How to Help Bay Area Families in Need This Holiday Season

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Feeling fortunate for all you have? Then help families in need out; the call for donations is greater than ever.  Here’s a list of locally-based, lesser-known charities that would be so very grateful for your generosity this year.

San Francisco

The Edgewood Center helps children and families who have suffered abuse, neglect, and mental illness.  Their toy drive runs through December 17.  Bring a new, unwrapped gift to their office at 1801 Vicente Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Or take a look at their online wish list and donate a gift via Amazon.

Westfield San Francisco Center at 865 Market Street is hosting a toy and clothing drive through December 29 to benefit SOMA Child Care, Inc. Bring donations of new and gently used toys and clothing to the collection boxes next to the Santa Set.

The charity Arriba Juntos (meaning literally ‘forward together’ in Spanish) provides job training and support services to those with limited English language skills as well as at-risk youth in the community.  Their annual Toy Giveaway Party, ‘La Posada’, (a pre-Christmas celebration of the Nativity in Latin America) is on December 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1850 Mission Street.  Bring along a toy to donate and enjoy the festivities.

East Bay

Building Futures is based in San Leandro and provides shelter and support to women and children who are homeless and victims of family violence. Choose a toy or other gift from the wish list on their website and bring it to their office at 1395 Bancroft Avenue by December 16.


Sleep Train in Redwood City’s Secret Santa Toy Drive for Foster Kids runs until December 12.  You can bring a new unwrapped toy to any Sleep Train store — check their website for times.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services are partnering with other charities this year and organizing a holiday toy drive which runs through early December. Educational toys and books for preschoolers are in particular demand.  Drop off new, unwrapped toys between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday at their offices either in San Mateo (2001 Winward Way, Suite 200), or in Palo Alto (200 Channing Avenue).  Call 650.688.3030 with any questions.


San Rafael’s Santa Cop Toy Drive is asking for new, unwrapped toys for children in need.  Drop off your donation at various locations throughout San Rafael, including the downtown Police Department at 1400 Fifth Avenue.

Novato Human Needs Center serves low-income families in their community. They are hosting a ‘Holiday Share 2010’ toy drive at Novato Fair Shopping Center through December 14th from 12 to 5 p.m., and are asking for donations of new, unwrapped toys and games for babies, children, and teens.

—Annie Sheldon