You can help

It’s not too late to give some of the people on your gift list charitable donations for Christmas. They’ll be grateful for a contribution made in their name; you’ll appreciate the good karma and 2010 tax write-off. Here are a few superb local charitable options:

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

This effective local charity has a variety of programs: the food bank itself (which serves more than 10,000 area residents monthly), well-baby programs, a clothes closet and educational resources for all ages. Now serving two sites—Oak Park and north Sacramento—the organization’s website has a special Adopt-a-Family program now going, where more than 400 needy families have created holiday wish lists for their children. To donate or volunteer, visit the website at or call (916) 456-1980.

The Salvation Army

This charity is one of the city’s largest and most well-known organizations providing regular services to needy families in the Sacramento area, including food and toy drives throughout the upcoming holidays. For more information or to donate, call (916) 563-3700. For a list of volunteer opportunities, go to

Sacramento Loaves & Fishes

This respected local organization assists homeless people all year round, but especially during the holiday season. For volunteer opportunities, or to donate food or cash, or to join their Christmas Stockings for the Homeless program, call (916) 446-0874, or go to for more information.

St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children

St. John’s serves homeless women and children in need of shelter and other services in the Sacramento region. Since 1985, the program has provided a safe and supportive haven to almost 23,000 displaced women and their kids. A “holiday wish list” is now available. For more information about making donations, go to or call (916) 453-1482.

The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

This well-known local agency can help you adopt a furry family member this holiday season. Also, the SSPCA’s shelter has basic needs, with a list available on its website at Another way to help the animals while still putting some brightly wrapped goodies under the tree is to do your holiday shopping at the SSPCA’s Thrift Store, located at 1517 E Street. You’ll find clothes, books and knickknacks, with all proceeds going to services for the shelter’s animals.

Francis House

Here is an interfaith effort to provide crisis services for the area’s most disadvantaged, including emergency-transportation vouchers, counseling, shelter, job referral and assistance in receiving other services. Donations can be made online at