A few ways to lend a hand for the holiday

Zach Marshall, 13, hands out bags to some of the hundreds of waiting cars during the Peace Bag Giveaway held in front of Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club in Newhall on Thursday, August 06, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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If there was ever a year to give back to one’s community, 2020 is the year. This Giving Tuesday, Santa Clarita Valley residents have a myriad of places and ways to share their generosity. 

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that started in 2012 as a way to encourage people “to do good” and is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day, according to the movement’s website, givingtuesday.org. 

“GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world,” reads the website. 

Just last year, more than $1.97 billion were raised in “countless acts of generosity,” from giving directly to local food banks to raising funds via sponsored runs, selling face masks or festive treats to offer proceeds to charity. 

With so many places and causes to choose from and support, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, SCV-based organizations and philanthropists are highlighting that giving back goes beyond Giving Tuesday. Here are some locations and ways to contribute: 

Toys for children this holiday season 

Regardless of the pandemic, toys can make a difference in children’s lives by bringing them smiles and opportunities to play in new ways, according to Regina Lee, a Saugus High School student who started the “Smile, SCV!” fund to support local businesses affected by shutdowns. 

In thinking about local children, she reached out to the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club to find ways to help the nonprofit, which has had to cancel their annual charity events due to health restrictions. 

“I reached out to the Boys & Girls Club and got the idea of a toy drive,” she said. “After talking to the director I learned that kids needed toys, books and school supplies so we’re aiming to have 300 or more kids receive the toys and supplies they need, especially during the quarantine. We wanted to make sure they can smile.” 

While volunteers are not being sought at the moment, residents can drop off goods starting Monday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the front entrance of Saugus High School, located at 21900 Centurion Way. 

“Toys have to be new or in their original boxing for safety precautions,” she said.

For more information, contact Lee at [email protected].  

Help families struggling amid COVID-19

Congregation Beth Shalom and nonprofit Family Promise of SCV have partnered over the years to provide temporary housing to homeless families. 

Family Promise recently acquired a transition home in Castaic, which came at a time when places of worship had to close indoor operations, including offering temporary housing for the homeless, due to health restrictions. But the partnership continues, according to Judy Eichner, a member of Congregation Beth Shalom. 

“This year during the High Holidays, Rabbi Siegel issued a call to action for our membership to step up and help the members of our Santa Clarita Valley community that have been hit especially hard by the Covid economy. We are working very hard to answer the call,” said Eichner. 

The congregation has scheduled donation drives to provide household supplies and personal care products for clients of Family Promise. Donations sought can include diapers, feminine products, shaving cream, razors, wipes and deodorants. 

The drives are set for Thursday, Dec. 3 and 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beth Shalom, located at 21430 Centre Pointe Pkwy. 

Provide meals at the homeless shelter

Bridge to Home has kept extra busy during the pandemic assisting those in need at the shelter, which is temporarily set up at the Newhall Community Center. Among the multiple services the nonprofit provides is offer its more than 60 clients meals. 

“That represents 65,700 meals served each year,” reads the nonprofit’s website, which adds that three meals are served daily at the shelter and are provided by volunteers. 

From families to businesses and organizations, all are welcomed to offer meals. Bridge to Home offers a November and December signup list on its website where those interested in participating can sign up to drop off lunch bags and dinners. 

Lunch bags can include a sandwich, tuna, chips, fruit and a water bottle or small juice. Dinners should be hot upon arrival and ready to serve anywhere between 65 to 75 guests. Contributions can include a hot entree, vegetables or salad, a side dish, dessert, or soft drinks. 

“In addition to meals, we are always accepting donations for breakfast items such as whole milk, dry cereal,  oatmeal, bagels, cream cheese, sliced bread, butter, jelly/jam, coffee grounds, creamer, and sugar,” reads the Bridge to Home meal sign up page. 

To sign up or learn more, Bridge to Home at [email protected] or call 661-313-9002. Other places to keep in mind include the SCV senior center, SCV Food Pantry and Single Mothers Outreach. The city of Santa Clarita has also recently launched a one-stop-shop that connects area non-profits and volunteers. To learn more about the Volunteer Hub, visit  SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

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