Oakland is full of superfun stuff to do during the holiday season. Shopping districts host festive street fairs. Normally-cool institutions like the Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, the Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland become even cooler when they get all gussied up with lights and decorations. The Holiday Parade is must-see, as are the adorable Christmas lights on Picardy Drive. Artemis at City Homestead has an incredibly thorough round-up of this year’s events.
But the holidays are a difficult time for many in our community, those who have fallen on hard times and those who never had very much. It’s important to remember those less fortunate than we are during this period, and try to find ways to give back.
Here are two opportunities to give back in Oakland this holiday season.
30th Annual Oakland Mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive: There’s not too much to explain here – it’s a toy drive. Families who can’t afford to buy toys for their kids sign up with the City, people give money, and then the Toy Drive organizers use the money to buy toys for the kids. I don’t know how many of you grew up in a household that struggled to buy Christmas presents, but whether you did or didn’t, it can’t possibly be difficult to imagine how hard it is for a child to spend a month seeing bounty everywhere they turn, and then not having anything for themselves come Christmas Day.
Every child deserves to wake up that morning to something new and special under that tree. Oakland North had a touching post about the toy drive sign-ups last week, which not only said that more families were signing up this year than last (not surprising), but also that they ran out of toys last year.
So please, help make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again this year. To donate, send a check payable to “The Mayor’s Toy Drive” to:
Office of the Mayor
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
The federal tax identification number is 94-6000-384 and the State one is 800-3838-4. Even small donations help! Please send something!
If you have some cash to spare left over after your toy drive donation, you could do a whole lot worse than sending some over to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. With the food bank’s bulk buying power, they can get a lot more food for whatever you can afford to spend than you could at the grocery store, so remember, giving money helps more than giving food.
The Food Bank makes it easy to donate online, and I’ve tried to make it even easier for you guys by setting up a blogoaksphere virtual food drive. Just click on that link or on the button below to give:
I know my readers are a generous group, and I’ve set an initial goal of $1000 by December 20th. I think it’s doable, and in my fantasies, we will exceed it and have to change the goal to something even higher. I hope other Oakland bloggers will join in and ask their readers to become part of the Blogoaksphere virtual food drive as well. If you’re interested, you can contact me on the form here, and I’m going to try to get some donation buttons to put up out to other bloggers on Monday.
Remember, anything you can give helps, even if it’s only $10.
If you have any holiday giving traditions of your own you’d like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.