This post was originally published Nov. 16, 2015, but was updated Dec. 2, 2016.
It's that time of year when we give thanks by donating our time, money and goods to local charities. It's also the time of year when most nonprofit organizations receive the majority of financial contributions and requests from volunteers. That's great, but the problem is that it can overwhelm popular charities; Glide often fills up its holiday volunteer spots within days of opening them up.
We've compiled a list of organizations all over the Bay Area that will be helping to feed the hungry over the holidays -- and throughout the year. Refer to this guide if you'd like to support these charities for upcoming events or even after the holidays are over. HandsOn Bay Area also has a fairly comprehensive volunteer calendar of organizations that could use your help. (If we missed your favorite nonprofit organization, please add it in the comments.)
The Marin and San Francisco Food Banks merged a few years ago to become the SF-Marin Food Bank, which serves up enough food for 107,000 meals every day. During this time of year, they collect nearly half of their year's operating budget through donations. They also gather thousands of pounds of non-perishable food during this time.
You can drop off food donations at any of the locations listed at the bottom of this page in San Francisco or Marin.
The St. Anthony dining room serves up 3,000 meals every day of the year. It also provides a number of programs, including medical assistance and a food pantry for the homeless and low-income families.
Volunteer positions are available in the dining room, free clothing program, and other parts of the organization. There are holiday-specific volunteer shifts available, as well as post-holiday shifts.
Glide's mission is to welcome everyone into their community and help those in need, whomever they may be. That happens through a number of programs, one of the biggest of which is a daily meal program that serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner (as well as special holiday meals).
See what donations are needed on their website.
Serve up meals by volunteering with the daily free meal program, though spots often fill up around the holiday season. More volunteers are needed during the holiday meals and for the grocery bag giveaway on Dec. 14. (Cantonese and Spanish speakers are especially needed during the giveaway.)
Curry without Worry started in 2006 to serve up hot meals to hungry people. Today, it serves tasty vegan meals every Tuesday in both San Francisco and Kathmandu.
Donations can be made online.
There's often tons of leftover food after the holidays. Fortunately, it doesn't need to go to waste. Food Runners picks up excess food from businesses and delivers over 15 tons of food each week to local food banks and charity programs.
To pick up and deliver all that food requires volunteers. Become a regular or an on-call runner.
The food bank provides food for over 240 agencies around the East Bay through its distribution network. It also operates an emergency food hotline, CalFresh outreach, and educational programs.
Check their website to find food drop off location. There are also a number of food drives happening right now. Or donate to the food bank's virtual food drive.
The food bank delivers food both directly to people in need and to partner nonprofit agencies which help distribute the donations.
Food donations can be accepted at both the Concord and Fairfield warehouses, which are particularly looking for fresh fruits and vegetables. Or use their interactive map to find a local community food drive. You can also donate online or start a Buy a Bag fundraiser.
Visit their website to find volunteer opportunities based on needs and location.
Loaves and Fishes provides meals to the hungry of Contra Costa County. They have five dining rooms that operate daily for lunch during the week, as well as a couple of partner meal services.
Check online for needed donations.
People are needed to serve food, prepare it, pick it up, and oversee projects. Check their website for information on how to volunteer Monday through Friday.
Although St. Vincent's is an international Catholic charity organization, the Marin chapter is independent; all donations to Marin stay in Marin. The chapter provides a number of programs to help those in need, such as a free dining room that serves daily meals. They also offer housing assistance that includes operating affordable low-income apartments.
You can donate online or you can drop off donations at the San Rafael location, including food to be used at the kitchen. Check online for donation needs. You can also sponsor a person in need.
Among its many programs, Community Action of Napa Valley operates a food bank for the region. It provides seven pantry locations, as well as runs distribution programs to seniors and low-income Napa residents.
Donate online via their website.
Contact the food bank director to volunteer to pick-up food, help sort, or work in the pantry. You can also contact the other programs' directors directly to volunteer for those programs.
The Redwood Empire Food Bank distributes nearly 15 million pounds of food to Sonoma County residents annually through its pantry, emergency food program, and grocery boxes to seniors and meals for kids.
Since 1974, Second Harvest has been distributing food to low-income residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. It now hands out 1 million pounds of food every week, half of which is fresh produce.
Right now, donations of frozen turkeys are being accepted at special holiday donation locations and times. You can also use their online tool to find local food drives near you. Or donate food directly at one of their three centers or multiple drop off locations.
Check online for volunteer opportunities.
Started as a little soup kitchen in 1981, San Jose's Martha's Kitchen now serves 25,000 meals every week. In addition to serving meals, Martha's Kitchen also prepares meals for other nonprofit organizations and distributes food.
Volunteers are needed in the kitchen program.