Read more…]

Turkeys and Cash In High Demand by Food Banks, Agencies Helping the Poor

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second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingThanksgiving is one week away and sadly local food banks and other agencies helping those in need are short of turkeys and money. Nonprofit officials are putting out the call to the public to donate generously as soon as possible.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday that the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks were short 800 turkeys, and The Alameda County Food Bank was still in need of 4,000 turkeys, hams and chickens. Also on Wednesday, Sacred Heart Community Services sent an email to supporters asking for 3,500 turkeys.

A “Turkey Tally” on the front page of the website for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties showed the agency only about half way to its goal of collecting 12,000 turkeys, as of late Wednesday afternoon.

[Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Playing Santa to Kids With Cancer Third Year in a Row

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Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsLong before there was a Batkid, there was The Leukemia Slayer, the alter ego of 12-year-old Jacob Goeders from Mountain View, who has been fighting the disease since December 2010. Besides using his super powers to give nasty cancer cells the one-two punch, the Slayer leads the way each holiday season to raise money to buy presents for other kids on the oncology ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.

“I wanted to make other kids feel good, and I wanted to do something,” Jacob told me during last year’s fundraiser he dubbed The Santa Slayer Project. “I felt good because I was helping other kids who were stuck in the hospital like I was.”

In 2010, Jacob nearly spent Christmas in the hospital undergoing treatment, and it was that memory one year later that spurred him to start the annual project. His family had started The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page earlier in 2011 (Jacob picked out the alter ego name for himself), and by the fall he had already had amassed about 2,000 followers. He asked them to each send in $1 so he could by presents, and amazingly he did raise about $2,000. [Read more…]

#GivingTuesday Asks Us to Open Wallets for More Than Shopping

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GT-Web-Banner250x250-redJust as “Black Friday” branded itself into the collective consciousness, #GivingTuesday is on a pace to do the same for single-day charitable giving. Already the event has doubled in size over last year, with more than 5,000 nonprofits, corporations, and community groups signed up as #GivingTuesday partners.

In just two weeks, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, millions of dollars are expected to flow into the coffers of nonprofits, mostly through online donations. Some of the Bay Area nonprofits participating this year include the Bill Wilson Center, Samaritan House, both the Habitat for Humanity San Francisco and East Bay/Silicon Valley chapters, the Oakland Youth Chorus, and Loaves and Fishes, among others. [Read more…]

Startup Solving In-Kind Donation Challenges for Nonprofits, Donors

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Roonga-in-kind-donations-nonprofits-project-weHOPE-East-Palo-Alto-Evelyn-HorngClothing and blanket drives are popular this time of year, but in-kind donations can pose a challenge, not only for donors who have to coordinate dropping off items, but also for nonprofits that sometimes wind up with supplies that don’t quite fit their needs.

Enter Silicon Valley startup Roonga. Company founders say they are committed to solving both sides of the challenge by offering a new way to run donation drives online.

“We’re trying to make in-kind donations cost effective, and help nonprofits get exactly what they need,” said Roonga co-founder Evelyn Horng.

Currently Roonga is working with Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto to make sure its new homeless shelter has all the blankets, sheets, towels, robes, and coats it needs for clients this winter, plus laundry detergent to keep it all clean. The nonprofit previously operated a warming shelter from fall to spring, but recently received the funds and approval to open year round. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November

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San Jose Veterans Day ParadeThe Halloween decorations are on the discount aisle, and the Christmas decorations are already up and blinking away at many retailers, so it must mean it’s November. Before we hurtle ourselves toward December holidays, let’s take a deep breath and focus on Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what’s good in our lives, and share that thankfulness with others by making a difference in our communities.

Every month I suggest five ways to help others and build a stronger community. I hope you will consider trying at least one of these suggestions in November. Follow the links in each item to find out more.

1. Support Our Veterans: Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11, and there are numerous events taking place around the Bay Area to honor and support our veterans. One unique way is through “Operation Laughter”, a comedy show on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the De Anza Hotel in downtown San Jose. The show features two comedians who call themselves “The Joint Chief of Laffs”, and includes cocktails, appetizers, and a raffle. Proceeds go to help the Walking Point Foundation, which helps Iraq and Afghanistan war vets through the expressive and performing arts. Also in San Jose on Sunday, Nov. 10, is the National Veterans Day Run, on the Guadalupe River Trail. Proceeds go to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which helps the spouses and children of soldiers killed or wounded in war. On the actual day itself is the 95th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown San Jose, starting at 11 a.m. San Francisco’s 94th annual Veterans Day Parade also starts at 11 a.m., at the intersection of Second and Market streets. [Read more…]