Helping others can make you happy and boost your mental health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the health benefits of giving are endless; lower blood pressure, better self-esteem, help with managing depression and more. Anytime is a good time to give back, but during the holiday season, it is especially important. More families and individuals in our community are needing support this season than in years past. Essential items like food and clothing are in greater demand and you can help. Although processes may have changed over the past couple of years and limited some face-to-face volunteer opportunities there are still plenty of ways to help your community:
- El Camino Hospital Auxiliary Family Giving Tree. This year, the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary is hosting a virtual giving tree that benefits families receiving care at free/low cost clinics supported by El Camino Health. Make the holiday season meaningful by donating to local families in need.
- Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. No one should go hungry and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley has made this their mission. Start a virtual drive, donate or volunteer. You can virtually help fill a "barrel" with dairy, protein and other much-needed produce. If you’d like to volunteer, fill out a quick and easy sign-up form.
- Food Finders Holiday Food Drive 2021. Dedicated to reducing hunger and simultaneously reducing waste, Food Finders is a nonprofit organization that coordinates pick-ups for surplus food then distributes it to individuals and families that need it. Donate food, start a fundraiser or volunteer.
- San Jose Marine Toys for Tots. In 2020, nearly 40,000 children in the San Jose area received toys through the Toys for Tots program. Make this year a special one by donating physical toys to one of the drop-off locations, or by participating in the virtual toy drive program.
- Silicon Valley Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has so many volunteer and donation opportunities within the Silicon Valley community. Although the pandemic has altered certain processes, you can still volunteer and help.
- Help prepare and pack lunches at the Senior Nutrition Center in San Jose.
- Assist in food distribution and help load food boxes into cars as needed.
- Volunteer as an office assistant and help take phone calls and answer questions, enter data, make labels and more.
- Santa Clara Community Volunteer Opportunities. Looking for other ways to give back? The City of Santa Clara website has compiled a comprehensive list of charities and organizations that could use your help. Find a cause or mission that's close to your heart and reach out.
- Mountain View Senior Center. Volunteer at the front desk or as a tech assistant and help out the seniors within your community. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donating time, food, clothing and other items makes a vast difference in the lives of those who receive them. But being kind and taking time to give what you can will also benefit you! El Camino Health also has volunteer opportunities for community members. Whether you make a donation or give of your time, the work you do will be gratifying.
This article first appeared in the December 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.