Gift of Giving
Local charities deliver holiday season wish lists
As The Catholic Voice does every Christmas season, here is a list of charities, some Catholic, as well as interfaith organizations, that can use your help.
A Friendly Manor/Place
A drop-in center for homeless women run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
Need: Christmas gifts for the women (scarves, gloves, hats, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, gift sets of soaps/perfume)
Where: 2298 San Pablo Ave., Oakland 94612
Abode, which began delivering services to individuals and families without a home in Fremont, is expanding its services to the Tri-Valley area, including Livermore and Pleasanton. Since 2010, Abode Services has moved more than 3,000 adults and children from homelessness into homes.
Need: Gift cards (Target, Safeway or Payless ShoeSource); holiday dinner basket (canned vegetables, a frozen turkey or ham, stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and a dessert); winter weather clothing; gift baskets; online donations.
Where: 588 Brown Road, Fremont, 94539 (Hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday)
Contact: Jean Morgan, community outreach director, 510-252-0910, ext. 804, email@example.com. Online: www.abodeservices.org
Alameda County Community Food Bank
The Food Bank, which serves 1 in 5 Alameda County residents through a network of 240 member agencies — food pantries, soup kitchens and other organizations — has been in operation since 1985 and envisions the day when "we can go out of business."
Need: Monetary donations through a Virtual Food Drive; non-perishable food items; volunteer time.
Where: 7900 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, 94621
Contact: www.accfb.org or 510-635-3663
Bay Area Crisis Nursery
The Bay Area Crisis Nursery's mission is child abuse prevention. The only crisis nursery in the Bay Area, it provides short-term residential care for children to give their parents time to focus on resolving a crisis. Knowing their children are safe, the parents can make better use of other services to resolve crises like homelessness, domestic violence, mental or physical illness and a myriad of other unexpected emergencies.
Need: New toys, games, books, for children, birth to 18 (particularly 2 and under and 14 and up); new clothes for children of all ages; cosmetics, purses, wallets, scarves, hats, gloves, perfume, bath sets, lotions, board games for all ages, doctor kits, vet kits, hand-held music devices and educational toys
Non-perishable holiday dinner items: canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, pumpkin, boxed pie crusts, pie tins, roasting tins, boxed mashed potatoes and gravy.
Deliver to: 1506 Mendocino Drive, Concord, unwrapped, by Dec. 8
Contact: Nancy Thomas, development director, Bay Area Crisis Nursery, 925-685-6633
Berkeley Food Pantry
The pantry, now in its 45th year, provides bags of groceries for more than 10,000 needy East Bay families every year. An effort of the Berkeley Friends Church, the pantry serves as an emergency food aid resource to help families get from paycheck to paycheck.
Need: Cash donations, fresh or new canned and packaged food, such as tuna, peanut butter, cereal, soup, fruit and vegetables.
Where: 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley 94702
Birthright of Livermore
An international pregnancy service that supports pregnant girls and women who need help by providing positive alternatives to abortion.
Need: New office in Livermore or Tri-Valley area, preferably a small rental house; volunteers to help with advertising and publicity, social media, grant writer, CPA, staff secretary; board members from business and clergy community; cash donations or gift cards for baby and maternity clothes, diapers and office supplies
Where: 1520 Catalina Court, Building C, Livermore 94550
Birthright of San Lorenzo
A nonprofit crisis pregnancy center offering free, confidential, non-judgmental service to pregnant women. Our motto is "it is the right of every pregnant woman to give birth and it is the right of every child to be born."
Need: Cash donations; diapers, newborn to infant; used or new baby clothes and layette items; volunteers who can work directly with women in crisis and participate in fundraisers; Board of Directors members; a grant writer; and quarterly newsletter help in writing and updating lists.
