SF Bay Area Holiday Toy Drives are Waiting for Your Donations

toy-drives-bay area-silicon valley-holidays-toys for tots

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


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…]

Sacred Heart Needs 9,000 Toys; Holiday Donation Drives in Final Stretch


holiday_facebook-process-s450x174Last week I reported that Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose was short by 17,000 toys, and that number has shrunk to 9,000. But Christmas is just a week away, and if those gifts are going to get under San Jose Christmas trees in time, they need to show up by this Friday, Dec. 20.

Sacred Heart has 6,000 children signed up to receive gifts this year, according to the organization. It needs to collect about three times the amount, so that each child receives around two gifts and a book. A late Thanksgiving resulting in a shorter period between the holidays is said to be partly to blame for the shortfall, since groups and volunteers that normally collect the toys for Sacred Heart had a shorter period to conduct drives.

You can make Christmas bright for a child by donating a new, unwrapped toy or book to the agency, located at 1381 S. First St., San Jose. Drop off hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., today and Thursday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday. Or make a donation online.

To see other agencies still collecting toys (some right up until Christmas Day), click on “Read More” below.

In addition to toys, Bay Area food banks say they are in serious need of food and monetary donations this holiday season. According to a KQED blog post on Dec. 17, donations are way down, plus the recent cold snap resulted in more people showing up at food banks in need of assistance. Agency officials are theorizing that the improved economy is giving people the impression that the need for food banks is lower, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Rising housing, food and heat costs are squeezing many low income families quite hard.

To find out how you can make a donation to a local food bank, visit bayareahunger.org to find the agency nearest you. Consider making a generous year-end monetary donation. [Read more…]

Sacred Heart Needs 17,000 Toys by Dec. 20


Courtesy Sacred Heart Community Service.

Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose needs to collect 2,000 new, unwrapped toys a day by Dec. 20 for more than 5,000 children already registered to receive Christmas gifts, according to agency officials.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 11, the agency had only collected 950 toys as a part of its annual Holiday Food and Toy Program, a deficit of 17,150 toys, officials told supporters in an email.

UPDATE 12/18/13: Sacred Heart still needs 9,000 toys by Dec. 20. Please check out the latest story for more info.

“We are especially in need of teen gifts, action figures, sports equipment, and books,” the email states.

Donation station hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, with special holiday hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15. The agency is located at 1381 S. First St., San Jose. Monetary donations are also accepted online.

[Read more…]

Holiday Toy Drive Donation Deadlines Almost Here

mom squad holiday toy drive poster

The Campbell Mom Squad is hosting a drive for EMQ FamiliesFirst, ending Dec. 15.

With Christmas just about two weeks away, a number of Bay Area toy drives have deadlines coming up in the next several days leading up to, and during, this weekend. Another wave of deadlines will come the following weekend.

Deadlines coming up this week include those for West Valley Community Services today, Dec. 10, the Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) drive and the City of Saratoga toy drive on Thursday, Dec. 12, and the Gift of Reading and Sunnyvale Community Services on Friday, Dec. 13. More are taking place Saturday and Sunday. For a complete list with links, see our story, “Bay Area Holiday Toy Drives Need Some Elves (Like You).” [Read more…]

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


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


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…]

Plan Ahead to Avoid Deadly Mix of Drinking, Driving


Keeping Bay Area roadways safe for all this New Year’s Eve is as easy as planning ahead to avoid mixing drinking and driving, and local MADD-Logo-Don't-Drink-And-Drive-Plan-Ahead-to-Avoid-Deadly-Mix-of-Drinking-Drivingorganizations are offering tips and services to help.

MADD Safe Party Guide

A one-page online guide from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) offers lots of great tips for planning a party that keeps guests from leaving your party under the influence. Helps hosts through the pre-planning process, as well as what to do during, and at the end of parties.

Designated Drivers

If you’re going out to a party with a group, designate one member as the one who will not drink any alcohol for the evening, and drive the rest of the group home safely at the end of the night. Click on the link above for MADD’s info on designated drivers, as well as downloadable coupons to present as gifts to friends when you’re willing to serve as the designated driver.

AAA Tipsy Tow

This AAA program in California, Nevada, and Utah, offers free 10-mile tows to anyone who asks on New Year’s Eve.Participants do not have to be members of AAA to use the service. It will be offered from 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Call 800-222-4357 [Read more…]

‘Leukemia Slayer’, Age 11, Plays Santa for Fellow Kids With Cancer


Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, a.k.a. Santa

Imagine being a kid stuck in a cancer ward at Christmastime, getting poked and prodded, feeling sick, and very often bored waiting for the next test or blood draw, while missing out on all the magic and fun of the season.

Jacob Goeders of Mountain View, CA., 11, doesn’t have to imagine, because he’s lived it. And because he knows what it’s like, Jacob is in his second year playing “Santa” to dozens of children at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto this week, delivering presents he purchased after raising money from Facebook friends, and friends of friends.

Two years ago on Dec. 2, Jacob was diagnosed with high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, landing him in the Packard cancer ward during the holiday season. Christmas was suddenly upended for Jacob, his mom, Sherry, his dad, Todd, and his little brother Jordan, then age 4.

As the one-year anniversary of the diagnosis approached last year, Jacob got an idea: what if he asked all his friends to donate $1 so that he could buy Christmas presents for the other children on the cancer ward and bring them a little holiday cheer?

“I wanted to make other kids feel good, and I wanted to do something,” Jacob told me recently. “I felt good because I was helping other kids who were stuck in the hospital like I was.” [Read more…]

Peace and Understanding at Palo Alto Holiday Fair


Last year when I attended the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, little did I know Ruth_Mutch_Wendy_Leonard_Sharon_Leonard_Ilhangane_Project_Holiday_Peace_and_Social_Justice_Fair_Palo_Altothat one year later I’d be behind one of the many booths which offer some small way to make the world a better place.

On Sunday among the tables in the long, bright multipurpose room selling everything from Fair Trade olive oil and coffee, to beaded necklaces and ornaments, to scarves and hats in every hue, I was selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook. It was a great day of meeting new people, hearing about wonderful local organizations, and making some great contacts for future stories.

In between talking to people at my booth, I managed to sneak in some holiday shopping. I picked up some adorable beaded ornaments for friends (and myself), and another beautiful gift I will remain mum on in case someone I know is reading this post 😉 . They came from a booth run by Limitless Horizons Ixil, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatamala.

The annual fair was co-sponsored by the church and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.  More photos after the jump. [Read more…]