By SDCNN Staff
The holidays are the best time of year to give to fellow San Diegans who are less fortunate than ourselves. With that in mind, Mission Valley News has compiled a list of food, toy and other charity drives from around San Diego County. So whether you want give near home or near work, there is a convenient drop-off place for these items that are needed to help spread the holiday cheer. Happy holidays!
The San Diego Food Bank’s Holiday Food drive is underway throughout San Diego County. Vons shoppers can purchase a prefilled bag of groceries for $7 and place the bag in the food bank’s big, red food drive donation barrels at the front of stores.
There are other ways to help with the annual Holiday Food Drive. Anyone may also make a monetary donation online at bit.ly/2fIAZ8x. Clubs, businesses or other organizations may host a virtual food drive online as well. For more information and for online links to help organize a virtual food drive for the food bank, visit bit.ly/20g8rX0.
The San Diego Food Bank sorts donated food at its warehouse, then distributes the items to low-income families and individuals at 183 distribution sites throughout the county each month. The food bank also gives food to 350 other nonprofit organizations that operate feeding programs. For more information, visit sandiegofoodbank.org.
FSD Holiday Campaign
The Feeding San Diego (FSD) Holiday Campaign is underway to bring meals to the less fortunate. FSD asks the public to help in one of three ways:
- Make a monetary donation online at bit.ly/2gD74TI. FSD states that each dollar donated will provide four meals.
- Companies are encouraged to organize a food drive and ask employees to collect a variety of nutritional foods to donate to FSD. For more information, call 858-452-3663 or visit bit.ly/2gtPQoF.
FSD is a nonprofit hunger relief organization dedicated to distributing healthy food with dignity to those in poverty, while helping to inform the public about the issues of food insecurity, nutrition and poverty. Learn more at feedingsandiego.org.
YWCA San Diego County is conducting its annual Holiday Gift Drive now through Dec. 12. This program will benefit those in its residential domestic violence and homelessness programs. New, unwrapped holiday gifts are requested for children, teenagers, women and men. Items can be dropped off at the YWCA administrative building, 1012 C St. by appointment only. Call Darlene Moreno, 619-239-0355, ext. 225, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit bit.ly/2fulp50.
USO Giving Tree
The Headquarters at Seaport will provide free holiday entertainment each Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve in its outdoor courtyard while USO of San Diego will collect gifts and donations for military families in need as part of the USO Giving Tree program. Suggested donations include board games, gift cards, sports equipment toys for youngsters and gifts for teenage boys and girls.
The Saturday performance schedule at The Headquarters at Seaport includes the Navy Band Southwest’s 32nd Street Brass Band, Dec. 10, noon–1 p.m.; Valhalla High School band returns Dec. 17, noon–4 p.m.
The Giving Tree allows deserving military families a chance to select holiday presents for their children and have them wrapped. Families chosen to participate are allowed to pick up presents at the USO San Diego Downtown Center, 303 A Street. For more information, visit bit.ly/2gp6GW3.
Toys For Tots
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys For Tots program is an ongoing effort to collect unwrapped toys and distribute the toys as holiday gifts to less fortunate children in each community in which the campaign is held.
There are three ways to help. One is to simply make a donation of a new, unwrapped toy for a child and drop it off at any business serving as a drop-off site. For example, all Toys “R” Us stores serve as drop-off sites. In addition, there are several events throughout the county this season in which toys for the Toys For Tots program are collected. The Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center, 9955 Pomerado Road, is accepting donations throughout the campaign. The Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. San Diego Fire Department stations are also receiving donations for the program.
Businesses may become toy drop-off sites. An application form for drop-off sites can be found online at bit.ly/2gpfmvu. Once approved, a toy collection box may be picked up at the Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center. Once full, the collection boxes of donated toys can be dropped off at the nearest fire station or at the Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center.
Another way to help is to volunteer by helping with collecting, sorting and distributing the toys at the Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center. Volunteers must sign a Gratuitous Service Agreement, which can be found online at bit.ly/2fYg41T.
For more information about San Diego County Toys For Tots or to make an online donation, visit bit.ly/1XEf0P4.
Polar Express Pajama Party and toy drive
Reading Cinemas Grossmont Center is inviting guests of all ages to “The Polar Express Pajama Party,” Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. at 5500 Grossmont Center Drive. Those attending are encouraged to wear their pajamas. Tickets cost $8 each for this G-rated movie about a young boy whisked away on the Polar Express to meet Santa at the North Pole.
Anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to donate will receive a complimentary hot cocoa. The Reading Cinemas Grossmont is a Toys For Tots drop-off location through Dec. 18, and those wishing to donate a toy may access the lobby drop-off area without purchasing a ticket.
Salvation Army bells ring again
The Salvation Army’s red kettle fundraising drive has begun and will continue through Christmas Eve. The Kroc Center will host a number of the Salvation Army’s red kettles at locations throughout San Diego County. Ringing bells in shopping areas during the holidays are always associated with the 133-year tradition of the red kettle drive. Funds collected in the Kroc Center red kettles will benefit the Family Resource Center. For more information, visit sandiego.salvationarmy.org.
St. Paul’s Senior Services events
St. Paul’s Senior Services is holding a trio of holiday drives and events this month.
- Free Pictures with Santa will be available Dec. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. in St. Paul’s Plaza, 1420 E. Palomar St. in Chula Vista. Parents and grandparents are urged to bring the kids to have photos taken with Santa Claus, enjoy hot cocoa, sweet treats and holiday music.
- St. Paul’s Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) centers are holding a Sundries for Seniors program until Dec. 20. There are 500 senior citizens in the program and this year’s goal is to have a gift bag for each of them. Donations of sundries or small gifts for seniors may be dropped off at two PACE locations between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The locations are St. Paul’s PACE Day Center, 111 Elm St. in downtown San Diego; and St. Paul’s PACE Day Center, 630 L St. in Chula Vista. Those wishing to donate online may view a special PACE wish list on Amazon at amzn.to/2fzifx6 and the items will be delivered directly to St. Paul’s Reasner Center in San Diego. For more information, visit bit.ly/2gtUKCd.
- St. Paul’s Senior Services also cares about pets waiting for a home as it hosts Santa Paws Blanket and Towel Drive for the Chula Vista Animal Center. St. Paul’s is asking for donations of clean, used blankets and towels to be placed in drop-off baskets at the Chula Vista Animal Shelter, 1420 East Palomar St., Chula Vista. For more information, call 619-591-0600.
St. Paul’s Senior Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of San Diego’s senior community. For more information, visit stpaulseniors.org.
Make Change Count
The San Diego Downtown Partnership is holding its Make Change Count fundraising program to benefit the End Homelessness Campaign. Funds raised through this campaign help pay for hygiene kits, the Family Reunification Program, items to assist with preparing for job interviews and other efforts to help the homeless.
Donations may be made at any of the many donation stations located throughout the Downtown area. The stations resemble red parking meters, and they accept coins and credit cards.
To find locations of the donation stations or to make a donation online, visit bit.ly/2fY04xe.