Lend A Hand This Holiday Season

Find ways to help others and spread holiday cheer in and around the Peninsula.


The holiday season is upon us, which means many of us are looking for ways to spread cheer and give back. With numerous charitable organizations in and around the Peninsula, there’s something for everyone. Here's a round up of opportunities to get you started.

Samaritan House: Samaritan House has a wide range of volunteering opportunities available, from helping set up the Holiday Toy Shoppe to staffing the Holiday Giving Tree.
Visit their website to find a complete list of opportunities.

Second Harvest Food Bank: The nonprofit urgently needs turkeys! in time for Thanksgiving.
You can also organize your own holiday food drive. Register online and start planning a drive for your school, company, club or neighborhood. Food drives can last as a long as you like through Jan. 20. Food donations can also be dropped off at the San Mateo County Distribution Center at 1051 Bing St. in San Carlos Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monetary donations are also accepted online. Most needed food items include tuna, meals in a can, peanut butter, low-sugar cereal and canned fruits and vegetables.

CALL Primrose: This organization, located at 139 Primrose Rd. in Burlingame, gives more than 30,000 bags of food each year to members of the community. Please visit the CALL Primrose website for a list of the food items they need. You can also participate in the Adopt-a-Box program, preparing holiday items and food in a box for a family participating in the Holiday Program. Email contact@callprimrose.org to join.

Operation One Warm Coat: Join in on this holiday coat drive by donating clean, gently worn coats at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 800 Foster City Blvd. from now through Dec. 7 or Hillsdale Shopping Center from Nov. 23 - Dec. 24. The drive benefits Shelter Network and the Shelter for Women’s Recovery locally.

Toys for Tots: Donate a new unwrapped toy to needy children on the Peninsula to the program voluntarily run by firefighters from the San mateo Fire Department and assisted by firefighters throughout San Mateo County. Click here for donation suggestions and how to make monetary donations.

InnVision Shelter Network: Donate a holiday basket or shop for gifts for an individual or family. The non-profit encourages that baskets be at least $40 dollars in value, and filled with all the holiday dinner items needed to serve a family in need, while InnVision Shelter Network recommends $30 per gift. You can also host a gift drive or plan a holiday party at a shelter. Visit the InnVision Shelter Network website to sign up.

Sleep Train Toy Drive for Foster Kids: For more than 60,000 children in the foster care system, the holiday season can be a very hard time away from family and friends. To help bring cheer to local foster kids, from now through Dec. 16, bring your donation ofunwrapped books toys or games to any Sleep Train store.  Locally, there are stores in San Mateo, Redwood City, Palo Alto and South San Francisco. You can also donate online.

My New Red Shoes: This local organization provides shoes and clothing to homeless and low-income students in the area. Host a shoe or clothing drive, sew gift bags or volunteer in a warehouse. You can also make a monetary donation to the organization. Donations in honor of a family member of friend also make great gifts.


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