UPDATED Holiday Community Volunteer Opportunities

Brian Wood Blog

Updated list as of Dec 7. Originally posted here on Nov 30.


Community involvement is important to employees at AIS.

I’ve been meeting with the staff and volunteers over at the United Way over the past couple of weeks in order to determine the most effective ways for us to contribute.

With the holidays approaching, the folks at United Way have asked that I forward on the list below of volunteer opportunities that we might consider for helping those in need.

There are numbers and contacts for the various organizations in the list — and we already have a few employees who have stepped up and are getting involved.

Deadlines or dates of specific events are highlighted.

Best Regards,
Ken Valenti, Sr. Program Manager


Alpha Project

Help provide homeless San Diegans with basic needs this holiday season.  Clothing, socks, shoes, blankets, pillows and hygiene items are needed.  Donations can be dropped off at the Winter Shelter located on 16th and Island.


Arthritis Foundation

Come and help the 2012 Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run. Volunteer opportunities range from Reindeer Run Course Guides and Tinsel Town Kids Zone to Blitzen’s Breakdown and Water Elves.  Help support the 409,000 adults and 5,000 children who have been diagnosed with Arthritis in San Diego County. Come with your bells on!


Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad

Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad will be holding a holiday toy and supply drive for our two branches of Boys & Girls Clubs. Items that we are requesting follow:

  • Dolls, board games, sports equipment (jump ropes, balls, cones, hula hoops, etc.),
  • Individually wrapped candy canes, hot coco, holiday giveaways for Santa to give out
  • Wrapping paper, tape, holiday decorations, holiday music CD’s
  • Batteries (all sizes), art supplies (yarn, felt, glue, paint, paper, pipe cleaners, etc.), copier paper, duck tape, computer printers, vacuum
  • DVD movies (for ages 6-15), pots and pans, pot holders and spoons (for cooking club)
  • When: Now-December 31st, 2012
  • Where: Drive will be taking place at our Administrative headquarters at Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad Village Branch, 3115 Roosevelt St., Carlsbad
  • Contact: Allyson Evers or Joy Moersch 760-729-0207


Carlsbad Police Holiday Drive for Drug Endangered Children

Help the Carlsbad Police Department be able to give children of drug abusing parents something new and warm to wear when they are taken into protective custody at all hours of the day and night. Donate NEW cold weather jackets, coats, etc for children sizes, infants to 6 years.

  • Where: Collection bins are located at the Carlsbad Police Department, 2560 Orion Way, Carlsbad
  • When: Collecting until December 10th
  • Contact: Corporal Darbie Ernst at Darbie.Ernst@carlsbadca.gov


Chula Vista Serves

Volunteers and Donations Needed for Food Drive

Every year school nurses nominate low-income families to receive a food basket to assist them through the holidays. Officers from the Chula Vista Police Department deliver the food baskets along with a wrapped toy for each child in the family.

Your help is needed to box the canned foods. You may participate any or every evening.

  • When: Nov 26-29, Dec 3-6, 2012
  • Time: 6 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: 707 F Street, Chula Vista. Enter warehouse lot from the Woodlawn side.
  • Dress: Comfortable clothes & shoes
  • Questions? Call 619-425-9600 for Ginger Hartnett at x. 1760 or Sue Gardner at x. 3694.


Community Housing Works

The holiday season is here, and CHW needs your help this year in brightening Christmas for some of the neediest families living in our rental communities. Through the CHW Holiday Assistance program, you and/or your organization can give back to a very appreciative low-income family by providing toys, clothing, and holiday meal during the holiday season. It is an opportunity to have a direct impact on families and individuals who are in a particularly rough financial situation and make their holiday season very special.

There are two ways to participate in Holiday Assistance:

  • Adopt a Family – You will be provided with family profiles including gift suggestions, and we ask that you provide a holiday meal and gifts for the children.
  • Adopt a Senior – You will be asked to provide a holiday meal and a gift.

If you would like to participate as an adopter, please fill out the holiday adopter form. There is about a week (or less) turn-around time from the time you submit the form. So, the sooner you submit, the sooner you will be matched with a family.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact Heather Laird at hlaird@chworks.org or 760-432-6878. Thank you for helping to make this holiday season a special one for families in need.


