The holiday season is the perfect time to give back, whether that’s donating your time or funding projects important to your community. There’s no shortage of organizations in San Diego that could use your support.
Here are a few food and clothing drives, volunteer opportunities, and toy drives in San Diego accepting donations of your time and resources this winter.
Toy Drives in San Diego
Toy drives are an easy day to bring some joy to local families in need. Many of the campaigns also collect new gifts for adults in families. Check websites for the kinds of gifts to purchase before you go, as there may be some stipulations depending on the organization.
- San Diego Marine Corps Toys for Tots: The local Marine Corps chapter makes it easy on San Diego residents with new, unwrapped toy drop-off sites at the Naval Marine Corps Reserve Center or any San Diego Fire Department.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego: The Ronald McDonald House hosts various fundraising events over the holidays, from sponsored meals to donation drives. Their toy drives are often the most successful.
Fast Lane Drive organizes a toy drive for the Ronald McDonald House Charity every year. In 2021, the auto club set a new record with over 500 toys donated to the charity’s donation center. Those toys arrived in style, too, in the trunks or backseats of members’ luxury supercars.
Holiday Food Drives
Help put food on the table of San Diego families by participating in holiday food drives. Remember that most groups that organize food drives will take food donations well after the holiday rush. In fact, donations tend to drop off after those winter holidays.
- The Community Food Connection: The volunteer-led organization focuses on feeding the food insecure in and around Poway. They collect food donations of cans and pantry items on top of fresh fruits and veggies from backyard gardens.
- San Diego Food Bank: Visit the city-wide organization’s main distribution center in Miramar to donate canned items and dry goods. The food bank’s website includes a list of the most-needed food items and items they cannot accept.
If you’d like to make a monetary donation to local food banks instead, the San Diego Food Bank’s Nourishing Neighbors campaign allows you to make donations at any local Vons or Albertsons. The organization’s website can also help you find a holiday food fund drive near you if you’d like to make a targeted donation.
San Diego Clothing Drives
If you’ve accumulated too much stuff over the last year, donate items in good condition to a worthy cause. Here are several organizations in the San Diego area that will take gently-used clothing and other goods.
- Father Joe’s Villages: Donate virtually any new or gently-used clothing items at donation sites throughout the San Diego area. The nonprofit works to support the homeless through giving campaigns and independence-building programs.
- San Diego Rescue Mission: This organization has provided housing, meals, and necessary goods to San Diegans experiencing homelessness since 1955. View their list of urgent needs before you donate. Children’s shoes and socks are always on the list.
Use the approved organization list from the Downtown San Diego Partnership for more donation sites in the San Diego area. The citywide motto is “donate with dignity.” Working with nonprofits specializing in homelessness allows you to ensure your donated goods are being used and delivered with dignity and respect to San Diegans who need them.
San Diego Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer opportunities in San Diego are easy to come by, no matter the season. If you’re interested in volunteering, joining, or lending a helping hand this season, here are a few groups that need the support.
- Lions, Tigers & Bears: If helping animals is your passion, this animal sanctuary welcomes volunteers that would like to support fundraising efforts or help run the day-to-day operations at the park.
- Mama’s Kitchen: This volunteer-led nonprofit supports San Diego residents at risk of malnutrition due to illness. The organization is always looking for volunteers to help deliver meals, offer kitchen support, or do clerical work.
No matter what your passion is, there are volunteer opportunities to meet your desire to help in San Diego. An excellent way to get to know the needs of your communities is to get involved with groups that make it their mission to pinpoint those needs.
San Diego’s Philanthropic Auto Club
At Fast Lane Drive, the idea of giving back to our communities is a key component of our mission as an auto club. Our philanthropy in San Diego doesn’t stop at the end of the holiday season, either.
In San Diego County, we work with nonprofits like Voices for Children, an organization that supports kids in the foster care system, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and San Diego Coastkeeper, an advocacy group that works to address climate change in the region. These organizations are important to our members, so they’re important to us.
When you join Fast Lane Drive, membership comes with the expectation that you’ll get involved in community services on a deeper level through volunteerism and donation work. If that sounds right up your alley, join us at Fast Lane Drive.