The Time is Now to Donate to Local Charities

If you've got the holiday spirit and want to help less fortunate families by Christmas, the deadline is here

If you are feeling in a charitable mood this holiday week, the deadline to help local families in need  is here.

In order to get gifts and food to families in time for Christmas, local agencies need donations now. Some donations, like food, are welcome at all times, not just the holidays. And local agencies would of course be grateful for any year-end monetary donations.

Today, Sunday, Dec. 19, is the deadline for the toy drive at Brian's Restaurant in the Rancho Shopping Center. Anyone who brings in a new, unwrapped toy will receive a coupon for a free kids meal. The restaurant closes at 3 pm.

A free breakfast is available for anyone bringing a new, unwrapped gift for ages 12 and up to the Courtyard by Marriott Palo Alto-Los Altos, 4320 El Camino Real, through Dec. 22. Donators get a breakfast coupon that's good until Dec. 31.

The California Highway Patrol is taking toy and food donations through tomorrow as part of its "CHiPs for Kids" holiday program. Drop off locations are located at CHP offices around the Bay Area. There's one in Redwood City at 355 Convention Way, in San Jose at 2020 Junction Avenue, and in San Francisco at 455 Eighth Street.

The Community Services Agency in Mountain View, 204 Stierlin Road, will be open to distribute gifts and food to families this week, and there may be shortages of needed items that you could supply.

One of the biggest needs the agency has is for teen gifts or gift cards. Pajamas for older kids, ages 8 through 18, are also needed. Other items on the agency's wish list this year include books, stuffed animals, board games and stocking stuffers.

Needed holiday food items include baking-related foods like pie crusts and filling, cake mix, and condensed milk, spices and condiments, canned or boxed potato products, canned or jar gravies, pudding and gelatins, and special treats like chocolate, honey, dried fruits and nuts.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is conducting its holiday food drive into January. The goal this year is to collect 1.7 million pounds of food, or $11 million. There are bins at supermarkets all over town.

If you're going out to see holiday lights this week, take some canned food over to the Severns-Pease Christmas Display, 1164 and 1168 Tangerine Way, Sunnyvale. This amazing light and music display is trying to raise $80,000 worth of food and monetary donations for Second Harvest by Jan. 1. Your family will be delighted with the show, and you'll help feed a hungry family. Drop by anytime between 5:30 and 11 pm every night until New Year's Day.

If you've got a supply of gently used books, or would consider buying new books for those who can't afford to, The Linden Tree children's bookstore at 170 State St,. is collecting books this holiday season for the Gift of Reading program.



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