How to give back this holiday season

Last updated December 28, 2020

It is a vast understatement to say 2020 has been a challenging year, full of unprecedented twists and turns that continue to test the full breadth of our experience and our endurance – hope and hopelessness, deep tragedies and long-awaited victories. In the spirit of the holiday season, we choose this moment to pause, reflect on what we have to be thankful for, and the many ways we can give back to those less fortunate. Below is just a handful of the many opportunities available. If you know of others, please feel free to send them to We’ll keep updating this story all season long.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley is accepting donations this holiday season to provide food for the close to 500,000 Silicon Valley residents who rely on groceries from the organization every month. This year, Second Harvest’s Board of Directors is matching an additional $900,000 in gifts, for a total of $2.9 million. Every holiday gift donated is eligible to be matched $1 for $1 until December 25. To donate, click here.

South Palo Alto Food Closet  
South Palo Alto Food Closet is a partner agency with Second Harvest Food Bank providing food to local families. The organization is accepting donations this holiday season from 1:30pm to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday. Community members can also donate through their website. To donate, click here.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley— Fill the Barrel  
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley is asking community members to start a new holiday tradition this year by donating to their by Fill the Barrel campaign. The virtual campaign will help Second Harvest buy more food for the close to 500,000 Silicon Valley residents who rely on groceries from the organization every month. Community members can choose how they’d like to fill the barrel, such as donating $50 to purchase 85 pounds of whole chicken. To donate to the Fill the Barrel campaign, clickhere

Toys for Tots  
The Marine Toys for Tots program collects new and unwrapped toys during the months of October, November, and December each year for children and families in need. In 2019, the program distributed 50,215 toys and supported 41,321 children. This year’s campaign will be supporting Santa Clara County and community members can drop off toys at one of their drop sites or purchase a toy online through their website. To find a local toy drop off site click here. To purchase a toy online, click here

For those in need of assistance:

Sacred Heart Community Service is distributing more than 3,500 holiday food boxes to local families on Monday, December 21st from 9am to 4pm; Tuesday, December 22nd from 9am to 6pm; and Wednesday, December 23rd from 9am to 12pm. Holiday food boxes contain non-perishable items, vegetables, fruit, bread, and a turkey—roughly 50 pounds of food which is equivalent to $100 worth of groceries. The food box distribution is walk up only and community members are advised to bring something to transport their food. For additional information on Sacred Heart’s holiday program, click here.

City of Santa Clara— Food for Families 
The City of Santa Clara is partnering with The Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank to provide Santa Clara residents free essential food items through the Food for Families program. The program runs every Wednesday through December 2020 from 2pm— 3:30pm at the Salvation Army on Homestead Road in Santa Clara. Families need to pre-register online once for this drive-thru and contactless pick up service. To sign up for this free service, click here

Sacred Heart Community Service
Sacred Heart Community Service programs are offering Thanksgiving distributions on Monday, November 23 and Wednesday, November 25 between 9 am— 4 pm and Tuesday, November 24 from 9 am— 6 pm. All services are walk up and there is no drive through distribution on Wednesday, November 25. For more information on how to receive a Thanksgiving distribution, click here