Day of Giving: How to help in your community

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Join our Day of Giving by helping us support some of the many local organizations that provide vital help to those in need.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This holiday season is a time to Give Where You Live. Join our Day of Giving. Give what you can and donate to your favorite local charities.

If you need ideas, we have created a short list of vetted local organizations that make a big impact in helping to build a better Bay Area. The list of community groups will be updated periodically.

GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE: Full list of organizations across San Francisco Bay Area to donate to

We have a full day of stories on ABC7 that highlight some of the groups that are doing great work across the region. Learn more about them below, and you can watch live on abc7news.com.

Junior Achievement of Northern California

Junior Achievement of Northern California is a non-profit serving students kindergarten through 12th grade throughout the Bay Area. The organization focuses on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

ABC7 News Anchor Jobina Fortson has been volunteering with JA since early 2020 and now serves as a board member. She has selected JA Norcal as her charity of choice for Giving Tuesday.

Jobina joined in JA's effort to make a virtual pivot in March of 2020. Pre-pandemic, students had opportunities to visit job sites, interact with corporate sponsors, and receive mentors from companies like Google and the San Francisco Giants. The nonprofit formed online internship opportunities and free virtual programming for teachers during the pandemic.

"What really sets us apart is the fact that its delivered through the assistance and help of role models who are corporate volunteers," Cristene Burr, JA NorCal President and CEO, said. "They know where these students have come from. We pair them to look like the students that they're serving so that they have and can speak to the shared experiences that the kids are having right now. Students need to have hope and need to know there's a prosperous future ahead of them."

Everything JA provides is free. Learn more about the nonprofit here.

Mulatto Meadows

Research shows that horses and equestrian programs can really make a positive impact in the lives and development of kids. But high costs and limited accessibility makes it out of reach for young people from underserved communities, especially children of color. Mulatto Meadows is changing that.

This year Mulatto Meadows moved to a larger 40 acre ranch in Castro Valley to serve more Bay Area children, and immerse them in ranch life. Mulatto Meadows also brings horses out into the community. Donations would allow Mulatto Meadows to continue to host more students, organizations and non-profits on the ranch, and enable them to do more programming out in the community. And if you make a donation to Mulatto Meadows, your donation will be matched up to $60,000.

Donations would allow Mulatto Meadows to continue to host more students, organizations and nonprofits on the ranch, and enable them to do more programming out in the community. And if you make a donation to Mulatto Meadows, your donation will be matched up to $60,000.

Learn more about the organization here.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

If you live here, you will likely never be able to use the services of Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area. And yet, this local nonprofit is asking you to help fund it anyway.

They're asking on behalf of the hundreds of families who come here seeking life-saving treatment for their children but have no place to stay and no friends or relatives locally to lean on.

The Ronald McDonald House provides housing, meals, professional support and even schooling for siblings. It's services are reserved especially for families who live at least 50 miles away. This way, parents can concentrate on their child's health instead of worrying about basic needs while they are away from home.

Whether it's at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford or UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area is helping families heal together every day. Watch the video above to hear from Brad Lyman who serves on the nonprofit's board and has dedicated much of his time to raising money for families that flock here from all over the country.

To support their mission, visit this page to make a donation.

Marin Humane Society's Pet Safety Net

You likely know someone who adopted a 'pandemic pet' over the past couple of years. That's the trend of people relying on a new animal for companionship and comfort during an emotionally tough time.

What you may not realize is the unprecedented number of people going to animal shelters not to adopt, but to keep their pets from needing adoption.

"In 2018, we had 279 people apply for assistance for their pets, and just this past year, we had over 600 people," said Darlene Blackman with Marin Humane Society. Never before has Marin Humane seen so many people seek out Marin Humane's 'Pet Safety Net,' which provides free veterinary services, food, and other essential items. "It's just exponentially grown and we are really lucky to have the support of our organization," Blackman said. "We've never had to say no to anyone."

That includes Debra Walker. "My dog has been the only source of love in certain times of life," Walker told ABC7 News Anchor Reggie Aqui. Walker found herself homeless and with nowhere to go since area shelters wouldn't accept her beloved dog, Bear, without immunizations and registrations that Walker couldn't afford. Marin Humane stepped in and provided help so Walker and her dog could stay together. "I couldn't have done anything without them," Walker said. "They made it possible for me to have a life." Today, Walker is housed and has a new job as a non-profit case worker.

If you'd like to help Marin Humane continue to fund its "Pet Safety net," visit this page.

CASA of Contra Costa County

ABC7 News Anchor Dan Ashley has been deeply involved with CASA of Contra Costa County for roughly 20 years and has seen how much good the organization does for children and young adults firsthand.

Court Appointed Special Advocate helps children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect by providing a dedicated volunteer who is there for them in every way.

Whether helping the child through the legal process, the foster care system, or the school system, a CASA volunteer demonstrates that a foster child can trust an adult. That's a big deal. In so many cases, that trust has been broken by the very people who were supposed to care for them most.