Where: 1048 Grant Ave., San Lorenzo 94580
Contact: To volunteer, call Theresa or Carmel at 510-481-9677; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catholic Charities of the East Bay*
Providing help and creating hope for people in need throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Project Joybells is celebrating more than 25 years of providing toys for needy children age 12 and younger. By making a contribution to Project Joybells you will bring a touch of Christmas to a child who might otherwise go without, and provide parents a dignified way to give their children gifts during difficult economic times. Consider making a contribution of $20 or more per child. CCEB volunteers will purchase the gifts on your behalf.
Adopt-a-Family Program is seeking individuals, groups and companies to adopt low-income families for the holidays living in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. You may choose to make a financial contribution or shop for a family. Consider adopting a family of any size in the $25-$50 per person range (children and their parents would receive gifts). CCEB case managers work with qualified families to identify and purchase the items they may want and need, or you may purchase the gifts on their "wish lists" and deliver them to the CCEB office in Oakland.
Turkey Give-a-Way Program has been providing turkeys to disadvantaged families since 1997. Donations to this program will help feed many hungry individuals and families in crisis during the holiday season. About 1,000 turkeys will be given away by partnering with churches and organizations that identify individuals in need.
Contact: Debra Gunn 510-768-3115, www.cceb.org
Fred Finch Youth Center
Founded in 1891, Fred Finch Youth Center has provided care and services to the most vulnerable children and their families, serving more than 2,800 young people annually. It also works with their families, addressing not only mental health challenges, but the impact and circumstances that result from multigenerational poverty.
Need: Gift cards (increments of $25 are most useful)
Where: 3800 Coolidge Ave., Oakland 94602-3399.
Contact: Becky Lee-Wendt, 510-485-5301
The Gabriel Project of the Diocese of Oakland
The Gabriel Project is a parish-based outreach that seeks to bring the love of Christ to women in difficult and crisis pregnancies. We see in the conception of each child, a fresh expression of God's unfailing love. We offer immediate and practical help — spiritual, emotional and material.
Need: Donations of maternity and baby items, financial help and volunteers to be "angels" and "assistant angels."
Where: Throughout the Diocese of Oakland
Contact: David Zarri, coordinator, email@example.com or 925-686-9277; www.cagabrielproject.wordpress.com
Mercy Brown Bag Program
Sponsored by Mercy Retirement and Care Center, this program provides bags of nutritious groceries to more than 4,500 needy seniors twice monthly, free of charge. The program helps seniors make ends meet, retain their health and stay in their own homes.
Need: Cash donations, large-sized paper or plastic bags, produce bags, plastic zipper bags and volunteers to take bags to homebound seniors to help us keep up with the growing need.
Where: 3431 Foothill Blvd., Oakland 94601
Contact: Krista Lucchesi, director, 510-534-8540, extension 369
Monument Crisis Center, Contra Costa County
A family resource center assisting and stabilizing the low-income community with nutritious groceries, resource and referrals, adult educational and health and wellness workshops, youth, family and senior programs. New in 2015: VITA Program for Earn it, Keep it, Save It, Free Tax Preparation site.
Need: Cash, check or credit card donations to purchase food and supplies; or direct food donations of fresh, packaged or canned foods; diapers, especially sizes 4-6; gift cards of small denominations ($10-$20) to Safeway, Food Maxx, Grocery Outlet or Lucky. New sleeping bags for those without homes.
Where: 1990 Market St., Concord, 94520. Hours: 9 a.m. -noon and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; extended hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Donate online: www.monumentcrisiscenter.org
Contact: Sandra Scherer, executive director, 925-825-7751, ext. 105; firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Step Learning Center
An older youth and adult literacy, GED preparation and college transition program operated by the Sisters of the Holy Names.
Need: Volunteer tutors, cash donations for literacy books; financial assistance for students unable to afford a bus pass or to pay cost of GED examination fees.
Where: 2222 Curtis St., Oakland 94607
Contact: Sister Cynthia Canning, SNJM, or Sister Rosemary Delaney, SNJM, 510-251-1731.
Nights on the Streets — Catholic Worker
Hospitality to the Body of Christ (the homeless and needy in local communities) by providing food, clothing, shelter, counseling and referral, and assisting others who do so.
