Black Friday is in the rearview mirror, but the bulk of the holiday season still lies ahead. As people are buying gifts for giving and food for feasting, many opportunities are out there to remember and help those in need.
Here are several ways you can help:
THE SPIRIT OF GIVING RUN: The 5k Jingle Bell Run and Walk is held Dec. 10 in downtown Modesto. Proceeds will benefit the Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department’s scholarship program for low-income children, seniors and the disabled, as well as the Modesto Gospel Mission.
Those who bring canned food will be entered into a prize raffle. The 5K starts at 8 a.m., and a quarter-mile kids run to chase the Grinch out of Modesto starts at 9:15 a.m.
For more information, including entry costs, see www.modestospiritofgiving.org.
MODESTO GOSPEL MISSION: For its Happy Birthday, Jesus party Dec. 23 at noon, the mission is collecting new and unwrapped gifts for the homeless and needy. Gifts for men, women, teens and children can be taken to 1400 Yosemite Blvd. The donation dock is open 24 hours a day. Anyone interested in having a donation barrel at a church, school or business should call Natalie at 209-225-2951. Anyone interested in volunteering at the event should call Katie at 209-225-2952.
SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army’s annual Holiday Toy Drive needs help in providing toys to about 2,500 kids. The need is 5,000 new, unwrapped toys for children between the ages of newborn and 12 years. The army suggests easy and fun ways to help:
▪ Decorate a big box with a Salvation Army toy drive flier. Display the box at work, at a club or a church group meeting.
▪ Drop off a toy at a participating business. Call The Salvation Army for locations.
▪ Host a new, unwrapped toy drive at your workplace. Let co-workers and customers know with fliers or emails.
▪ If your civic group or club is having a holiday gathering, ask members to bring toys for The Salvation Army drive.
Also always needed are nonperishable food donations, said Capt. Deb Breazeale. She and her husband, Capt. Dwaine Breazeale, are the corps officers of The Salvation Army’s Modesto Citadel.
Donations of toys or food may be taken to The Salvation Army, at Seventh and I streets, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Toy donations should be delivered by Dec. 12. If pickup of donations is needed, call The Salvation Army at 209-522-3209.
LIGHTSHOWLANE: A Toys For Tots drive will be held Friday and Saturday on the street, which the rest of the year is known as Thornhill Way, off Snyder Avenue. A light show synchronized to more than 30 holiday songs includes eight homes. The show runs nightly from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., and donation barrels are out for Toys For Tots and The Salvation Army. To learn more, go to www.lightshowlane.com.
TURLOCK TOGETHER: Unwrapped toys (nothing needing batteries) for kids up to age 11 and nonperishable food items can be dropped off at all Turlock fire stations, City Hall, and participating churches and businesses. To request a donation barrel for your business, go to www.turlocktogether.org/make-a-difference.html.
To make monetary donations, send checks to Turlock Together, P.O. Box 1714, Turlock CA 95381-1714, or donate online at www.turlocktogether.org.
The Can Tree Breakfast will be 7 to 9 a.m. at the Salvation Army Community Center, 893 Lander Ave., Turlock. Cost is $5. There will be an auction at 8.
OPERATION BLUE SANTA: The Turlock Police Department seeks new, unwrapped toys (no toy weapons), gift cards, and monetary donations of cash and checks. Donation boxes are located at the Police Department, MOCSE Credit Union, East Main Skin & Body, and other locations. For more information or to sponsor a family, contact crime prevention specialist Michelle Backeroff at 209-656-3151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CERES CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL: Saturday’s festival, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Smyrna Park, and grand opening of nearby Christmas Tree Lane include a canned-food drive. Attendees may bring a can simply to give, or a can or two in exchange for a photo with Santa. See www.ci.ceres.ca.us.
BEARDS FOR KIDS: The Ceres Police Department has begun its toy drive, which continues through Dec. 16. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off in the Police Department lobby, the Ceres Community Center lobby, Cost Less Foods on Hatch Road, and Dollar General and Ace Hardware, both on Whitmore Avenue. Monetary donations can be dropped off at the Police Department, marked to the attention of “Beards for Kids,” Sgt. Yotsuya. Checks should be payable to “CPOA.”
SHOP WITH A COP: Riverbank Police Services is seeking monetary donations for its eighth annual event for underprivileged children, which will be held Dec. 20. To learn more, visit the department’s Facebook page.
CHiPs FOR KIDS: The Modesto office of the California Highway Patrol is seeking new, unwrapped toys for children of families in need. Donations may be taken to the CHP office, 4030 Kiernan Ave., before Dec. 16.
