Local giving opportunities during the holidays
The Valley of the Moon is often depicted as a land of opulence - plenty of good food, drink and holiday cheer - so it's easy to forget that this isn't true for everyone who lives here. While opportunities to support local charities abound year-round in Sonoma Valley, the holidays are a particularly poignant time to remember those going without. Here are some local ways to share the wealth this winter.
Kenwood School food driveKenwood School's Student Council is sponsoring a canned food drive in support of the Redwood Empire Food Bank. The canned food drive will be running through Dec. 14. With the Oakmont Kiwanis Club's ongoing support, the school has already overfilled one bin and is well on its way to accomplishing its goal of filling at least two. Please bring in non-perishable foods. No food in glass jars.
The food bank is most in need of:
Canned tuna and meats
Call 833-2500 for more information. Kenwood School is located at 230 Randolph Ave.
Can't make it to Kenwood School? The Century 21 office in Oakmont is also collecting food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank. The office is located at 6580 Oakmont Dr.
Additional food barrel locations can be found at refb.org/food-funds-drive/drop-off-locations.
St. Patrick's Secret SantaA Christmas tree in the parish hall at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Kenwood is decorated with red Secret Santa ornaments. The Secret Santa program, organized by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, provides gifts and holiday cheer to those less fortunate in our community. If you'd like to be a Secret Santa for someone in need this holiday season, come select an ornament from the tree when Stevenson Hall is open on Sundays and Wednesdays during service times. Each ornament has the name and age of a child or adult, as well as their wish list. Secret Santas only need to purchase a gift, wrap it and return it to St. Patrick's or any Secret Santa location by Dec. 18. St. Patrick's Episcopal Church is located at 9000 Sonoma Hwy. 833-4228.
Valley of the Moon Children's Home toy driveThe Oakmont office of the Synergy Realty Group is hosting a toy drive for the Valley of the Moon Children's Home (located on Pythian Road), an emergency shelter for more than 400 children and teens in foster care each year. Children and teens need both essential and comfort items, including:
Clothing items like slippers, pajamas, hooded sweatshirts, “cool” t-shirts, beanie caps.
Toys and activity kits like puzzles, art, games, cards, assorted sports balls, and writing journals.
Personal products like good shampoos and conditioners, soap, hair ties and clips, and electric razors.
Essentials like suitcases, duffle bags, baby rattles, teethers and burp cloths.
Passes or tickets to places like the movies, Charles Shultz or Children's museums, Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory or the Pacific Coast Air Museum.
Gift cards to places like Target, Walmart, local eateries, or prepaid Visa or iTunes cards.
Drop an unwrapped gift at the Oakmont office, located at 6576 Oakmont Dr., or call 537-7653 for a wish list before shopping.
Another option is for financial contribution to be made to the Valley of the Moon Children's Foundation through their website: vomcf.org. Financial contributions to the Children's Foundation support scholarships for Sonoma County Foster youth, the dental program at the Children's Home, and special needs of children at the Children's Home such as birthday gifts, school clothing and other fees.
Fire Department toy drivesThe Kenwood and Glen Ellen fire departments are local drop-off locations for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots toy drive program. New, unwrapped toys, for any age range, can be dropped off at the donation bin at either station. The Glen Ellen Fire Department is located at 13445 Arnold Dr. The Kenwood Fire Department is located at 9045 Sonoma Hwy.
Bell ringing for F.I.S.H.On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Glen Ellen Village Market, from Dec. 2 through Dec. 18, you'll probably see one or two friendly Glen Ellen-Kenwood Rotarians out in front, enthusiastically ringing bells. They are ringing for a good cause - raising money to support F.I.S.H. (Friends in Sonoma Helping). F.I.S.H. provides temporary or supplemental help to residents in need of assistance. Rotarians and friends will be collecting donations from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Glen Ellen Village Market. All the money collected will be donated to F.I.S.H.'s holiday basket program for needy families in Sonoma Valley. This year F.I.S.H. plans to help over 500 families with these baskets.
F.I.S.H. is also accepting food donations in the Auditorium at Hanna Boys Center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 16, at barrels in many public schools, and at Sonoma and Glen Ellen Markets. The food baskets especially need:
Dry rice, beans and pasta
Dried or boxed milk
Canned corn, peas, tomatoes
Tax deductible checks will help purchase fresh eggs, fresh produce and other staples for each box.
Find out more at friendsinsonomahelping.org.
Books neededThe Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County is desperately in need of Spanish-language and bilingual books. You can help by purchasing books through First Book (ow.ly/9nBS305Ix2j) or at a local bookstore, or donate any gently used ones you might have at home. If you have books to give, you can put them in boxes and drop them off at Exchange Bank in the St. Francis Shopping Center, 136 Calistoga Road in Santa Rosa, or at Umpqua Bank, 135 W. Napa St. in Sonoma. Financial contributions are welcome as well. A full list of book drop-off sites in Sonoma County is available at freebookmobile.org under the “Donate Books” tab.
The Bookmobile will be in Kenwood and Glen Ellen on Dec. 10 (Kenwood Market 12-1 p.m., Glen Ellen Post Office 1:30-2:30 p.m.)
La Luz CenterLa Luz Center in Boyes Hot Springs is dedicated to helping immigrants succeed in Sonoma Valley through education, financial security, and health and wellness. Although they don't keep a running wish list available to the public, there is much need in the community they serve, and program director Veronica Vences urges donors to contact her directly at the center to be matched up with a family. Items for the holiday season might include toys for children or money for rent and other family expenses.
Contact the La Luz Center at 938-5131. La Luz is located at 7560 Greger St. in Sonoma.