Need: Prayers for health, guidance and the support of our continuing works of mercy; financial support for our 18th year of hospitality and 11th year of shelter operation run with staff from two Catholic Worker houses; volunteers to prepare and service thrice-weekly "soup nights" each winter (this includes cooking 10 gallons of soup and distribution the same evening); servers for our Sunday breakfast served al fresco at two locations in Berkeley. (Our bishop, Michael C. Barber, SJ, comes and serves at this event — get to know and serve with your bishop!)
Sleeping bags are always needed and forever in short supply. A structure capable of housing 8-10 workers and guests including an expanded kitchen; a food storage area and extended bathroom/shower facilities to supplement existing shelter and hospitality facilities in the East Bay.
Mail address: P.O. Box 13468, Berkeley 94712-4468
Contact: J.C. Orton, coordinator, 510-684-1892; email@example.com
Oakland Catholic Worker
A hospitality house for Latin American immigrants and refugees which has as its mission, "living simply and communally in a community of multicultural volunteers and guests; helping those most in need: supporting an extended community in keeping itself organized and healthy; changing the unjust structures of our society."
Need: Financial donations to assist our many needs; food donations, such as rice, beans and canned vegetables; cleaning supplies; gift cards for Smart and Final, Safeway, Home Depot and Office Depot. Volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve hot meals from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Spanish or bilingual speakers are the ideal but everyone is welcome.
Where: 4848 International Blvd., Oakland 94601.
Contact: 510-533-7375; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oakland Elizabeth House
Elizabeth House is a transitional program for women and women with children who have experienced homelessness, violence, addiction or poverty. Its mission is to support women and children in their transition to independence.
Need: Cash donations for emergency expenses of the families, such as medical, transportation, food, child care; office supplies: printer paper, postage stamps, 2015 Day-Timer calendars; gift cards: Safeway, Target, Wal-Mart, Ross, Home Depot, Trader Joe's; food items (sealed/current expiration dates); general cleaning items; household items: children and family programs: passes/tickets — movies, museums, theater performances or events. Volunteer needs: handy person, gardening help, grocery shopping, help with meal preparation, clerical. A vehicle donation would be welcome: The 1994 minivan is on its last legs.
Where: 6423 Colby St., Oakland 94618
Contact: Tina Humphrey, 510-601-1213; email@example.com; www.oakehouse.org.
St. Mary's Center
Provides shelter, food, health care, addiction recovery and intensive social work to at-risk elders; and operates a preschool for low-income children in downtown and West Oakland.
Need: Financial donations; adopt a family for Christmas; prepare and serve meals to shelter residents
Where: 925 Brockhurst St. (at San Pablo Avenue) Oakland 94608
Contact: Amy Vaughan, 510-923-9600, ext. 222
Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County
St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room and Community Center in downtown Oakland as well as parish Conference networks throughout Alameda County, welcome donations.
Need: Cash donations, children's Christmas toys and gifts, and warm coats of all sizes.
Where: 2272 San Pablo Ave., Oakland 94612 (between 23rd and West Grand)
To donate: Send checks to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (SVdP) in care of Marilyn Cahill, Director of Development & Communications, 9235 San Leandro St., Oakland 94603
To volunteer: Contact Muna Texier, 510-877-9252; must be 14 years of age or older.
St. Vincent de Paul Center for Men
Drop-in center for men offering showers, haircuts, laundry facilities, mailbox service and support services, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.
Need: Cash donations, disposable shaving razors, bars of soap, shampoo, mouthwash, dental floss, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, socks, T-shirts and underwear (XL+), phone cards.
Where: 2272 San Pablo Ave., Oakland 94612
Contact: John Ratti, Downtown Campus operations manager, 510-877-9237
St. Vincent de Paul Visitation Center for Women and Children
Drop-in center for women and children offering showers, laundry facilities, clothing, diapers and formula for infants, and peer support, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Need: Cash donations, new children's clothes and new toys for Christmas, travel and full-size shampoo and conditioner, razors, lotion, bars of soap, mouthwash, dental floss, toothbrushes and toothpaste, hairbrushes, deodorant, socks and underwear for women and children.
