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Simple Ways to Help During the Holidays

Local nonprofits that serve the East Bay suburbs' most needy have their wish lists, too.

You may have your list of gifts you still need to buy for friends and family, but you also want to help local people in need. Maybe money is still tight this year, and you can’t give much. Or maybe you’re looking for other ways to give besides writing a check.

The Volunteer Center of the East Bay has compiled its annual holiday “wish lists,” submitted by Contra Costa County nonprofits. With five days until Christmas, the groups still welcome holiday donations. A few would also welcome volunteers for specific holiday-related events.

Some of the items on the list are pretty simple, low-cost and practical. For example, the Meals on Wheels Senior Outreach Program needs donations of paper towels and toilet paper.

Organizations that work with children and families, such as the Concord-based Bay Area Crisis Nursery, are looking for unwrapped toys and sports equipment for all ages, arts and crafts supplies and blankets.

The Volunteer Center of the East Bay’s website lists details of nonprofits’ wish lists and information on the nonprofits and how to contact them to make donations. The center’s website also has a list of some organizations that are seeking volunteers.

And, here are major nonprofits that also serve people in need in the East Bay suburbs. They, too, welcome donations of money as well as of specific items.

  • Christmas for Everyone, a Concord-based nonprofit that helps Contra Costa residents in need during the holidays, is looking for donations of gloves, hats, blankets, and teen toys. For the Christmas Day meal it will serve at the New Hope International Church in Concord, it is looking for volunteers to help prepare for the event and to serve on Dec. 25.
  • Shelter Inc. which helps put people in homes, is in need of nonperishable food, personal care items and bedding.
  • The Monument Crisis Center provides food, nutitional education and assistance to at-risk and low-income people in Contra Costa County. It is collecting items for its holiday food boxes that are handed out to families. Its wish list includes food, diapers and toiletries.
  • The Alameda County Community Food Bank's Holiday Food and Fund Drive continues through Jan. 31. The food bank serves 48,000 throughout the Tri-Valley and the rest of Alameda County each week. You can start your own food drive or donate money. For every $1, the food bank distributes $5 worth of food.

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