Giving opportunities ramp up as Christmas approaches

Salvation Army seeks toy donations

    The Salvation Army of Hollister is seeking donations of toys that will be given to local families in need. The annual Christmas gift drive provides toys, clothing, special-needs gifts or other wish list items to kids and families experience financial hardship. Toys can be dropped off at the Hollister location, 910 Buena Vista Road. The public is urged to drop off toys early as delivery begins on Dec. 17. For more information, call Maj. Samuel Rodriguez at 724-3922.

Paws to Light Up the Night

Residents can support the animals that are sheltered at Pet Friends Rescue and the mission of the agency, which provides shelter to homeless animals and a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Pet Friends has a 30-foot Tree of Lights at its center on Buena Vista Road, with all the lights representing donations. For a $10 donation, a light will be lit on the tree and for $25, the donor will also receive a handcrafted ornament. The lights can be purchased in memory of a beloved pet, a current loved one, or as a gift to someone who loves animals.

    Donations of items for use in the shelter are also needed. Some items needed include scoopable litter, washable pet beds, hand sanitizer, canned cat food, paper towels and Kleenex, brooms, polar fleece blankets and padded cat blankets. For a full list of supplies, call Pet Friends at 634-1191 or visit Volunteers are also needed to help care for the animals.

Sheriff’s Association hosts toy drive

    The San Benito County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Annual Christmas Toy Drive is Dec. 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in front of the Target store, 1790 Airline Hwy. The group will accept unwrapped toys and monetary donations for local children who otherwise would not receive gifts. Santa Claus will make an appearance during the toy drive.

Holte Holiday Dinner

    The annual Holte Holiday Dinner, which includes a free meal that is open to anyone in the community on Christmas Day, is in need of volunteers and donations to make the December dinner as successful as the recent Thanksgiving meal.

    Those interested in volunteering or making a donation, can call Larry Brown at 637-9037.

Community Food Bank food drive

    The Community Food Bank for San Benito County kicked off its annual holiday food drive with donation barrels going out to local schools in October, and more barrels have gone out to local businesses in recent weeks. The food drive continues through Dec. 27. In addition to the barrels this year, the Community Food Bank has launched a Virtual Store, where residents can donate money to a specific need at the food bank including Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    The Virtual Store page allows residents to choose how they would like their donation to be spent – on a healthy food backpack, a weekly food bag, an emergency food bag, administrative costs or the holiday dinner. Rodriguez noted that administrative costs were added as an option due to the delay of grant funding. Every person who donates will receive a green T-shirt that says, “I Donated My Lunch Money to the Community Food Bank of San Benito County.”

    To donate to the Community Food Bank of San Benito County, visit one of the barrel donation sites around town at local schools and businesses, or visit the virtual store at For more information or for families who would like to find out more about the Food Bank’s services, call 637-0340 or visit the office at 1133 San Felipe Road.

Severinsen Street food drive

    The residents of Severinsen Street, who always decorate fully for the Christmas season, will host a canned food drive for the Community Food Bank on Dec. 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Residents are invited to drop canned or non-perishable goods off with Santa, who will be visiting the street that night. Community members can also drive through the light displays after making a donation.

Make a child’s holiday brighter

CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates of San Benito County, is collecting gifts for county foster children. Those who would like to can help by sponsoring a child, donating unwrapped gifts or contributing a monetary donation to the CASA Holiday Project.

    There are about 80 children in the dependency program, many of which are in foster or group homes. Most of these children will not be with their families to celebrate the holidays. 

For more information, call CASA at 637-4992.

Mini Max toy drive

Mini Max Storage and City Life Christian Centers are hosting a toy drive for local children. Residents or local business owners can drop a toy off at Mini Max Storage, 2450 San Juan Road, now until Dec. 17. The toys will be given out to local children on Dec. 17, at 3:30 p.m. Santa Claus and costumed super heroes will be handing out toys to the children who have received vouchers for a toy. Some toys have been donated by the local Vikings football players.

Those who know a family in need or who would like to donate, can call Michelle Rodarte at 524-5475 for more information. Rodarte said they were asking local schools and labor camps to help select some of the families, but others are welcome to call to participate.

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