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Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in California

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in California

By California.com
November 24, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

The holiday season is finally here, and if you're looking to spread more cheer, volunteering is a great way to do just that. During the most festive time of the year, it's important to give back and contribute to our respective communities. 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for many, so there's no time like the present to reach out to those who need our help the most.

There are many ways to lend a helping hand during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it's donating money, time, or items to local charities, your help will go a long way. Plus, volunteering can help you make new friends, learn more skills, and get in touch with your community—and there’s nothing more rewarding than giving back during the holiday season.

Holiday Volunteering

Interested in getting involved with your community this year? Whether you want to feed the homeless, help underserved communities, or donate gifts and other items, check out these holiday volunteer opportunities in California.

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How to feed the homeless around thanksgiving

This holiday season, get involved with volunteer programs and give back to your community. Photo courtesy of Big Sunday.

Big Sunday

Big Sunday—a nonprofit organization founded in 1999—holds an annual community service event in Los Angeles. At Big Sunday, every individual is given different opportunities to help. You can donate new or used items, send in financial donations, and participate in upcoming events even after the holiday season is over. Feed the homeless this Thanksgiving by getting involved in the Thanksgiving Stuffing Event and Community Breakfast. During December, the most festive month of the year, you can also help out at the Big Sunday Holiday Party and Sing-a-Long. During the pandemic, Big Sunday also has a virtual program keeping the volunteers in sync with upcoming events. 

Looking to feed the homeless this Thanksgiving? Volunteer with Union Station Homeless Services. Photo courtesy of Union Station Homeless Services.

Union Station Homeless Services

The Pasadena nonprofit organization Union Station Homeless Services has been helping underhoused people and their families rebuild their lives since 1973. There are plenty of ways to get involved—from donating food and volunteering at Dinner in the Park to fundraising and spreading the word, you can find numerous ways to volunteer. You can volunteer in the kitchen, prepare lunches, help out with housing workshops, or donate hygiene kits. There are also plenty of administrative positions, so you can potentially become a permanent member of Union Station Homeless Services.


donate Christmas gifts

Spread some holiday cheer by donating gifts and sponsoring a child or family this season.

Adopt-A-Family Program

For more than 30 years, the Adopt-A-Family Program has delivered happiness to families during the holiday season—it's one of the best Christmas volunteer opportunities. The Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services assists low-income families by helping donate Christmas gifts such as toys, clothes, and even food. You can also help by sponsoring a family during the holidays; you'll receive the family’s wish list so you can buy the necessary items accordingly. 

Baby2Baby

The holiday season is all about bringing joy to those in need and smiles to kids’ faces. Baby2Baby is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to catering to all children’s needs, from diapers to clothing and other necessities. The organization works with plenty of local establishments around the country and provides basic needs to children living in poverty in more than 40 cities. Your contributions will help children ages 0 to 12 receive the basic necessities every child deserves. You can get involved by donating, hosting a drive, sponsoring, and volunteering.


Additional holiday donations

This holiday season, volunteer with One Voice and put a smile on someone's face. Photo courtesy of One Voice.

One Voice

One Voice is a nonprofit that helps families living in poverty. The organization provides various services, ranging from emergency relief to a scholars program helping low-income students attend high-level universities. While volunteers won't be able to meet at their annual meeting point at the Barker Hangar this year, you can be a part of the One Voice of Angels fundraising campaign no matter where you live. You'll get your very own fundraising page with a specified goal to share with your friends and family. Enter your details on the website to receive a toolkit on how to proceed.

Meals On Wheels California

Meals On Wheels California goes all out during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Founded in 1997, the organization aims to improve the physical, social, and nutritional health of vulnerable communities by delivering nutritious meals to seniors, adults with disabilities, and families in need. Meals on Wheels has many locations around the Golden State—including Walnut Creek, Riverside, and San Jose—so you can do your part anytime, anywhere. You can help by donating, volunteering, and advocating for the nonprofit's cause.

Do some good in the world by donating diapers and other goods to families in need. Photo courtesy of Help A Mother Out.

Help A Mother Out

Founded in 2009, the Bay Area's Help a Mother Out strives to improve children's well-being by increasing access to diapers for families in need. Diapers are allocated to families in need solely through a web of community associates such as family resource centers, optional home visits, parent support groups, homeless and foster children services, and public health departments. Volunteers can donate diapers or money (online or in-person) to this nonprofit organization. Interested parties can also sign up to volunteer at one of the many events and even host diaper drives for mothers in need.

Downtown Women's Center

The Downtown Women's Center was established in 1978; it's one of the oldest institutions that focuses on finding housing for women. The nonproft offers a health clinic solely for women on Skid Row as well as a drop-in center serving underhoused women throughout L.A. Volunteers can donate goods—such as clothing, cleaning supplies, and emergency preparedness kits—or money that will go toward providing daily meals, a safe environment, primary healthcare, and access to job readiness programs for women. You can also join the cooking club or help sort out Christmas donations and make supply kits for the ones truly in need during this time of year.

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