In ARTICLES A-Z, Holidays

Volunteer if you can, Ask if you need help

Santa Cruz County families have been giving generously throughout 2020’s covid and fires. With the holidays approaching, many parents are talking about how to involve their children in the joy of giving. they want to connect with families who need help. Santa Cruz County abounds in a variety of sterling organizations available to help us help others. Whether you can give money or time, there is a reliable organization available. Just look at this list of opportunities to volunteer.



Santa Cruz Volunteer Center’s Adopt-A-Family

With your help we can make the holiday brighter for families who are struggling– including those who lost their homes in the CZU fire, were impacted by COVID layoffs, and those facing a variety of economic and social hardship.This year we will serve 400+ families, and independent teens. All of our adoptees have been referred and screened by our 25 partner organizations to ensure that your gift is reaching those most in need. You can choose to adopt, donate, or give a gift.


food-bank-childSecond Harvest Food Bank

We reach people in need through our vast network of partner agencies and non-profits and directly through food distribution and nutrition education at dozens of program sites. Every month, 55,000 local residents count on us to avoid missing meals, empty stomachs, and impossible choices between food, housing, medicine, and other necessities. Ways to give:


San Lorenzo Valley Holiday Love

Families Helping Families – SLV Holiday Love seeks to make this holiday season less stressful for the families directly impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. We will bring families together by matching a family in need with a family willing to give. Help us bring our community closer by signing up today- to receive or to donate!


toys-for-tots-santa-marinesToys for Tots

The basic mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Toys For Tots will not be hosting public collection sites for toy donations for the first time in its history. Normally, the collection points at fire stations and businesses throughout the county are responsible for the lion’s share of the thousands of toys needed for distribution to children whose families cannot afford them. Donate locally:


The Great Share Collective Santa Cruz – a public facebook group open to all, year round: Share something you have to give; Ask for what you need.

Grey Bears Thrift Store & Boutique

Gently used, terrific values. The Thrift Store & Boutique offer a treasure trove of donated items, including clothing, accessories and fabrics, furniture, housewares, jewelry, art, plants and garden gifts, books and media, hardware and tools, medical equipment, games, puzzles, sporting goods, bikes, exercise equipment and more. Click here for a list of items we accept. We also offer refurbished computers and peripherals, audio/video gear, TVs, appliances and more in our Computer Electronics Store, and thousands of titles in all genres in our Bookstore and online bookstore. Shop our craiglist and eBay stores for terrific values and curbside pick-up. Contact Angie or Diane for info, or call 831-479-1055 ext 233. Store Hours: Mon-Sun, 10am-3pm; Donations drop-off: Open every day, 7:30am-2pm, 2710 Chanticleer Ave in central Santa Cruz –


Hopes Closet is an all-volunteer run non-profit clothing bank, offering clothing and necessities to families in need in Santa Cruz County free of charge. Our goal is to provide items that help our recipients feel dignified.  We take pride in providing quality, pre-loved items to children ​who would otherwise go without. Your Help Gives Hope. To donate goods or request assistance, please call or text 831-566-1731


ngel-tree-salvation-army-santa-cruzThe Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps

Need help with toys this Christmas? The Salvation Army can help! In order to provide a safe environment for everyone, applications will be accepted ONLINE and toys will be picked up via drive-thru. Apply at and be prepared with the following documents: Photo ID, Birth certificates/etc. for children 12 and under, Proof of residency, Proof of income – Questions? Please call our office at 831-426-8365 –


Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Wellness Center

Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center provides support and services so that women, children, and families have the opportunities and skills to thrive.


Twin Lakes Church

Angel Tree Giving Grove – Twin Lakes Church

Every Christmas we partner with Prison Fellowship to purchase and deliver gifts to children whose parent(s) are incarcerated. We need volunteers in November and December who will adopt families, purchase gifts, or deliver gifts. We also need some volunteers who are bilingual. For more information or to volunteer please contact

Home Aid – Twin Lakes Church

A project-oriented service helping the widowed, physically limited, and single parents on a limited income. Contact or 831-465-3368. If you would like to serve on this ministry team, click here.

Bridge of Hope – Twin Lakes Church

LETTERS & CARDS! We desperately need more cards and letters for the nursing homes we serve. Uplifting notes, cards, artwork, children’s letters and drawings are needed to encourage our friends who are now so isolated. You can write letters that we can pick up and deliver for you. WE WOULD LIKE EVERY RESIDENT AND STAFF MEMBER TO RECEIVE A CARD OR NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT. We also want to match committed writers (commit to writing at least twice a month) with specific residents. Help us spread the hope in Jesus’ name! We need help purchasing BIRTHDAY GIFTS for nursing home residents. We can arrange contactless porch pick up and deliver for you. WE ESPECIALLY NEED GIFTS FOR MEN. Contact us if you’d like suggestions. Please spread the word, our friends are truly the forgotten ones, and they so much need to know we care! Please contact for more info.


holiday-hearts-jacobs-heartJacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services , Adopt-a-Family Holiday Program and Toy/Gift Card Drive

Now more than ever, children with cancer and other serious illnesses need our love, support and holiday joy. The Holiday Hearts program at Jacob’s Heart aims to deliver cheer to those who need it most. There are multiple ways to make a tangible difference in the life of a seriously ill child this holiday season. You can adopt one of our local families, host a Jacob’s Heart toy drive, collect gift cards, or even a combination of all three! Please contact to help Jacob’s Heart create holiday magic for children with cancer.


New Life Christian Center

Operation Christmas Child 2020 – This month, we have the amazing opportunity to partner with Samaritan’s Purse to give children the gift of Christmas! Swipe to find out more!


shoebox-with-toys3Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Packing—Traditional & Online

Find a Shoebox  –  Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately.

Girl or Boy? –  Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14.

Fill with Gifts  –  Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies.

We are grateful you plan to join us this year in packing traditional boxes, building a shoebox online, or both. Check out creative ideas from Operation Christmas Child Project Leaders across the U.S. who are making modifications to shoebox packing in order to ensure that children around the world are still blessed with great joy and the Good News of Jesus Christ. National Collection Week is Nov. 16–23, 2020. For churches and groups meeting online, digital resources are available.

 Bring your shoeboxes to these three local collection points:

Felton Bible Church, 5999 Graham Hill Road Felton, Nov. 16 – 23,

Santa Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick Street Santa Cruz, Nov. 16 – 22,

Corralitos Community Church, 26 Browns Valley Road Watsonville, Nov. 16 – 23,


free-to-be-a-kidSanta Cruz Live Oak Grange

It’s that time again!  Our Adopt a Family project has begun and we are busy getting organized. Please comment here if you are interested in helping. We will need gift purchases (through an amazon wish list we will create), Cash donations, and grocery gift cards in $25 increments. We are taking on a larger amount than we did last year and will need TONS of help making sure that these families have the best Christmas possible. We do NOT choose the families. All families are registered through the Santa Cruz Volunteer Network. Please contact them if you have any questions about registering your family.

Free to Be A Kid, Children’s Clothing Exchange. Bring what you can; Take what you need. First Saturday of the month 9:30-11:30am, $2/family.

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