That's why Dan has served as a longtime board member of CASA of Contra Costa County and helps raise money and awareness for this great organization through his Rock the CASA nonprofit charity concert each year.

Learn more about the organization here.

Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area

Granting a wish for a critically ill child is giving the gift of hope. That's why ABC7 News anchor Ama Daetz spent the last decade supporting Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. The organization brings joy to kids who need it most. And right now Make-A-Wish can use your help to keep its mission going. So please consider supporting the effort on this ABC7 Day of Giving.

Learn more about the organization here.

Operation Christmas Tree

Christmas tree prices have risen this year and because of that some families may once again opt out of getting a tree. That's where Operation Christmas Tree comes in. The program was started last year in Sonoma County by Tory and Jesse Crowder with the goal of giving trees to people in need.

The Crowders tell us the goal was to give out 8-10 trees in 2020, but they ended up delivering more than 200 with the help of volunteers and donors. This year demand is soaring and they now have an Operation Christmas Tree lot in Sonoma. If you'd like to apply for a tree, volunteer, or donate funds go to this page.

Those from all Bay Area counties are welcome.

Jesse Crowder says, "When I was a kid, we didn't have much money and I was poor growing up, my family was and getting a tree sometimes was always hard." In high school he ended up working on a Christmas tree lot, which enabled his family to afford a tree.

He wants to bring that joy of having a tree to other children and families across the Bay.

"We went from just delivering some trees to some families, to now we have a full on farm, and not one tree here is for sale. I'm just so grateful to be able to give back to the community and know how many families we're brining love and joy into the homes of. It's just amazing!" says Crowder.

Get more information about Operation Christmas Tree here.

Canal Alliance

The Canal Alliance is an incredible organization in Marin County that helps low-income, immigrant families thrive in the Bay Area.

ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena's first encounter with the group was last summer during the heart of the pandemic. At the time, Latinos made up nearly 80% of Marin County's coronavirus cases, despite being only 16% of the county's population, and a majority of those cases were centered in the small neighborhood in San Rafael known as the Canal.

The Canal Alliance, led by CEO Omar Carrera, was on the frontlines helping provide testing, food and other invaluable resources to this community.

Since then, Luz learned even more about the important services they offer, including a weekly food pantry, English courses, immigration services and after school programs for middle and high school students.

Carrera says 100% of students in the program have gone on to higher education. "Our mission is to help immigrants and their families escape the generational cycle of poverty by lifting barriers to their success," Carrera said.

Luz is inspired by the Canal Alliance and hope others are, too. The group is seeking financial donations and volunteers to teach their English courses.

Learn more about the organization here.

Sonrise Equestrian Foundation

ABC7 News meteorologist Mike Nicco chose SonRise Equestrian Foundation in honor of those they help, those they will help and the staff of SonRise.

SonRise Equestrian Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs through therapeutic horse and ranch activities.

Regardless of individual needs, each child finds a loving and accepting community through SonRise. Whatever the challenge, their mission is to help these children thrive physically, cognitively, socially and psychologically through the benefits of their therapeutic horsemanship programs.

The hard-working staff of volunteers offers four weekly programs. Those benefiting from these have any financial burden lifted. All of SonRise's programs are free of charge. Right now, our community's need for equine therapy overwhelms their ability to provide. Most of their programs have a waitlist ranging from two to five years.

Learn more about the organization here.

Streetcode Academy

Streetcode Academy is a Bay Area nonprofit that bridges the ever-widening digital divide. Based in East Palo Alto, the organization empowers communities of color to achieve their full potential in today's tech and innovation economy by sharing the skills, mindsets and networks needed for success. It brings in experts to teach programming, entrepreneurship and design classes for free.

The nonprofit is inclusive and teaches anyone who wishes to learn.

ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze first featured Streetcode Academy in 2018, when a report by The State of Black America found that less than 5% of the Silicon Valley workforce is African-American.

Its co-founder Olatunde Sobomehin is a 2003 Stanford graduate and community organizer who is committed to ensuring students of color living near the heart of the tech economy are included, not left out, of this world. Sobomehin started offering coding classes in the community in 2014, and formally founded Streetcode in 2016. Since then, the organization has taught over 5,000 students, who have together completed 200 projects.

During the pandemic, Streetcode continued its work online, which enabled it to reach thousands of additional students. Furthermore, it provided free laptops and Wifi to students in need in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven community, to ensure that they can continue their learning uninterrupted.

Streetcode Academy's mission has attracted support from celebrities like athletes Stephen Curry and Marshawn Lynch, Grammy Award winner Lecrae, and organizations such as Google and the Golden State Warriors.

This Giving Tuesday, you can learn more about how to support Streetcode Academy's work or take its classes by visiting its website.

RELATED: Give Where You Live: Donate to Bay Area food banks

If you'd like to nominate a community group in your neighborhood that's doing great work, please fill out the form below.

Click here for a look at other ways you can Take Action where you live.