We were recently asked about charity drop-offs in the Village, and searched around for different holiday appeals. Here’s a list of organizations now asking for food, clothing and toys. It’s easy to donate essentials and gifts, and make a difference.
Food: Let’s start with the most urgent request for food, from the Alameda Food Bank. Their stocks are low this year, and the group wants to collect 750,000 pounds over the holidays. You just donate food in the red and black bins at Lucky’s and Safeway. Better yet, the Food Bank also accepts financial donations online.
Letters: For kids, you can play Santa in a few different ways. The best idea comes from the Oakland Post Office, which receives letters kids write to Santa and needs assistance with the mail. They are looking for helpers willing to respond to these letters directly, or as Santa via the North Pole. While not required, you’re free to send gifts as well.
The Oakland Tribune described how to get kids letters: (1) call the Santa Hotline at 510-251-3371 and leave your name, address and phone number; (2) await a form sent to you; (3) visit the local post office with your completed form and a photo ID; and (4) await letter or letters from kids. Then it’s up to you to write back to the kids, and show them you care.
Toys: Give to Oakland kids through the 28th Annual Oakland Toy Drive. According to A Better Oakland, checks may be sent to: United Way of the Bay Area, Oakland Toy Drive, Attention: Cashier’s Office, 221 Main Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Alternatively, you can donate actual toys to Alameda County kids through the Toys For Tots. Just drop toys into the local bin at at Wells & Bennett, off Park Blvd (1451 Leimert Blvd, Map). Or send checks to: Toys For Tots, Alameda County, United States Marine Corps Reserve, 2144 Clement Ave, Alameda, CA 94501.
Clothes: As the chill sets in, provide some warmth for kids. East Bay Sotheby’s is collecting winter coats for Oakland kids, and then distributing them via the Lincoln and Fred Finch Centers. So look at what your kids have outgrown, and drop your coats at Sotheby’s (1986 Mountain Blvd, Map).
Also consider helping new mothers, who need support caring for their newborns. Loved Twice, run by Montclarion Lisa Klein, delivers baby essentials to moms through local hospitals. They welcome donations of used infant clothing at Cool Tops Cuts for Kids (in Oakland or Lafayette).
Any other charity ideas this holiday season? Please share them here.