Community Resource Center (CRC)

The 30th Annual Holiday Baskets program will provide a free holiday shopping experience for over 1,500 North County households in need. Participants fill their shopping carts with food and gifts donated by groups and individuals in the community.

  • Items in high need for Holiday Baskets:
    • Non-perishable Food of all kinds – SEVERE SHORTAGE
    • New Toys – suggested value of $15-20 per toy
    • Gently Used or New Bikes – all sizes
    • Gently Used or New Jackets/Coats – all sizes
    • When:  Through December 14
    • Where to collect:  North County Coastal communities as well as Vista, San Marcos, Carmel Valley, and Sorrento corridor.
    • Where to drop off: CRC DONATION CENTERS Open Daily from 10AM – 5PM 
      • Encinitas Thrift Store Donation Center – 111 “C” Street
      • Oceanside Thrift Store Donation Center – 1405 S. El Camino Real
      • Drop Off at Del Mar Fairgrounds available by appointment only by emailing hb@crcncc.org or calling 760-230-6305.
      • Contact for Drives: Suzanne Colby at (760) 230-6305 or email:  scolby@crcncc.org

Thousands of volunteers are needed for the Holiday Baskets program to help set up the distribution site at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Tasks are physical and equate to preparing a business for a grand opening.  Some heavy lifting (up to 40 lbs) needed.  Pre-registration of volunteers required for entry at fairgrounds site.  Walk-in volunteers not permitted.  Remaining available shifts are for supervised teens and adults only.

  • Where:  Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Details about directions, parking passes, and other details provided after required registration is received.
  • When:  December 13 & 14 for shifts of two hours or longer between 9AM and 3PM.
  • Contact for Volunteers: Laura J. Sweeney at (760)-753-1156 Ext. 1308 or email lsweeney@crcncc.org


Escondido Community Child Development Center

Family Fun Nights: At the two centers, we need volunteer to help with dinner, fun crafts for the family, activities, information and a parent education component.

  • Where:
    • Boyce CDC: 819 W. 9th Ave, Escondido (contact: 760-745-9215)
    • Clothier CDC 613 Lincoln Ave, Escondido (contact: 760-839-9330)
  • When: Thursday, December 6, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at both centers.

Craft Night: Volunteers are needed at this center to help with craft night, families are encouraged to attend, for dinner, crafts and a fun night for the family.

  • Where: Jones CDC 2269 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido (contact: 760-737-8880)
  • When: Thursday, December 13, 2012 5:30 – 7:30 PM


Interfaith Community Services

Santa’s Workshop

December 8th through December 20th (except Sundays)

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Central Escondido, CA

Volunteers would help Santa accept and sort donations for Adopt-A-Family.


International Rescue Committee

Give a toy to a refugee child!  The International Rescue Committee is hosting a holiday gift drive for refugee children who will be spending their first Christmas in San Diego.  Link: http://www.rescue.org/us-program/us-san-diego-ca/holiday-gift-drive

  • Gifts are due by Friday, December 14
  • Gifts can be sent by mail or dropped off at the IRC Office in City Heights: 5348 University Ave, Suite 205, San Diego
  • Contact: Sharon Kennedy at  Sharon.Kennedy@Rescue.org or (619) 641 7510 x249

Volunteer Opportunity: Mock Job Interviews.  Volunteer at International Rescue Committee’s El Cajon Office to give mock job interviews with adult refugees.   40 clients will be interviewed.

  • Date:          Wednesday, December 5, 2012
  • Time:          9:00 am – 11:15 am
  • Location:   131 E Main Street, Suite 201, El Cajon
  • RSVP:          Monica Johnson; mjohnson@uwsd.org or 858-636-4163


It’s All About The Kids

A local San Diego nonprofit supporting low income at-risk children. Join Mission Fed in supporting the December Holiday Fundraising Drive to benefit.

Donate now through December 31 online at: www.itsallaboutthekids.org by clicking on the Donate Today button.


Jewish Family Service

“Embrace-A-Family” is seeking volunteers to provide toys, clothes, food, gift certificates and more for families in need during the holiday season. To donate items off specific family wish lists, please visit www.jfssd.org/embrace and complete the Embracer form. For general donations, please contact Melinda Wilkes at melindab@jfssd.org or 858.637.3050.

