Seasonal assistance programs in Alameda County can help low income and working poor families make it through a holiday. There are resources, such as free meals or gifts, administered throughout the year, including on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Most of the programs, in particular the Christmas ones, are for households with children. Or there may also be assistance for the homebound or elderly that living in a nursing home. Thousands of struggling families use this services to help provide a toy or hot meal for their children during the holidays.
In addition to the individual churches and charities, there is also a referral service run by the Alameda County Community Food Bank. They have a hotline in place that directs families to holiday additional meal sites or places that offer Adopt a Family, which is a source of gifts or toys. So there are options for residents in the region.
ACCFB - Alameda County Community Food Bank
Address - 7900 Edgewater Drive
Phone – (510) 635-3663 in November to December.
They operate from multiple sites. Most of the holiday assistance is in the form of free food or meals, including Turkeys at Thanksgiving, but they also offer a key referral service to soup kitchens and other charities. Some of those groups may have toys or presents for Christmas.
The non-profit distributes free toys to children during December at select sites. The service is first come and first served until all gifts are passed out.
YMCA of the East Bay
5535 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA
Phone – 925-455-7975
They offer free Easter meals, breakfast and Egg Hunts and other holiday support.
City of Berkeley Park Department
Main office - 2720 Hillegass Avenue
Holiday assistance ranges from Easter to Christmas meals in partnership with churches and charities. One event is the Egg Hunt Extravaganza.
Other government parks also offer holiday assistance, such as HARD - Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. City of San Leandro operates from 14900 Zelma Street, San Leandro, CA. The phone number is 510-577-346.
Viola Blythe Community Service Center of Newark
37365 Ash Street
Phone - 510-794-3437
Help is for lower income residents of Newark, Fremont or Union City only. Proof of income and residency is required to get a free Thanksgiving or Christmas food basket or a small present for a child.
Address: 15602 Maubert Avenue
San Leandro, California
Phone – 510-278-2444
Indian food for the holidays.
Angel Tree and Salvation Army holiday programs are available from several centers. Using the generosity of businesses and individuals, the faith based group tries to provide a Christmas gift to every needy child and a holiday meal or companionship. The Chinatown Oakland Salvation Army is at 379 12th St. Call (510) 645-9710. There are other centers too, as noted below.
Hayward Salvation Army Center is on 430 A St. Telephone - (510) 581-6444.
Oakland office is at 601 Webster St, Oakland, California, telephone (510) 836-8971
Salvation Army, 36700 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA, telephone (510) 793-6319.
The Salvation Army Center of Alameda, 130 Doolittle, San Leandro, California, dial (510) 383-9300
There is also a a Thrift Store for gently used goods. Address is 1918 Park St, Alameda, CA, (510) 769-7401
722 Washington Street
Phone – 510-452-3758
Central American Refugee Committee
4848 International Blvd
Phone – 510-393-9546
Immigrants can apply for a small number of free Christmas toys or clothing items. Volunteers are needed too, and there is an application process.
Chabad of The East Bay
2942 Claremont Blvd.
Phone – 510-540-5824
This is a program for Jewish families in Berkeley.