Donate to one of the food drives this holiday. (Courtesy of the SF-Marin Food Bank)
This post was originally published Nov. 16, 2015 and was updated October 31, 2019.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.