SF Bay Area Holiday Toy Drives are Waiting for Your Donations

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Toys for Tots Poster, 1948

Make this holiday season even merrier by brightening the lives of Bay Area children with donations of toys, clothing, food, and other needed items. Dozens of nonprofits are waiting for people like you to drop by a new, unwrapped gift, or to make an online donation.

Below is an extensive list of San Francisco Bay Area holiday toy drives, their drop-off locations, needs, and deadlines, organized by area. Click on the links to visit organizations’ websites.

Can’t drop off a donation? Many are taking online donations, or will provide an address for checks.

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

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. 16

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

It’s Time to Donate Turkeys

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second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingBuying a turkey this weekend for your Thanksgiving table? Pick up one or two more frozen birds to donate to local charities, and while you’re at it, consider buying canned hams, canned soup and other nutritious nonperishable foods to help feed the more than 780,000 children and adults in the San Francisco Bay Area estimated to face hunger on a consistent basis.

Nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area are putting out the call for turkeys not only for Thanksgiving, but other holiday meals. On Friday, Nov. 21, officials from Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced they were only a little over halfway to their goal of collecting 13,000 turkeys.

Below is a list of agencies collecting turkey and other foods this holiday season. Did we miss one? Tell us in the comments section below.

Bay Area Food Banks

Find the food bank near you by visiting www.bayareahunger.org. The website represents seven food banks serving 11 Northern California counties. All the food banks are in need of frozen turkeys and other holiday meal staples.

Your donation could even win you a pair of tickets to see the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving Day if you donate frozen turkeys or chickens to Second Harvest by Monday, Nov. 24. 
[Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Plays Santa For Fourth Year

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Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsJacob Goeders, the Leukemia Slayer, may have conquered cancer and moved clear across the country this year, but he’s not about to let go of his beloved annual Santa Slayer Project he started four years ago to buy Christmas gifts for other kids fighting the disease.

Jacob, 13, announced to Facebook fans on Tuesday, Nov. 18, that he’s repeating the Santa Slayer Project, asking for only $1 from each of his more than 10,500 fans. The money will go to buy gifts for children at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) in Palo Alto, as well as on the oncology ward at the Duke University Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House, in Durham, North Carolina. Jacob’s family moved to the southern state from Mountain View earlier this year. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June

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Being a good neighbor is rewarding, but it does take some time and effort. Sometimes it’s spontaneous, like when you see someone who donut_grlneeds help carrying something, or someone who just needs a smile and kind word. But often it requires some planning, making space on the calendar, and digging into your pockets. Every month I give you five suggestions for community events, volunteer service events, and more. Put one of these on your June calendar, and then enjoy the rewards of helping others!

1. Share Some Fried Dough Goodness: Friday, June 6, is National Donut Day, originally started to commemorate the Salvation Army “Lassies,” young volunteer women who made and delivered fresh doughnuts to American soldiers in Europe during World War I and II. When the soldiers returned home they craved the sweet treats, and the rest of America was introduced to the doughnut. Krispy Kreme gives away a free doughnut to each customer (no purchase required), and many other doughnut shops are running their own specials. Make your friends and co-workers smile that day with a fresh, hot batch. Or make the day a little more meaningful than just calories by making a donation to the Salvation Army, to support the organization’s extensive community programs and disaster relief efforts. Entenmann’s, which makes 780 million doughnuts annually, is teaming up with the Salvation Army this year, by offering to donate $1 for every new “like” on its Facebook page during June, up to $30,000. [Read more…]

Silicon Valley Gives Raises $7.9 Million in 24 Hours

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photo-81The first Silicon Valley Gives appears to be a rousing success, bringing in $7.9 million for more than 650 local charities on a single day. More than 14,600 unique donors made 21,500 donations to more than 650 nonprofits in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito counties.

The fundraiser came together over several months, organized by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as a 100th anniversary celebration of community foundations. It was sponsored by Microsoft, the Knight Foundation, the Sobrato Foundation, Razoo, and dozens of other businesses and foundations. Razoo served as the online giving platform for the single-day giving event. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in May

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Silicon Valley GivesApril showers bring…weeds! I was greeted by a whole new crop of weeds at my community garden plot this week. My May will include heavy doses of weed pulling, digging, and finally planting vegetable and flower seedlings for a summer/fall harvest. In between weeding and digging sessions, I’ll also be taking part in some community-building activities.

What about you? What will you be doing to make your world a better place this month? I’ve got five suggestions for you right here.

