Share your holiday spirit

If you’re anything like most Americans, you spent yesterday gorging yourself on turkey and stuffing, then today buying lots of things you probably don’t need. Which is, of course, very fun and all that. But as the holiday season gets underway, I encourage everyone to take some time out of their busy schedules of shopping and parties and decorating and try to do something that will make the holidays a little bit brighter for the less fortunate among us. Here are two ways to do so right here in Oakland.

Mayor’s Toy Drive

The Oakland Mayor’s office has been sponsoring an annual toy drive since 1978. Last year, the program was able to provide toys to more than 9,000 needy children in our community. So next time you’re out shopping for yourself or your family and friends, try to stop buy a toy store and pick something up. Donations are accepted at any Fire Station or at City Hall. If shopping isn’t your thing, they’re just as happy to accept a check (made out to “The Mayor’s Toy Drive”), which you can mail to

Mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive
Office of the Mayor
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Donations are tax deductible (Federal Tax ID #94-6000-384; State Tax ID #800-3838-4). If you really can’t afford to buy a single toy, you can always give the gift of time. They’ll need volunteers for toy distribution on December 21-23rd. Call 238-7366 for more info. (Non-violent toys only).

Alameda County Food Bank

For many people, the holidays are a time to indulge in all sorts of edible treats. But for the 40,000 people served by the Alameda County Food Bank every week, this time of year can be a painful reminder of all that they don’t have. Three ways to help out. You can donate food, donate money (super easy! you can donate online), or go in and volunteer.

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