Opportunities to Give Back as an Individual or Family

I started this list a few year’s ago around this same time of year in response to hearing from other parents that they were struggling to find ways they could give back to the community as a family. It seems natural to look for opportunities to help others during November when we are honoring our Veteran’s for their service, gathering to count our blessings and about to enter a season when those without a home are facing harsh weather. Due to the devastating fires impacting California right now I felt compelled to also include a list of organizations that have sprung into action to help the countless fire victims. I think it would be difficult to find a Californian that doesn’t know someone impacted by the fires. So many have lost so much. I hope you will find these lists helpful. Please let me know if you have an anything to add. I would love to continue to update this list.

How To Help California Fire Victims

American Red Cross: They are working with local government to provide numerous evacuation centers where hundreds of people are seeking refuge, along with centers which are accepting animals.

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: Since 2003, the foundation has supported relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of devastating California wildfires.  Grants have gone to rebuilding homes, providing financial and mental health assistance and helping those affected to get medical treatment.

California Fire Foundation:  Through its emergency assistance program, firefighters distribute pre-paid gift cards to help those suffering substantial property loss with immediate on-site assistance.

Humane Society of Ventura County: This private nonprofit is accepting donations to help animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires. It is taking in domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and birds, as well as livestock.

Salvation Army: They have deployed multiple teams to provide meal services at evacuation centers.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles, in partnership with the United Way of Ventura County: These local branches of the national organization have created a disaster relief fund for those affected by the Woolsey and Hill Fires, specifically to help low-income residents.

United Way of Northern California: This local chapter of the national nonprofit has established a disaster relief fund to provide emergency cash and other forms of emergency assistance to people who lost their homes, and to support UWNC’s general disaster response as needs are further identified.

GoFundMe has organized a page with links to verified GoFundMe campaigns to help those impacted by the devastating fires.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Bay Area

 Click here to find a calendar containing various volunteer opportunities all over the Bay Area on specific days that work with your schedule.    



Collect food, blankets, pet beds and toys. Make dog and cat toys or blankets. Foster an animal.

Blue Star Moms


Donate care package items help at a packing event drop off cards, letters or hand drawn pictures to be included in care packages.

Crayon Initiative


Donate used crayons. Sign-up to sort, melt and package crayons to be sent to children’s hospitals.

Donate to Your Local Library


Donate books you no longer need to Friends of the Library in your community.

Family Giving Tree


Contribute items to the Back to School Drive or Holiday Wish Drive

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano


Invite friends to bring food or a gift of money to donate to the food bank in honor of your birthday. Participate in a Family Food Sort in Fairfield or Concord.

Kids Against Hunger


Attend a packing event to package and ship highly nutritious, life-saving meals to starving and malnourished children in developing countries and the United States

Meals on Wheels


Individuals and families can volunteer to drive a route in their local community one or more days per week, delivering approximately 16 meals per day.

Participate in a Walk/Race for a Good Cause

Click on https://www.active.com/charitable to find a list of charity races located near you.

Here are a few that are special to Parker Posts readers…

JDRF One Walk Fall 2109
Crohns & Colitis Foundation Take Steps Walk June 18, 2019
San Ramon Valley Education Foundation Run For Education Fall 2019

Save SF Bay


Collect native plant seeds onsite, tend plants at our on-site nurseries, sow plants along the  shoreline or remove invasive weeds and trash that degrade the bay.



The SPCA offers a unique birthday party experience, including fun activities, a tour, and a special encounter with a shelter animal. For ages 6 – 12. Children 10+ can volunteer after school program or on weekends.

Urban Releaf


Urban Releaf encourages community involvement and welcomes individuals of all ages and experience levels to join us on our volunteer days. Activities typically involve tree planting, distributing flyers, and assisting in environmental awareness workshops.

Volunteer Opportunities Throughout the United States

Click here or here to help you find volunteer opportunities specific to your interests and location. 

Alex’s Lemonade Stand


Sell lemonade in your neighborhood to raise funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer.

Locks of Love


Donate 10” of hair to a child suffering medical hair loss.

One Warm Coat


Donate gently worn coats at a nearby location.

Toys For Tots


Donate toys, money or host a toy drop-off event.

Wigs for Kids


Donate 12” of hair to a child suffering medical hair loss.

random acts of kindness family activities

Random Acts of Kindness To Do As A Family

  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood (remember gloves)
  • Deliver treats to a fire station
  • Put together care bags for the homeless that include socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, snacks, chapstick, deodorant, etc…
  • Visit a “grandfriend” at an assisted living facility, nursing home or in the neighborhood to play cards, do a craft, etc…
  • Provide mail carrier, delivery person or waste management professional a popsicle or cold drink on a hot day
  • Do errands or cook for someone with an illness


  1. Andie

    November 28, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Thank you Melissa for this comprehensive list! I’m always looking for places to take my girls. Happy Happy Holidays!!!

    1. Parker

      November 28, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      You’re welcome! Glad you found the list useful 🙂

  2. Joan Moore

    November 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

    A charity in Santa Cruz county that I really like is Second Harvest. An international one that is close to my heart is Doctors without Borders. The people who work for them are heroes .

    1. Parker

      November 15, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Thank you! I know Second Harvest offers opportunities for families to come in and volunteer. Here is the website for my Santa Cruz County followers… https://www.thefoodbank.org/volunteer/. Does Doctors Without Borders have volunteer opportunities as well as a need for donations?

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