Every day, in every community, your family can make a difference. Orange County is certainly no exception. This holiday season you and your family can engage in anything from toy drives to family counseling and support to landscaping projects. Take your pick, and lend a hand at the best holiday volunteer opportunities for the family in Orange County.
Turkey Basket, Toy And Food Drives
147 W. Rose Ave.
Orange, CA 92867
Orange County’s own Friendly Center offers several seasonal volunteer and giving opportunities for O.C. families to help those in need. Donate a traditional holiday meal in the Turkey Basket Drive and feed a needy family this Thanksgiving. The center is accepting donations of enough food to feed four to six people, including a turkey or a gift card for a turkey. Participants should register their donations in advance and then drop them off at the center Nov. 20. Friendly Center is also hosting toy and food drives this holiday season. Now through Dec. 11, your family may bring items to donate, or purchase toys online through its online toy drive.
Christmas Toy Drive 2012
Giving Children Hope Facility
8332 Commonwealth Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90621
Giving Children Hope provides for the welfare, health and self-esteem of Orange County Unified School District students who the McKinney-Vento act identifies as homeless. The organization’s Christmas Toy Drive will benefit children in the We’ve Got Your Back program with new toys for the holidays. Volunteers may participate in the collection of new, unwrapped toys, or can sponsor a child’s wish list, containing items of $25. Don’t miss out on the chance to participate in one of the organization’s wrapping parties as well. Organizers will announce the dates of the parties as the holiday season draws nearer. For more information or to sign up, contact Drew Bryson at (714) 523-4454 x113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Services Foster Youth Fun Day
YMCA of Orange County
13821 Newport Ave. Suite 200
Tustin, CA 92780
Have fun and make a difference: Be a mentor. Volunteers will be matched with a foster child for a day for activities such as arts and crafts, cookie decorating, playing games and other holiday fun activities. While the kids relax with you, their foster parents get a much-needed day off. The mission is fun, so come casually dressed and bring your holiday cheer to help the fostered youth of Orange County kick off the holiday season. The next Fun Day is Saturday, Dec. 1.
Holiday Wish List
Orangewood Children & Family Center
Orangewood Children’s Foundation
1575 E. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Orangewood Children & Family Center is a 24-hour emergency shelter care facility for infants to 18 year olds who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. You and your family can lift a little one’s spirits when you pick an item — or several — from the OCFC Holiday Wish List. Purchase toys, games, sports equipment, even clothing and personal items; your family will literally be playing Santa Claus as the children served by Orangewood and the List are allowed to keep their gifts. The Holiday Wish List and details about the program are available online, or call (714) 935-7687 for information.
OC Parks Departmant
1501 E. St. Andrew Place, First Floor
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Adopt-A-Park offers flexibility and variety in volunteering. Participate in a one-time project, or serve over several months, seasons or year-round. A variety of jobs are available, from greeting visitors to vigorous, outdoor physical labor as well as traditional office positions. OC Parks accepts volunteers of all ages all year long.
Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.