Get involved and make a difference

We think of the holidays as a time of giving, but why not carry that great feeling throughout the year?  Now is the time to make a commitment to yourself and your community to get involved and make a difference.  Here are a few ideas-pick your passion no matter how small or large.

  • Practice the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  Let someone with fewer items than you at the grocery store cut in front of you. Pick up trash whenever you see it. Let someone merge into traffic.
  • Make a donation. Clean out your closets and let someone else get use out of your unneeded clutter.  Community Thrift has a long list of benefiting agencies that you can specify for your donation.  625 Valencia (415)861-4910.
  • Join your neighborhood association. You can meet the neighbors and help with projects that need attention.
  • Call your local school and find out what they need. This could be money for books and supplies, a helping hand, or everyday items such as paper, writing utensils, or art supplies.  You can also go to an organization called Donors Choose. At teachers submit proposals for things they need for their classroom.
  • Volunteer for an organization / share a skill. This could be as easy as stuffing donation envelopes, or as challenging as answering questions on the San Francisco AIDS Hotline.  Be a docent at a museum.  Garden at your neighborhood pocket park.  There is a terrific online volunteer organization that is a database you can search based on your location and what you are interested in doing.  Go to You can both post and find opportunities for volunteering at their website.  Additionally, works with corporations in their giving programs and in assisting corporate employees to volunteer.
  • Plant trees on your block. It’s great for the environment, will introduce you to the neighbors, and will increase property values.  Call Friends of the Urban Forest at (415)561-6890 or see their website at
  • Volunteer for Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April).  This group organizes teams of volunteers to preserve and repair housing for low-income, elderly, and disabled San Franciscans.  Local businesses contribute funds to buy materials, and employees of the businesses, and other interested persons donate the last Saturday in April to make repairs to pre-selected homes in the area. Contact them at (415)905-1611 or visit their website at
  • Raise money for a worthy cause. Do a walkathon, or deliver meals to homebound seniors.
  • Find out what you can do about homelessness. Contact St. Vincent DePaul Society at (415)977-1270. There is also a great organization called Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation that builds housing for those in need.  You can visit their website at