Where: 2272 San Pablo Ave., Oakland 94612
Contact: Sonia Munoz, Visitation Center coordinator, 510-444-3790
St. Vincent de Paul retail stores
St. Vincent de Paul operates three retail thrift stores in Alameda County selling gently used clothing, goods and furniture. SVdP also operates Redux Studios & Gallery in Alameda, featuring art and goods made from recycled materials and vintage items. Revenue generated from sales help to support our human services programs and two job training programs.
Need: Gently used or new furniture, household items and clothing.
Where: Drop off your donation at any SVdP retail thrift store (East Oakland, Fremont, Livermore)
Contact: For bulk pickup, Jackie Mallory, donation scheduler, 510-638.7600
A social enterprise of St. Vincent de Paul accepts contributions of a wide range of electronics. SVdP receives revenue from recycling electronics.
Need: Televisions, monitors, laptops, computers, cell phones, scanners and printers, VCR and DVD players, computer cables, digital cameras, telephone systems, stereo equipment, fax machines, other electronic equipment.
Where: Drop off at any SVdP Thrift Store (Oakland, Fremont, Livermore)
Contact: For bulk pickup, Jackie Mallory, donation scheduler, 510-638-7600
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County
SVdP of Contra Costa County offers Christmas programs to support the needy from its centralized District Council-Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, and 27 parish-based branches throughout the county.
Christmas Basket Program
Registration required, food/gift/hygiene products provided to 175 families with children, (700 individuals)
Need: Volunteers, cash donations, socks or hygiene items
Where: SVdP, 2210 Gladstone Drive, Pittsburg 94565
Contact: 925-439-5060; or send checks to Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County (SVdP) Attn: Christmas Program, 2210 Gladstone Drive, Pittsburg 94565. Donate online: www.svdp-cc.org
Holiday One Warm Coat
SVdP is distributing donated coats to the needy throughout the holiday season.
Contact: Stephen Krank, 925-439-5060, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Food/ Gift Basket programs
SVdP Conferences provide help via food/gift baskets to more than 13,000 needy individuals throughout the county. The 27 SVdP Conferences in Contra Costa County are providing special Christmas food/gift/blankets programs to more than 3,300 needy families.
Need: Turkeys, hams, hygiene items, toys and books for children, socks for children and adults (preferably bundled in packages of three by size so it's easy to distribute), pajamas for children and adults, diapers and baby wipes, blankets and sleeping bags, food (uncooked and unopened), paper and/or plastic bags (zipper-lock sandwich and gallon size bags), messages of hope and love during the holidays in the form of letters and drawings and cash donations
Contact: Steve Krank, 925-439-5060, email@example.com
Send checks to: SVdP of Contra Costa County, 2210 Gladstone Drive, Pittsburg 94565, Attn: Christmas Basket program. Donate online: www.svdp-cc.org
Sister John Marie's Pantry
A ministry of St. Joseph Church in Fremont, Sister John Marie's Pantry responds to the needs of people living in the Tri-City area (Fremont, Newark, Union City). These include Tri-City homeless; frail elderly people; single parents; senior citizens; and transients. The pantry offers assistance in times of tragedy or emergency, rent and bill payments; provides supplies for Abode Homeless Shelter.
Need: Financial donations
Where: Sister John Marie's Pantry, St. Joseph Church, PO Box 3276, Fremont 94539
A 2,000-volunteer strong, community-based social service, nonprofit organization that assists anyone struggling with hunger, poverty, homelessness, unemployment and underemployment in Fremont, Newark and Union City.
Needs: Financial contributions; canned and packaged food for the food bank; clothes for the gift store; industrial vacuum cleaner; 3,000 rolls of paper towels; 3,000 packets of toilet tissue; mannequins for the thrift store; $5,000 for a year's supply of produce bags; $350 for a new pallet jack; a new truck so the agency can keep providing food to an increasing number of seniors living in mobile home parks.
Where: 37350 Joseph St., Fremont
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