Giving Back: Holiday Drives, Charity Events and Volunteer Opportunities in Tri-Cities

Information about how you can help others this holiday season.

Volunteers of local organizations are working hard to help others this holiday season. Both the League of Volunteers (LOV) and the Viola Blythe Service Center are hosting toy drives and Adopt-A-Family programs.

Both Newark-based organizations serve the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City by providing human services to those in need.

Leaders from both nonprofits are asking for the community’s help in assisting families who are less fortunate this holiday season.


For the 18th consecutive year, LOV is hosting the region’s Toys for Tots Drive.

Every toy that is donated to LOV’s Toys for Tots is distributed to organizations that serve the residents of Fremont, Newark and Union City, according to LOV Executive Director Shirley Sisk.

The Viola Blythe Toy Drive also aims to provide holiday gifts for children throughout the region and the nonprofit will be partnering with firefighters from the Alameda County Fire Department and NewPark Mall to collect toys.

A toy drive will be held Sunday, Dec. 9 in front of Red Robin at NewPark Mall, said Debbie Caravalho, executive director of the Viola Blythe Service Center. Carvalho said approximately 2,000 toys are needed.

“We are really, really struggling for toys this year,” Carvalho said.

According to Sisk, more than 12,000 toys are requested from agencies throughout the region,– including Viola Blythe, Salvation Army, churches and more. Last year, LOV collected and distributed approximately 5,600 donated toys.

“The demand is often higher,” Sisk said.

Toy drive bins are located throughout the Tri-Cities in various restaurants. Patch will publish a list of locations and will update this report once it is live.


If you’re looking to help out an entire family who may not have the means to fulfill their own wish list this holiday season, consider the organizations’ Adopt A Family programs.

LOV and Viola Blythe serve hundreds of families who are in need of emergency food and clothing, and during the holidays, each organization hosts Adopt A Family programs in an effort to ensure that each family served can also receive food, clothing and other gifts.

With either program, families fill out a wish list and those who would like to adopt are asked to fill those requests. Officials said wish lists often include requests for clothes and household items.

For more information about Adopt a Family programs contact:

  • LOV, Joanne Paletta, program director: 510-793-5683
  • Viola Blythe Service Center, 510-794-3437


Two separate holiday parties hosted by LOV and Viola Blythe will be held mid-December for children in the region.

  • LOV’S KIDS HOLIDAY PARTY AND BINGO will be held Friday, Dec. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event will include treats for everyone and Bingo games. Hundreds of prizes, including dolls, games and stuffed toys, will be distributed and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visitng. The event will be held at the auditorium of McGregor School, 35753 Cedar Blvd. in Newark. Call 510-793-5683 for more information.
  •  VIOLA BLYTHE CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY will be held Saturday, Dec. 15 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.at Schilling Elementary School, 36901 Spruce Street in Newark for children from Kindergarten to 10-years-old. The event will include snacks, face painting, gifts, entertainment and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. No one will be admitted after 1:30 p.m.

For more information about LOV or Viola Blythe, visit www.lov.org or www.violablythe.org.

Send your ideas to Patch, so everyone can get in the spirit of the season. Please include the name of the organization, and a few details.

What other local organizations in the Tri-Cities have giving programs during the upcoming holiday season? Announce them on Patch. And when you post the announcement, please use the "Holiday Guide" category.

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