Volunteer event to collect, compile, and organize gifts donated for Embrace a Family Holiday drive.

  • Date:    Sunday, December 9, 2012
  • Time:   8:30am-11:00am: 5 volunteers; 11:00am-1:30pm: 5 volunteers; 1:30pm-4:00pm: 10 volunteers
  • Location:   Warehouse in Kearny Mesa TBA
  • Margot Schein at margots@jfssd.org or (858) 637-3245



“Give From your Heart Holiday Gift Drive” is accepting donations of toys, books, clothing and gift cards for local foster children of all ages (bins are available for office collection drives).  Volunteers are also needed to assist with receiving, sorting and distribution of holiday donations.


The Rady Children’s Hospital Holiday of Miracles donation drive and Rady-o-Thon

Mission Federal Credit Union is proud to sponsor these two events.

Become a miracle maker today by donating online from now through December 16 at www.helpsdkids.org/holiday of miracles, or call in your donation during the KyXy 96.5 FM Holiday of Miracles Rady-o-Thon on December 13–December 14 at:

1-800-258-0007. Call in from 5 pm to 6 pm on Friday, December 14, and Mission Fed will match your pledge during our Power Hour Pledge Match.


Regional Task Force on the Homeless — We All Count

The annual WeAllCount homeless census enables our entire region to better understand the scope, impact and potential solutions to homelessness; and empowers our community to qualify for millions of dollars in critical federal funds.  Volunteers are needed throughout San Diego County to count and interview homeless individuals and families.  Training is provided. Enumerators are needed to count on Friday, January 25, 2013 from 5am-8am; Surveyors are needed to conduct interviews between January 25th, 2013 and February 1st, 2013.


San Diego Rescue Mission

Below you will find a wish list of items for our residents to bring them joy this Christmas season. Please feel free to select any or all of the requested items.  All items should be new, unopened and unwrapped. Please limit all gift cards to increments of $50 or less and have them labeled with the amount on each card.

For questions or to coordinate a drop-off, please call (619) 819-1749. Drop-offs must be scheduled.

Welcome Gift Bag for our new residents:

  • Twin Sheets, Pillow and pillow cases
  • Blankets (throw and twin), Alarm Clocks
  • Deodorant, New Towels and wash cloths
  • Shampoo and Conditioner. Bar Soap
  • Lotion, Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Journal, Socks


  • Books for all reading levels
  • Preloaded Compass card for SD transit (adult and child pass)
  • Small hair ties, clips and bows
  • Gift card to Toys-R-Us, JC Penney or Payless
  • Nintendo DS with games and batteries
  • Board Games (candyland, connect 4, etc.)
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Educational books

Volunteer opportunity:

Individuals / groups needed for San Diego Rescue Mission outreach to the homeless community from 8AM to 10:30AM on December 22 for our Christmas Community meal. Training provided.


San Diego Unified School District

As the holidays approach, San Diego Unified School District in the Office of Children Youth and Transition is coordinating an ‘Adopt- a- Family’ program for some very needy families who would not have holiday gifts or food if it was not for this program.

If you are interested in adopting a family, our team will identify a family in need, get information on the family being adopted and supply you with a copy of their “wish list”, which usually includes 1 or 2 toys for each child, a set of clothes per child, and gift cards from Target, Walmart, or grocery stores for the families. Wrap the presents, put gift tags on the items and either drop the items off at Annex 13 at the Eugene Brucker Education Center on Normal Street, or get the items to a contact person in our office.

  • Deadline to sign up: December 12.
  • Drop Off Location: Eugene Brucker Education Center 4100 Normal Street, Annex 13, San Diego, CA 92103
  • Contact: Susan Kellett at 619 725-8151 or skellett@sandi.net


San Diego Youth Services

Support struggling families this holiday season by donating “wish list” items to youth and their families.


SAY San Diego

Volunteer to help SAY’s 12th annual Adopt-A-Family program. Adopt-a-Family connects outside donors with low-income SAY clients during the holiday season. SAY San Diego has been matching over 250 families per year with donors, and are proud to continue this tradition. This fun event will be sure to help you get into the holiday spirit by giving you a chance to be part of a team that will make the holidays really special for less fortunate SAY families.

