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Best Places to Volunteer Over the Holidays in the Bay Area

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One of the best ways to give back over the holidays is to volunteer in your area. There are many worthy places in the Bay Area to volunteer whether you want to connect with nature, work with kids or play with some very cute dogs.

It’s important to remember that while volunteering over the holidays is wonderful, these organizations need volunteers year round. So please consider getting involved after the holidays as well.

1. St. Anthony Foundation

The St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco serves hot meals every day and gives clothing to people in need. When you volunteer there over the holidays, you can sort clothes or help serve a meal in the dining room. One of the best parts about the St. Anthony Foundation is the opportunity to interact with your neighbors after you serve. Share a meal with them, and you’ll start to hear all the fascinating stories about the people around you.

2. Friends of the Urban Forest

The goal of Friends of the Urban Forest is to make San Francisco greener. The group plants street trees and sidewalk gardens throughout the city and then continues to take care of them. The green landscape helps beautify neighborhoods, cleans the air and reduces pollution. No matter what season you’re in, there’s always time to take care of the trees and gardens around you.

3. Cityteam San Francisco

Cityteam San Francisco offers a variety of programs to help people in need. You can volunteer at the food pantry or by serving dinner. The organization also has a Christmas community outreach program where volunteers can serve hot food, distribute clothes, give haircuts and manicures and perform foot washing. It’s the perfect way to give back during the holiday season.

4. The Surfrider Foundation

Maybe being outside is more your speed, especially in the temperate Bay Area climate. One option is to volunteer with the San Francisco chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to protect oceans and beaches from pollution. If you want to volunteer, there are cleanups every first and third Sunday of the month at Ocean Beach and a cleanup at Baker Beach every last Saturday of the month. You don’t even have to register in advance — just show up with a positive attitude.

5. Rocket Dog Rescue

This Bay Area dog rescue has saved the lives of over 8,100 animals during its 15 years. Volunteers entirely run the shelter, and these dedicated individuals work to keep dogs from entering overcrowded kill shelters. Either volunteer your time by walking the dogs, transporting the dogs or handling adoptions. Who knows — you might end up with a dog of your own for the holidays!

6. Project Open Hand

Project Open Hand’s community nutrition program is a great way to give some love over the holiday season. The organization serves meals to seniors and adults with disabilities in centers all across the San Francisco area. Whether you have a car or prefer to walk, you can deliver meals to Project Open Hand’s homebound clients or even help prepare and serve meals with love. There’s a spot for everyone who has a desire to help.

7. Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect provides comprehensive services for individuals in the Bay Area who are at risk of becoming homeless, already homeless or are moving from homelessness to housing. When you volunteer over the holidays, you can choose to go individually or with a group to make a difference in people’s lives.

8. West Oakland Punks With Lunch

Start making a difference today by getting in on the ground floor with West Oakland Punks With Lunch. The group makes around 150 lunches a week for the homeless population in West Oakland. You can volunteer to help make the lunches or distribute them with needle kits, hygiene packs and other items.

9. Glide

Glide has been making San Francisco a better and more loving place since the 1960s. They are dedicated to creating a radical inclusive community that’s focused on breaking the cycles of poverty and marginalization. You can volunteer with them over the holidays or all year long.

Give Back This Season

In the middle of preparing for the holiday season, find some time to give back to your local Bay Area community. You can help spread the Christmas cheer to those who are less fortunate and remember this season forever as the one where you truly made a difference.

Did we miss your favorite place to volunteer? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Kacey Bradley

Kacey Bradley

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.

Kacey has been able to further her knowledge and interest for nature, understand the power of exploring other locations, and embrace the styles and cultures that surround her through her passion for writing and expression.