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…]

Our List of Bay Area Toy Drives; Santa Needs Those Donations ASAP

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Click here for the 2014 list!

UPDATE 12/17/12: the deadlines coming up this week and beyond are highlighted.

There are only 13 more shopping days until Christmas, but for most toy drives in the San Francisco Bay area, the deadline is looming over the Sandwich_Spot_Redwood_City_ChiPs_For_Kids_Toy_Drive_Donationsnext several days to ensure less fortunate children and teens receive gifts in time for the holiday.

If you’re already out shopping, consider picking up a new toy, or grabbing an extra gift card (much easier for teens), to donate to one of the many drives. Here’s our extensive list of local holiday toy drives, their drop-off locations, needs, and deadlines, organized by area.

For donating new or like-new books, check out our previous post on the Gift of Reading, which has drop-offs mostly in the South Bay, with one in Redwood City. Deadline is Sunday, Dec. 16.

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

Know of a toy drive we missed? Tell us in the comments. [Read more…]

Gift of Reading Book Drive in Need of Donations; Deadline Dec. 16

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The Gift of Reading, a once popular annual Silicon Valley holiday charity drive, has only collected about 2,000 books so far this season, according to San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy. He put out a call on Friday for local residents to step up and donate a new, or like-new, book for a child by the Sunday, Dec. 16 deadline.

At its height, Gift of Reading collected more than 80,000 books for children who couldn’t afford their own books. The program nearly died last year, but was revived by RAFT, the Resource Area For Teachers, in San Jose, according to Cassidy.

“I know the season of giving can be exhausting. Everybody wants something. And, of course, everybody needs to decide whether and who they would like to help out,” Cassidy said in his Dec. 7 column. “But few gifts have the bang for the buck of a book. You can find a kid’s book for less than $10; a lot less for a paperback. And many of us are lucky enough to know that warm and powerful feeling of being a child holding that special book.”

A complete list of drop-off locations, most bookstores and libraries, is on the Mercury News website. You can also make a credit card donation to the program on the RAFT website.

Food, Food, Everywhere, and Not a Morsel to Eat; Food Drive Donations Important

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Everywhere you turn  on television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc., there is food. How to buy it, cook it, eat it. Competitions to find Second-Harvest-Food-Bank-Santa-Clara-San-Mateo-Counties-Good-Neighbor-Stories-Virtual-Food-Drivethe best people to cook it or bake it. And at the holidays it only seems to amplify, with an endless array of special foods to enjoy, or on which to splurge and indulge.

And yet for an estimated 700,000 people in the San Francisco Area each month, food—especially healthy food—is limited, and often by the end of the month, nonexistent. In one of the richest metropolitan areas in the country, 700,000 people—just under the population of San Mateo County—are hungry, and even starving.

That’s why those of us who have enough food, and in many cases, so much food that we’re throwing it away, need to chip in and help our neighbors who do not have enough.

If you are so inclined to help others facing hunger this holiday season, it is very, very easy to donate food or money. Nearly every supermarket has a food bank barrel near entrances. Buy some extra cans or boxes and drop them in the barrel on your way out.

Donating online is also simple. Good Neighbor Stories is sponsoring a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, with a goal of raising $1,500 by Jan. 1. You can click on the link right now and give a special holiday gift for a local family. It does not have to be a large gift; any size donation is gratefully accepted.

This year we’re offering a special gift for anyone that donates $100 or more: a free copy of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! Just send us a soft copy of your donation receipt.

Please help us reach our goal, and help local families and individuals be a little less hungry and food insecure at the holidays and into the New Year. Thank you!

 

 

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December

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It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!

Jacob-Goeders-The-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Christmas-fund-drive

Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]