While shoppers rush home with their presents this season, the staff at local charities that aid the poor are hoping some gift-givers will extend the generosity to them.
The nonprofits are planning to provide hot meals and gifts to those in need this year. Here are a few ways to give.
• The Urban Ministry Food Closet, located at 425 Hamilton Ave. in Palo Alto, is getting set for its Christmas Day dinners. Donations of bottled water, yogurt and cheese, juice boxes, chili in cans, pork and beans, hearty soups, stuffing and all the fixings are needed. The Christmas meals are potluck, so donations are welcome up until the meal. Gift cards of $15-20 to local grocery and drug stores, along with items such as new socks, underwear, sleeping bags, toiletries, knitted hats, gloves and sweatshirts are also needed. Call 650- 853-8697.
• St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room at 3500 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park needs donations of frozen food along with turkeys and hams. Local churches will be decorating the dining room for the holidays. Also, the Menlo Park Fire Department on Dec. 23 will be providing free toys to children in the church parking lot. Begins at 8 a.m. Organizer Max Torres said the dining room is also looking for more permanent volunteers who are willing to make a commitment of coming one day a week throughout the year. "Our main focus is on feeding the people; providing a hot nutritious meal Monday through Saturday at our facility," Torres said. He can be contacted at email@example.com. The dining room phone number is 650-365-9665.
• The Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos is offering its annual Holiday Sharing Program. "Basically our goal is to provide every child with a toy, stocking stuffers, stuffed animals, board games and new pajamas," Alison Hopkins, director of volunteers, said. They are looking for volunteers to work morning and afternoon shifts from Monday through Friday. The deadline for the donation of toys has passed, but they are seeking food donations through Dec. 22. Contact Alison Hopkins to volunteer or make donations at 650-964-4630 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The East Palo Alto Police Department is seeking non-used and non-wrapped toys for its annual Christmas toy drive. Donations will be accepted through Christmas morning. Call Vickie Porter at 650-853-3163 to arrange for a donation.