For some Palo Alto residents, the greatest gift they'll receive this holiday season is the gift they'll give. From the act of gathering warm coats, food, toys and cold-weather supplies for the needy to offering a smile on Christmas, there are opportunities this season give of one's time and resources. Below is a short list of places where one can volunteer between now and Christmas Day.
Ecumenical Hunger Program
Kids and families in need can use help this year through the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto. The Family Sharing Program allows volunteers to "adopt" a family and provide food or gifts for the Christmas holiday. The program will provide a wish list along with names and ages of the family members. Through separate programs, gifts for teens and holiday food boxes are also needed. To volunteer or donate, call 650-323-7781, ext. 1400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ehpcares.org.
Here's a chance to help seniors this holiday season. Volunteers are needed to serve food during the Lytton Gardens Holiday Party on Wednesday, Dec. 23 from 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. or the Christmas breakfast on Dec. 24 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Volunteers can also take part in the Dec. 31 Residents Holiday Party from 1-3 p.m. Volunteers 16 and older are needed (or ages 10-15 year if accompanied by an adult). Lytton Gardens, 649 University Ave. Register to volunteer through Hands On Bay Area, handsonbayarea.org.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
This grassroots neighborhoods organization based in Palo Alto offers help to individuals and families at risk of being displaced from their homes. On Saturday, Dec. 19, a special guest, "Santa Chuck," will fly in to spread the cheer for kids and families alike. Volunteers are needed to help with the photo booth and other festivities, which include giveaways. Two-hour shifts are available: 9-11 a.m.; 10 a.m. to noon; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 1-3 p.m. Volunteers are especially needed from 9-11 a.m. Location: Highway Church, Mountain View; 2050 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View. Donations are also needed to pay for hotel vouchers and food, especially during the cold weather. Contact NeighborsHelpingNeighbors2013@gmail.com; facebook.com/NeighborsHelpingNeighborsPaloAlto.
St. Anthony's Church and St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room
From toy giveaways to a holiday meal, the offerings at this longtime refuge for the homeless and hungry will need volunteers to make it all happen. Unwrapped, new toys for children 2 to 14 years old or gift cards should be delivered to St. Anthony's Rectory Office,3500 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, located on the right hand side of the entrance driveway right before the Chapel. The Rectory will be open to receive donations through Dec. 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Christmas Toy Giveaway, hosted by St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room and the Menlo Park Fire Department, takes place Dec. 24 from 7-11 a.m. Christmas dinner at St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room will occur Dec. 25 from noon to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers should call 650-365-9664. paduadiningroom.com/?cat=28.