Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

We're excited to see that you'd like to give back during the holiday season!

It is also a busy time for volunteer projects, so register early as spots fill up quickly this time of the year. Below is a list of holiday-oriented volunteer opportunities throughout San Diego County. We also encourage you to check out our volunteer calendar for opportunities year-round. 

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HandsOn Holiday Projects


Opportunities in the Community:


O'side Turkey Trot
Hosted by:
 Move Your Feet Before You Eat Foundation
Tuesday November 23 - Thursday November 25
Oceanside

Participants are encouraged to “move your feet before you eat” this Thanksgiving at Oceanside’s 16th Annual Turkey Trot 5-mile or 5K run/walk. The event offers a costume contest, the largest teams competition, fabulous live entertainment on the course, and finisher medals for all participants. Volunteers help make the trop possible by serving shifts before and during the race. 

Santa's Workshop and Secret Santa Volunteer
Hosted by:
Armed Services YMCA Camp Pendleton
Tuesday December 14 - Thursday December 16
Oceanside

Volunteers will act as personal shoppers, manage storage containers full of toys, restock toys at the "workshop", and assist with check-in and bike assembly. Miscellaneous duties will be assigned as needed to support the mission. Interested in Volunteering? Apply Here.

Wreaths Across America
Hosted by:
Wreaths Across America
9:00am
Saturday December 18

Miramar - San Diego
Wreaths Across America will be at Miramar National Cemetery to Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each and every veteran aloud. 

Wreaths Across America
Hosted by:
Wreaths Across America
9:00am
Saturday December 18

Point Loma - San Diego
Wreaths Across America will be at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each and every veteran aloud. 

Is your organization hosting a service opportunity for the holidays and would like it listed? Contact us at info@handsonsandiego.org.


Adopt-a-Family Programs
 

These are organizations that host programs that match their clients with generous donors who would like to give to families in need during the holidays. This is a list of opportunities for donors. 

Adopt-A-Family
Hosted by:
Fallbrook Food Pantry
Start Date: October 25
Drop off Date: TBA 
Adopt-A-Family is a special program that the Fallbrook Food Pantry has been doing for more than 20 years now. Uniting families living at or well below the Federal poverty level with those who can and would like to share in the Spirit of giving. Last year, well over 400 families were adopted by local individuals, families, churches and organizations.

Adopt-a-Family
Hosted by:
Community Resource Center
Sign up Deadline: TBA
Drop off Date: TBA
All throughout the year, CRC helps individuals and families create paths to healthy food, stable homes and safe relationships. This year, their 39th Annual Holiday Baskets program will serve 900 households plus 200 seniors. Households will receive food, gifts, blankets and jackets in a drive-through distribution on December 4, while holiday gift bags will be delivered to seniors. The food and other items they provide help ensure everyone has a wonderful holiday experience, while giving low-income households some breathing room, so scarce dollars may be spent on other needs such as rent, utilities or transportation. As a supporter of their Adopt-a-Family program, you will register to provide a specific number of family gift boxes, with the required items in each box. CRC will provide you with the box, which you can decorate.

Adopt-a-Family
Hosted by:
North County Lifeline
Sign up Deadline: November 24
Drop off Date: November 29 - December 10
The holidays can be a time of joy and togetherness, but for many low income families it is the time of year they dread. These families are already making tough decisions, such as paying their rent or purchasing groceries, so holiday gifts are often out of the question. With your help, hundreds of Lifeline families can be supported this holiday season! The toys, clothing, gift cards, and household essentials collected for Lifeline’s families in need, help to give them a little extra help, and a happy holiday season.

Embrace-a-Family
Hosted by:
Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Sign up Deadline: TBA
Drop off Date: TBA
Every year, the Embrace-A-Family Program provides gifts and holiday cheer for individuals and families in need across San Diego County. From single-parent families, to military veterans, to older adults living on a tight fixed income, we work together with our community to make the holidays possible for those who might not otherwise be able to celebrate. Your support makes this special time of year a whole lot brighter.

Holiday Adopt-a-Family
Hosted by:
Interfaith Community Services
Sign up Deadline: October 1 - November 5
Drop off Date: December 3 - December 5
Every year the most conscientious, productive individuals and families Interfaith serves are nominated by staff for the Holiday Adopt-a-Family program. The individuals and families are then anonymously matched with generous adopters who fulfill their wishes for the holiday season and provide them with a feeling of comfort, support, and community.

Holiday Adopt a Family Program
Hosted by:
Crisis House
Sign up Deadline: TBA
Drop off Date: TBA
With your generosity, Crisis House can be a beacon of hope for the families they serve. 

Secret Santa
Hosted by:
Armed Services YMCA Camp Pendleton
Sign up Deadline: TBA
Drop off Date: December 6-10, 8:30am - 4:00pm
The Armed Services YMCA Camp Pendleton SECRET SANTA  program provides gifts to active duty military families who have been refferred to them as needing extra help during the holidays. The military families are vetted and wish lists are distributed to donors with information about family size and their gift requests, clothing sizes, etc. Learn more here

Sharing the Joy
Hosted by:
STEP (Support the Enlisted Project)
Sign up Deadline: TBA
Drop off Date: TBA
STEP is looking for individuals, companies, religious establishments, other non-profit organizations to help by adopting service members and their families, hosting toy drives, and providing volunteers to help distribute gifts at our office this holiday season.


Donation Drives
 

Armed Services YMCA Camp Pendleton

  • Santa's Workshop is open to all ranks at Camp Pendleton who need a little extra help and support during the holidays. Families are referred to the ASYMCA by Family Advocacy, New Parent Support Program, EFMP program, counseling organizations and Family Readiness Officers. Once referred, families have the opportunity to visit their offices and select gifts for their children. Since they are located on base, the best way to support the program is by purchasing items from their Walmart, Target, and/or Amazon registries. More information about their holiday programs can be found here

Community Resource Center

  • All throughout the year, CRC helps individuals and families create paths to healthy food, stable homes and safe relationships. This year, our 39th Annual Holiday Baskets program will serve 900 households plus 200 seniors. Households will receive food, gifts, blankets and jackets in a drive-through distribution on December 4, while holiday gift bags will be delivered to seniors. Register to host/plan a donation drive to collect a specific item needed for distribution. Once your drive is complete, you’ll fill out another short survey to inform CRC of how much was collected, and then you’ll deliver the items during specified delivery dates. CRC asks that you only collect one item type per drive, so that each drive is delivering items of one type – this makes it easier for our volunteers to sort and pack boxes. 

Interfaith Community Services

  • Donate through Interfaith's registry of basic items (and few fun ones too) so that they can gift to both our unsheltered neighbors and to clients in their residential treatment programs who may have missed their Adopt-a-Family adoption deadline.

North County Lifeline

  • North County Lifeline’s child mental health program provides counseling to over 300 school-age children and their families annually living in Vista and Oceanside. Lifeline has an urgent need to provide counseling kits for families enrolled in our mental health services.

Think Dignity

  • Think Dignity's mission is to inspire, empower, and organize our community to advance basic dignity for those living on the streets. They are always collecting travel-size hygiene products, clothing, and outdoor supplies such as tarps, duffle bags, and flashlights. View their wish list here

Wesley House Student Residence

  • Wesley House Student Residence, Inc. is a nonprofit formed for the development and management of affordable housing for students in San Diego. Each school year they have new students move-in and need your help providing them with home essentials. Items can be purchased directly through their Amazon Wish List. For more information or any questions, contact Krysta Hughes, krysta@wesleysdsu.org.