Giving Back This Holiday Season and All Year

We recently posted a thread over on Next Door asking our neighbors how they give back and organizations they love to support. People posted so many wonderful opportunities to get involved this holiday season and all year round that we wanted to share them here on The Front Porch. 

It's quite a list! We've divided opportunities up into categories to help you navigate to ones that might be a good fit. It's by no means an exhaustive list though. If you have more to add, please leave a comment below!


Help for the Holidays

Redwood City/ San Mateo County Toy & Book Drive: The holiday season is a time of joy, happiness, family, and friendship.  Unfortunately, there are local kids and families in need, who don’t have the opportunity to share in the spirit of the holidays. Donate toys and books, host a toy barrel, or if in need sign up to receive toys from the drive.

St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room provides hot, nutritious meals fifty-two weeks a year.  It charges no fees, asks no questions and turns no one away.  On a similar basis, the Clothing Distribution Center provides the basic apparel needs of women, children and men two days per week.  All clients being served a meal, provided with apparel or receiving health care advice are treated with dignity and respect and received in a spirit of hospitality. See upcoming volunteer events or donate here.

Second Harvest Food Bank: Based in Silicon Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is one of the largest food banks in the nation. The Food Bank distributes nutritious food, including more fresh produce than any other food bank in the country, through a network of over 320 nonprofit partners at more than 850 sites. Donate food or learn more about volunteering. 

Salvation Army: Volunteer to deliver food to families in need for the holidays. Sign up here.


Support Human Rights & Equality

International Institute of the Bay Area: The purpose of the International Institute is to enable immigrants, refugees, and their families to become effective, responsible participants in community life. The Institute is accepting applications for volunteers for their Citizenship Program. Volunteers will help Spanish-speaking clients to fill out their citizenship application forms, in English, at monthly workshops. Ability to write in English and basic Spanish communication skills are required. Contact the Redwood City office at (650) 780-7530 or visit the International Institute of the Bay Area website.

Showing Up for Racial Justice - Bay Area: SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. Volunteer or donate here.

Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition: An organization that works to equip individuals, empower communities and engage non-profits with best practices to sustain in the fight against human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. See upcoming events here.

Causa Justa/Just Cause: Through rights-based services, policy campaigns, civic engagement, and direct action, Causa Justa improve conditions in neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area, and contributes to building the larger multi-racial, multi-generational movement needed for fundamental change. Their work includes housing rights, immigrant rights, youth leadership, and the Black Priorities Project. Volunteer or donate here.


Volunteer for Literacy & Education

Traveling Storytime: The program is sponsored by the Redwood City Public Library's Youth Services Department, whose goal is to reach as many of the city's children as possible to instill the love of literature, learning and libraries. Each week, trained volunteers read to groups of children in daycare centers and preschools throughout Redwood City. Volunteer here.

Project Read: Established in 1987, Project READ is a free, volunteer-based literacy program serving adults, children and families. They offer tutor training for new community volunteers five times a year and match trained tutors with students who are on the waiting list based on their mutual interests, schedules and teaching and learning preferences. Learn more about volunteering or donate here.

Healthy Cities Tutoring: An organization that helps kids who struggle to succeed in school. Community volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to children who find school a challenge to improve their academic success and raise their self-esteem. Volunteer or donate here.

Reading Partners: Reading Partners mobilizes communities to provide students with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. Volunteers become so much more than just reading partners. By sharing their knowledge and experience, they become mentors, friends, and positive role models to the children they work with. Volunteer as little as one hour a week.


Help Youth in Our Community

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula / Redwood City Clubhouse: The Mervin Morris branch at 1109 Hilton Street in Redwood City provides programs for youth ages 6-18 in academics, arts, athletics, technology, leadership, and more. Volunteers are sought for most programs, including individual tutors. Please contact Volunteer Director Sohi Sohn Chien at (650) 322-8065 x 114, or Redwood City Club Unit Director Michael Jones at (650) 364-0176 x101. For more info see our web site at

Casa of San Mateo County: Join a national network of more than 76,000 volunteers standing up for the rights of abused and neglected children in their community. Dedicated CASA Volunteers help children heal from trauma and access the services they need to thrive. Learn more about the steps involved in becoming a CASA Volunteer.

Ever Forward Club: Founded in 2004, the Ever Forward Club mentors young men of color in middle and high school by providing them with safe, brave communities that build character and transform lives. Donate, attend an event, or sign up to volunteer.

Peninsula College Fund: An organizations that assists low-income, underserved and often overlooked first-generation college students from the Mid-Peninsula in their quest to graduate, and helps them achieve their education and career goals. Learn more about donating, volunteering, or partnering here


Care for Community Health 

AIDS Community Research Consortium: ACRC is a community-based non-profit organization who caters to the needs the HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis C and at risk communities. They are dedicated to empowering clients, communities, and their partners through nutrition, education, prevention, consultation, and advocacy. Donate or learn more about volunteering here.

There with Care provides a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to children and families during the critical phases of a medical crisis. They serve families referred by medical agencies, by building a network of services and people who ease the burden of life’s day-to-day obligations with compassion and care. Learn more about volunteering or sponsoring a family for the holiday season here.


Support our Seniors

Meals on Wheels: Every week, Peninsula Volunteers delivers over 1,700 hot, nutritious meals to primarily homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in San Mateo County who are unable to cook for themselves. Get involved or donate here

Sequoia Village: Enabling members to continue living in their homes and communities as they age by providing access to support services. Learn more about volunteering or donate here.

Veterans Memorial Senior Center: Make a difference in your community and volunteer to work with your local seniors. The Veterans Memorial Senior Center partners with Retired & Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) of San Mateo County to provide volunteer experiences for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Maryse Frivold at (650) 780-7276. You can also learn more about volunteering with seniors here


Get Outdoors

CityTrees: A volunteer group that promotes and supports urban forestry efforts in Redwood City. CityTrees works with the Redwood City Public Works Department to plant and maintain trees along Redwood City’s streets, at schools, and on other publicly owned property. Visit to get more information on volunteer opportunities.

Parks Projects: Volunteer with the Park Clean Up Crew to help the parks system to stay beautiful by picking up trash, rake sand, clean playground equipment, remove debris, and more. Contact Valerie Matonis, Park Manager, for more information.