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…]

Leukemia Slayer Plays Santa For Fourth Year


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…]

Silicon Valley Shelters Want to Send a Dog or Cat Home With You This Holiday Season


Home for the Holidays Shelters FirstThere are some adorable pooches and kitties waiting for their forever homes right now, so six Silicon Valley shelters have dropped their adoption fees for adult dogs and cats to $12 in December, as part of a “Home for the Holidays” campaign.

“Our shelters are beautiful, but they’re not homes,” said Beth Ward, VP of Shelter Operations at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV). “Our volunteers and staff are warm and wonderful, but they’re not the same as a permanent, loving family. We hope families will consider opening their homes and hearts this holiday season.” [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…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December


gift-of-reading-san-jose-mercury-resource-area-for-teachers-RAFT-five-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-in-DecemberThis year December and the season of sharing kicks off big time with #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3. While a lot of emphasis is on making online donations to deserving charities that day, giving includes sharing yourself through volunteering, making responsible shopping choices, donating to collection drives, and other similar ways. Here are five ways you can make an impact on your world this month.

1. Give the Gift of Reading: The annual Gift of Reading book drive is struggling this year and could really use help in collecting new and like-new books for kids in need. As of the day before Thanksgiving, the drive had only collected 3,200 books, far short of the 50,000 goal, according to San Jose Mercury columnist Sal Pizarro. The drive is co-sponsored by the Mercury and the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT). Consider dropping off a children’s book at one of many South Bay locations, or donate money online so the folks at RAFT can purchase books for kids, some of whom have never owned their own book before. The drive ends Friday, Dec. 13. Or give books, toys, gift cards, and other goods in one of the many donation drives taking place throughout the holidays.

2. Help a Neighbor with Decorations: This idea comes from our original list of “30 Ways to be a Good Neighbor at the Holidays.” Maybe an older or disabled neighbor would like a few strings of [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…]

Good News To Me: Dec. 28, 2011


“Good News To Me” is an ongoing feature that highlights good news from the media. If you see some good news, use our contact form to send us the link.

Having cut my teeth in the newspaper business, when people say “there’s only bad news in the paper,” I know it’s simply not true. Today’s Mercury News is a good case in point.Mercury News

Police Officer Raises Money For Family That Lost Home Before Christmas

The front page of the local section features three stories of people giving of themselves for others. Like the story about San Jose Police Officer Christian Camarillo, who was moved to help a family that lost their home in a fire just two days before Christmas. In just the last few days, Camarillo has raised $2,500 from other officers and friends to help the children have the Christmas they lost, and to begin rebuilding their lives. Other people and organizations have also stepped up to help; a list of how to participate accompanies the article. [Read more…]

How To Combat Donor Fatigue


We are four days to Dec. 31, and if you’re like me, the requests for year-end donations are pouring in via Internet and other media, snail mail, and phone. During the holidays even shopping trips Overflowing mailboxare accompanied by ringing bells, giving trees, small donations at the register and donation jars. Admittedly, Good Neighbor Stories is part of the onslaught, with our own virtual food drive.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the face of so many requests for help. “Donor fatigue” is a real condition that charities are well aware of. The Mercury News posted a story on Christmas that describes just how worn out people feel this holiday season after hearing so many pleas.

There are ways to cope and not feel so burned out. Here are are few suggestions. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

  • Decide what causes you are most passionate about. What stirs your heart the most? Children? Hunger? Animals? The environment? A particular part of the world like Africa or Asia? A religious institution? Figure our what you care about and then narrow your giving focus to those specific causes. [Read more…]