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

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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…]

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…]

Long List of Local Agencies Needing Holiday Help

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If you’re looking for ways to help those in need this holiday season, the San Jose Mercury News recently published a list of more than 25 organizations and agencies requesting the public’s help.

The groups were asking for everything from cash donations, to gift cards, food, clothing, blankets, unwrapped toys, and even things like gift wrap and bows.

For example, groups and agencies like Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), the City of Saratoga, the Gardner Family Care Corporation, the Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County are in need of new, unwrapped toys, books, and other gifts.

The Bill Wilson Center needs lots of gift cards to give to the youth in their program. Many of the teens and young adults don’t get to go shopping very often for something new, and gift cards allow them to get the size, style, and color of the things they need and want most.

Family Supportive Housing is seeking donations of new pillows and blankets (both twin and full sizes), new socks and underwear for children, as well as unwrapped toys and gift cards. Alum Rock Counseling Center could use not only toys and bikes for approximately 200 children, leaders are also asking for donations of large rolls of wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and bows, baskets, tinned cookies, candy, bottled water, and more.

See the complete list for more information. If you know of additional holiday donation opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, please tell us in comments.