Holiday Volunteering

Archived Responses: 

Christmas Day Volunteering

Dec 2005

Our family does not celebrate Christmas and now that Joshua is 2.5 y/o I'd like to start a family holiday tradition of helping others less fortunate during the holidays. Where can we help out with a Christmas dinner? What church, soup kitchen or other organization usually needs volunteers on Dec 25th? Thanks, Bobbie

Glide Church in San Francisco is a great place to help serve a Christmas meal to the needy, and if you're lucky after your shift is over you can slip upstairs and hear the fantastic gospel choir and uplifting, politically progressive, ultra-inclusive service. It's a Bay Area institution. anon

Mom and daughter want to volunteer on Thanksgiving

November 2003

Hello; We are ''Thanksgiving orphans'' this year. Single mom and school-age daughter seeking recommendations for a place in the East Bay where we could help out on Thanksgiving, that would include children being present as both recipients and volunteers. I searched the archives but did not see such a recommendation. Any ideas? The key points being children, and in the East Bay. Thanks! Want to help out on Thanksgiving

I don't know which of these could use help, but try looking at the list at (or type into google: berkeley homeless meals, and select the Berkeley Free Clinic link). They list all the meals in Berkeley, with contact numbers you can check. R.K.
Our West Berkeley preschool is providing the food for a Thanksgiving feast (as we do every year) for Harrison House, a village located in west Berkeley that offers housing and support services for homeless families. You might contact them to inquire if it would be appropriate for you & your daughter to volunteer for this T-Day feast. Harrison House is located at 711 Harrison St, TEL: (510) 525-0843 and website info: Bruce

Family looking to volunteer on Dec. 25

November 2002

My family has decided to attempt to with hold buying gifts for eachother this holiday season (easier said than done) and instead have a group family ''experience'' in lieu of gifts. We have been contemplating several ideas including a vacation (which time is quickly escaping on us to pursue this) and we have decided to do some kind of charity work. There are 8 of us adults in this group ranging in age from 22-58. We would like to do some type of charity work right around or on Dec. 25, and something that we can all participate in. Are there any suggestions out there or have other families done any ''alternative'' things in response to the over-indulgence we often feel during the holidays? Anywhere in the Bay Area would be good-- We were thinking about volunteering a children's hospital or youth shelter...Anyone affiliated with any needy organizations, please respond. Thanks. Happy Holidays! Maggie

Raphael House is a homeless shelter for families in SF (plus they have an outreach program for needy families in Oakland). In the past they have had opportunities to help with a Christmas dinner as well as opportunites to provide Christmas gifts for needy families. (415) 474-4621. I volunteered there for 5+ years and they provide really great services for really needy people. elizabeth
Have you thought about volunteering with Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco? I work at Glide and the holidays are truly amazing here! We are still looking for volunteers to serve Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day meals. Families and groups are welcome - children over age 7 are welcome with parents. Shifts are typically 1 hour to 2 hours. We also have a Grocery Bag Giveaway day December 18, and need volunteers for that as well. Finally, we also have a Toy Giveaway on December 20, and need both toys (especially for babies and young toddlers, and teenagers - unwrapped, new toys) and folks to help out at the toy giveaway. You can call Glide's volunteer office at 415-674-6081 for more details and to sign up. Ellen
Try Community Impact. I believe their web address is They are the perfect organization for the kind of charitable giving of time and energy you seek. Good luck. S. Hall

Thanksgiving volunteering for pre-teens

November 2001

I would like to know if anyone has suggestions for doing volunteer work around the holidays. I would like to involve my 9 and 12 year old daughters. Hopfully this would extend into a regular post holiday schedule. If you know of any opportunites perhaps you could post them on the newletter for all to see. Thanks

My family has volunteered at the Alameda County Food Bank in Oakland sorting food and putting it in boxes. Jamie
I can make two recommendations on how to find a volunteer opportunity for Thanksgiving day or any time of the year. Check out . This is the premier website for volunteer opportunities. Most Bay Area non-profit agencies use this website to find volunteers for their events. You can run a search by type of service you want to perform (one-time or on-going) and also by agency category and by zip code. I also recommend Community Impact, based in the Palo Alto area, organizes one-time volunteer opportunities all over the Bay Area, mostly evening and weekend events. They coordinate the activity with the agency and all you do is sign up with them and then show up for the event which really simplfies the process. Both of these sites will let you know if their event is appropriate for children. Good luck! Whitney
I'm a long time volunteer (with my husband and 8-year-old son) at Piedmont Gardens, a retirement/nursing home off of Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. I know they need volunteers to set up and serve from 10am-2pm on Thanksgiving. You can contact Elizabeth Chamish, the volunteer coordinator at 654-7172, ext. 113. Lee