GIFT DRIVE: In partnership with Aspiranet, Starbucks is helping foster youth in Stanislaus County with its eighth annual gift drive. Through Dec. 18, foster youths’ gift wishes are on display at Starbucks stores in Modesto, Ceres, Escalon, Manteca, Oakdale, Patterson, Ripon, Riverbank, Sonora and Turlock. Customers can select a gift wish of a child in foster care from ages 5 to 17. Unwrapped gifts can be returned to the store location with the original gift tag attached. A list of participating Starbucks locations can be found at www.aspiranetholidays.org.
“YES WE CAN” FOOD DRIVE: The Democratic Women’s Club of Stanislaus County is sponsoring its ninth annual “Yes We Can” Food Drive in Stanislaus County, gathering nonperishables for distribution to food banks and community food drives. The drive will kick off with donations being accepted at the club’s Dec. 10 meeting at Denny’s, McHenry Ave. To learn more, call Patty Hughes at 209-303-4042 or email email@example.com.
TOYS FOR TOTS: Rabobank is collecting for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program for less fortunate children in Modesto. Through Dec. 14, new, unwrapped toys may be placed in drop boxes at the Rabobank branches at 1407 I St. and 3801 Pelandale Ave., Suite E7.
Also collecting for Toys For Tots is 21st Century Oncology of California. Through Dec. 14, the cancer treatment clinic at 1316 Nelson Ave., Modesto, will serve as a drop-off site. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information regarding the Toys for Tots drive, call 209-575-5870.
Oak Summit Masonic Lodge No. 112 F&AM in Knights Ferry has 21 drop-off points in Knights Ferry, Oakdale, Riverbank and Waterford for Toys For Tots donations. They’re being accepted through Dec. 15. In Knights Ferry: the 50’s Roadhouse and Rivers Edge Restaurant. In Oakdale: Ace Hardware, American Ag Credit, Cafe Bravo, Conlin Supply, Cost-Less Grocery, Kmart, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Oakdale Feed & Seed, Oak Valley Bank, Oak Valley Jewelers, Pak-Mail, Pizza Hut, Sara’s Dry Cleaners and Suzy Belen’s Mexican Restaurant. In Riverbank: Galaxy Theatres, Home Depot, Nifty’s Restaurant and Save Mart. And in Waterford: Pioneer Market.
OTHER TOY DRIVES: The Society for Disabilities is seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys for children between the ages of 5 and 18. Gift suggestions include dolls, board games, superhero toys, Legos, sports balls, and arts and crafts items. Gifts can be dropped off at 1128 Eighth St. between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. To learn more, call Anthony at 209-524-3536.
The Modesto Police K-9 Association will hold a toy drive Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beckwith Veterinary Hospital, 3232 Beckwith Court, as part of the Santa Paws event there. New, unwrapped toys for children and teens are sought. The event also will include K-9 demonstrations, pet photos with Santa, a 4-H petting zoo and a barbecue lunch.
A Battle of the Latino DJs will be held Sunday, with the admission price being one new, unwrapped toy with a value of at least $5. The show will run from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Red Event Center, 921 Eighth St., Modesto. All toys collected will be donated to The Salvation Army Modesto Citadel and the army’s Red Shield Center. For more information, call or text 209-303-2664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brightwood College will host a Holiday Fest with Santa on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and attendees are encouraged to bring a toy donation for a local charity. Activities at the fest will include visits with Santa, making holiday cards for Operation Gratitude, decorating Christmas ornaments, and enjoying hot chocolate, crafts, cookies and games for kids. Brightwood College is at 5172 Kiernan Court, Salida. For more information, call 209-543-7000 or visit www.brightwood.edu/modesto.
VETERANS FOUNDATION OF STANISLAUS COUNTY: Patio pavers can be purchased to honor a veteran or active-duty service member at the new Stanislaus Veterans Center. Pavers 4 by 8 inches are $100 for three lines of text; 8-by-8 pavers are $250 for six lines of text. A military seal is $50 more. Checks should be made payable to the Veterans Foundation of Stanislaus County. Mailing address is P.O. Box 576571, Modesto, CA 95357-6571. To learn more, call Becky Crow at 209-343-6292. Visit www.vetsfoundationofstancounty.org.
If your organization is sponsoring a program, send us your requests. Submissions should include:
▪ Organization and program name
▪ Date and time when program takes place
▪ Items needed (if taking monetary donations, note to whom checks should be made payable)
▪ Drop-off location and/or mailing address
▪ Deadline for donations
▪ Contact name, phone number and email
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