By Chris Carter
With the holidays upon us, it’s important to think about the less fortunate members of society. Not everyone has a place to celebrate the holidays, with many people unable to afford food for their family.
Nearly half a million people live in poverty in the city of San Diego. As you spend the holidays with your loved ones, take a minute to give back to those in need. Here’s a list of the many ways you can donate your time or your money this holiday season and in the new year.
Donate to Your Local Food Bank
Most people have some extra food lying around this time of year. Donating to the city’s food bank is one of the easiest to give back to the community during the holidays. At the San Diego Food Bank, you’ll find a number of different ways to donate food to those who need it most.
Every year, the food bank hosts a Holiday Food Drive. You can donate a $7 pre-filled bag of food at your local Vons supermarket. In the checkout lane, just ask your cashier to add $7 to your bill and you’ll be donating a full bag of food to those in need.
You can also donate money or buy items of food online at the San Diego Food Bank website. The food bank is also looking for volunteers. If you feel like donating your time, sign up on the website to get involved in your local community.
Volunteer at a San Diego Shelter
If you want to spend your time instead of your money this holiday season, you can try volunteering at one of the city’s many shelters and community assistance programs. San Diego is full of charitable organizations that could use a lending hand.
You can donate goods, your time, or your vehicle to the Alpha Project, a San Diego-based nonprofit that helps members of the community get back on their feet.
You can also get involved at the United Way of San Diego County, a nonprofit focused on family stability and children’s education. They have dozens of activities and advocacy programs that are designed to help struggling families in the San Diego area.
Collect Used Clothes for the Needy
While it’s not as cold in San Diego as it is in the rest of the country, the winter months can be a painful time for many people in the community. You can donate some of your used clothes to your local Goodwill to help those in need prepare for colder weather. Goodwill hosts a number of different holiday drives to support those struggling in the local community. You’ll also find a number of other local businesses and stores collecting clothes for the homeless.
Donate Some Toys to Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is one of the biggest holiday charitable funds in the country. San Diego is full of places where you can drop off brand new toys for children in need. Go to your local toy store and pick out some popular gifts. It’s heartbreaking to think that some kids have nothing to celebrate over the holidays.
Visit the Toys for Tots website to find the closest donation center in your neighborhood. You can also donate online if you don’t have time to go to the store.
The holidays are a time for giving so help turn your family’s focus from exchanging gifts to giving back!
Chris Carter is vice president of communications, marketing and public affairs for the San Diego Food Bank.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: