It’s that time again. Halloween is over, the first round of midterms have taken their toll, and the holiday breaks are looking more and more inviting.  It is our annual season of family, celebration, and especially in these hard times, a season of giving.  Santa Cruz county has been proven to reflect this generous spirit, boasting various food and coat drives and donation centers around the city.  So round up those last few cans of untouched food or that outgrown sweater from your grandmother and do some community good with them.  Because while they may be taking up the back corners of your cabinets or catching dust in your closet, they just might make someone’s holiday.


Santa Cruz AIDS Project

Although food drives are not specific to the holidays at SCAP, food donations are more than welcome year-round. Volunteers keep a well-stocked food bank on site and available to all clients. Toilet paper, shampoo and other personal items are also appreciated.  SCAP will be hosting a food drive outside the downtown Santa Cruz Trader Joe’s on Saturday, November 21. Shoppers will be given SCAP’s wish list of items needed for the food bank. SCAP is located at 313 Front St., Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 and can be reached by phone at (831) 427-3900.

Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive

In light of the 20 to 30 percent increase in requests for food aid, food drive organizers at Second Harvest are hoping to collect 2 million pounds of food for this year’s annual Holiday Food Drive. Companies, organizations and groups are encouraged to pick up a barrel provided by Second Harvest and collect as much food as possible. Solo participants are welcome to make monetary donations online, where $1 can provide $9 worth of food, or a square meal for a family of five. The drive will benefit low-income families, seniors and disabled people all over Santa Cruz county, and will continue until mid-December. To apply for a barrel or for more information, contact Bly Morales at (831) 722-7110 x 226 or to make a donation, visit Second Harvest’s website at

Alliance for Children: Give a Kid a Coat

A non-profit organization based in Santa Cruz, Alliance for Children focuses its generosity on keeping local kids warm. The group, which provides coats for low-income families and children who cannot afford warm outerwear, is hoping to exceed the 800 coats collected in last year’s drive. The drive calls for both cash and gently used coat donations for Santa Cruz children between the ages of 1 and 18, and will run until the end of the month. To donate a coat, contact Eileen Donnelly at or send check donations to Coats for Kids, 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.


Donation Centers in Santa Cruz

Click for larger image. Illustration by Maggie McManus.
Click for larger image. Illustration by Maggie McManus.

There are many other donation sites around the city to remember as we embark on our holiday giving endeavors. These organizations accept food, coats and other goods all year long.  Happy donating!

New Life Center
707 Fair St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

River St. Shelter
733 River St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

St. Francis
205 Mora St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Homeless Community Resource Center and Page Smith Community House
115 Coral St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center
195 Harvey West Blvd., CA 95060