Ways to give back during this holiday season

December is the month of giving; it’s the time to make a difference in the community and to support one another. Marin and Sonoma Counties are filled with opportunities to do so.

Although community service hours are no longer required at schools, many students still volunteer. One of these students is sophomore Jojo Riccio, who volunteers at the Marin Food Bank in San Francisco.

“I volunteer to make a difference in my community,” Riccio said. 

Food is in short supply to many people in our community. To support those in need of food, you can show up ready to work at Marin’s and Sonoma’s local food banks. As an alternative, all of these organizations welcome donations.

St. Vincent’s Holiday Meals

St. Vincent’s has been providing free meals daily for over 40 years. Volunteer to pack a minimum of 50 bagged lunches a day.

When: Daily

Where: 820 B Street location in San Rafael

Email for more information: volunteer@vinnies.org

Website: http://www.vinnies.org/christmas-2021

Marin Food Bank, San Rafael

Help sort through grocery store donations, clean produce, and build grocery bags. Assist with a drive-thru pantry and other various tasks in two hour shifts.

When: Check website for dates and times

Where: 2550 Kerner Blvd San Rafael

Website: volunteering.sfmfoodbank.org

Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa

One option is to volunteer at the warehouse, to clean and pack produce. Another is to visit one of their sites to distribute groceries to the community. Majority of shifts are two hours.

Website: refb.org/ways-to-give/volunteer.html

North Marin Holiday Share

Toy and drive campaign serves families facing financial struggles during the holidays. Volunteer to purchase a gift or help at the live event.

When: Dec 17, 2022

Where: 680 Wilson Ave Novato

Website: http://www.northmarincs.org/community-health/holiday-share-toy-drive

Novato Fire Department Toy Drive

Provides toys, bikes and gift cards to local disadvantaged children throughout our communities.

When: Anytime this holiday season

Where: Drop off at local fire station

Website: http://www.novatofirefoundation.org/home

Sonoma County Secret Santa Program

A nonprofit gift-giving program, providing gifts and holiday cheer to those less fortunate in our community. Options include selecting a gift for a child, volunteering your time for gift prep, or donating money.

Website: http://www.secretsantanow.org

Macy’s Make a Wish

For every letter you send online at macys.com/believe or drop in a big red letterbox in store, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish. Up to $1 million can be raised, to create life-changing wishes for children battling critical illnesses.

When: Now until 12/22/22

Where: Website or in store

Website: wish.org/greaterbay/macys-believe

Another option for giving back to the community is doing so through written letters and gifts. Many families and children have special circumstances which make the holidays more special due to sickness and hardship.

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