  • Where: All shifts will take place at our Aero Drive Office Complex.

8755 Aero Drive and 8765 Aero Drive (just across the way, upstairs)

Go to the SAY office and look for the signs

Please contact Marion for more information if you are interested in volunteering for the following shifts:

Shift title Day(s) Times
Adopt A Family set up: Wednesday, December 5th 1pm – 4pm
Donor Drop Offs: Friday, December 7th 9am – 1pm12:45pm – 5pm
Case Worker Pick Ups: Tuesday, December 11th 8:30am – 1pm12:30pm – 5:30pm
Wednesday, December 12th 8:30am – 1pm12:30pm – 5:30pm
Thursday, December 13th 8:30am – 1pm12:30pm – 5:30pm
AAF ‘Store’: Friday, December 14th 11:30am – 4pm
Monday, December 17th 9am – 1pm12pm – 4pm
Xtra Large Donor Drop Off Day: Monday, December 17th 8:30am – 11:30am
AAF Breakdown Day: Tuesday, December 18th 9am – 1p


South Bay Community Services


  • South Bay Community Services is hosting a holiday giving tree at Chula Vista Center to provide children with gifts for the holidays. The giving tree will run from Thanksgiving until December 14th , 11a.m. to 6p.m.next to Macy’s. Donors can select a child’s name and bring the unwrapped gifts back to the tree.
    • Contact Erica Johnson at 619.420.3620.
    • SBCS is also participating in its annual Adopt a Family program. Donors can help to provide gifts and a little holiday cheer to families in need in the south bay. If interested in adopting a family.
      • Contact Erica Johnson at 619.420.3620.
      • SBCS is also accepting donations of all kinds this holiday season to help supplement packages for children or families that might not get adopted this holiday season. If interested, donors can host a drive or simply donate items such as food, clothing, toys, blankets etc.  If interested in donating or hosting a holiday drive.
        • Contact Erica Johnson at 619.420.3620.

Volunteer events:

  • Chula Vista Middle is looking for volunteers to assist with their Elves Workshop on 12/12/12.  Volunteers will be helping students with arts and crafts projects.  Volunteers can sign up for two hour blocks beginning at 8:45 and ending at 3:15 but volunteers can of course stay longer.
    • Contact Sandra Bishop at the office at Chula Vista Middle School, (619) 498-6800
    • SBCS is looking for volunteers to help staff their giving tree at the Chula Vista Center, slots are available to volunteer from now until Dec. 14th 11a.m. to 6p.m.
      • Contact Liz Ertel or Erica Johnson at 619.420.3620
      • SBCS also needs volunteers starting the week of Dec. 17thto help put together gift packages for children and families this holiday season.
        • Contact Liz Ertel or Erica Johnson 619.420.3620.


Urban Youth Collaborative

School beautification day project at Cherokee Point Elementary School in City Heights. 50 volunteers are already committed. More help is needed!  Projects include window washing, trash removal, light landscaping, and other options. This is perfect for families or people of all ages. All volunteers will enjoy fresh homemade tortas!

  • Where: Cherokee Point Elementary School,3735 38th Street  San Diego, CA 92105
  • Date and time: Saturday, December 8th, 8am – 1pm
  • Contact info: Mr. Felipe Valdez, City Heights Community Pastor, Bethel Centro Familia, Cell: (619) 851-0785


UWSD Labor Participation

Volunteer event to sort and pack food for Holiday Food and Toy Distribution.  535 families will be served.

  • Date: Monday, December 17, 2012
  • Time: 12:30pm – 3:00pm (you can volunteer for the entire time or you can volunteer for a portion of the time)
  • Location: Qualcomm Stadium parking lot (North-east side) San Diego, CA 92105

Volunteer event to distribute the makings for a holiday meal and new toys. Up to 535 families will be served arriving to pick up food and toys.

  • Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
  • Time: 7:30am – 11:00am (you can volunteer for the entire time or you can volunteer for a portion of the time)
  • Location: Qualcomm Stadium parking lot (North-east side) San Diego, CA 92105

Contact: Monica Johnson; mjohnson@uwsd.org or 858-636-4163