1. Make Silicon Valley Giving History: Tuesday, May 6, marks the first Silicon Valley Gives, a single-day online fundraising event for several hundred nonprofits in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito counties. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is organizing the drive, in honor of the 100th anniversary of community foundations. The day is in part modeled after the wildly successful #GivingTuesday, which launched nationally the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2012 and grew exponentially in 2013. By concentrating efforts on raising money on a single day to a single fundraising platform, smaller nonprofits benefit from the wave of publicity generated by the event. Find your favorite valley charity on Razoo.com and give a donation on May 6. [Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Defeats Cancer, Will Keep Helping Other Kids

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The Leukemia Slayer has conquered cancer, or in his words, he, “kicked cancer’s butt!”

Jacob Goeders Slays Leukemia

Jacob Goeders letting his 10,000+ fans on Facebook know his bone marrow is free from cancer.

The 12-year-old Slayer, a.k.a. Mountain View resident Jacob Goeders let his more than 10,000 Facebook fans know recently that he is cancer-free after a battle lasting 3 years and 3 months.

In his usual friendly and non-capitalized style, Jacob wrote on The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page, “hello it is the leukemia slayer well it is official i have slayed leukemia!!!!!!! i was so happy to hear my dr come in and say who in this room has clear bone marrow? that would be me!!”

I had the great privilege of meeting Jacob in December 2011 at a Christmas party in Mountain View for kids with cancer and their families. He told me about his “Santa Slayer” project, where he asked his then 2,000 Facebook fans to each send $1 so he could buy holiday gifts for the other sick kids on the cancer ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Despite being in the fight of his life, all he could think about was how crummy it was for other kids to be in a cancer ward at Christmastime. He himself had spent a good chunk of December 2010 in that same ward, immediately after being diagnosed.

[Read more…]

Peninsula Book Stores Collecting Books for Women Prisoners

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Former state assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Reach and Teach co-owner Craig Wiesner.

Several Peninsula independent book sellers are asking people to donate new and slightly used books and magazines to give women in state prisons some positive and engaging material to read.

The stores, along with a Palo Alto real estate office and Sunnyvale City Hall, are currently collecting books through May 15. Boxes at seven locations are available for people to drop off donations (click on “more” link below).

“More than two-thirds of the women in state prison are non-violent offenders and more than two-thirds are mothers. Any reading material that engages the mind and broadens horizons will help,” according to Craig Wiesner, co-owner of Reach and Teach in San Mateo.

Books needed include how-to books, quality fiction from diverse writers, and biographies. Paperbacks are strongly preferred. Only paperback textbooks are accepted, and only if they are less than three years old and in good condition. Current, quality magazines, also in good condition, are also being accepted.

Especially needed are children’s picture books, easy reading books, young adult, and teen classics for youth, women with lower reading levels and children during visitation, as are unopened boxes of Crayola crayons and packs of construction paper. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in April

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National Poetry Month 2014 PosterLike a pebble plunk

Making circles in a pond,

Good neighbors reach out.

Like my haiku? It’s in honor of National Poetry Month, one of many, many great things you can get involved in as a “good neighbor” in your community. Pick one of these five suggestions and reach out!

1. Celebrate Poetry: As I said, April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate an important and cherished art form. Libraries and poets laureate all over the Bay Area are marking the month with special events and displays to help people interact with reading and creating poetry. Folks at the Oakland Public Library decorated the staircases from top to bottom with poems created by Oakland Youth Poet Laureates, California poets, and children’s poets. In Cupertino the Poet Laureate has launched a Poetry Exchange, where people can see new poems daily, or contribute their own poems. Contact your local library to find out what special events are happening in your city. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in March

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ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-tree-plantings-good-neighbor-stories-pam-marinoRain, finally! The dust and dirt that was building up on all the shrubs, trees and outdoor surfaces is washed away, giving the feeling of a fresh start. Spring is just a couple of weeks away, so put winter behind you and start something new that will make your neighborhood and community a better place.

Here are five ways you can make a difference this month.

1. Spring Spruce Ups: Parks, open spaces and eco-friendly organizations are organizing outdoor clean-ups and plantings all month. The Golden Gate Audubon Society has several habitat restoration events on both sides of the bay, and Save the Bay has similar types of restoration and planting events open to volunteers. The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club is hosting a tree planting event in Oakland on March 8. Or check out the numerous events offered by Our City Forest in San  Jose.

2. Educate Yourself About Income Inequality: Silicon Valley De-Bug is hosting the Forum on Inequality in Silicon Valley from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 6, at the Camera 12 Theaters, 201 S. 2nd Street, San Jose. The award-winning website’s staff is bringing together community leaders to speak about the problem of income inequality, along with a local hip hop artist who is premiering a video, “Gold Out West,” for this free community event. [Read more…]