2021 Holiday Resources

I usually do these types of posts before Thanksgiving, but I’ve been looking for as many resources as possible to help those in need.

Much like last year, there aren’t a lot of free events, and most resources are stretched thin, as 2021 was as hard as 2020 for a lot of families.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Toys for Joy will not be holding their annual event this year, instead, their site sends you to other resources such as The Rock Church for food, and The Salvation Army for other additional resources. The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.

Sunday, December 19th, 2021 from 11am-2pm  is the annual H.O.P.E. event hosted by New Vision Church. Every child ages 0-11 will get a free toy! This is an all-free family fun event filled with free toys, carnival games and prizes, a live petting zoo, big bike giveaways, food, haircuts, jumpers, arts and crafts, live performances, DJ, and a whole lot more! The event will be held at both New Vision Church and Colina Del Sol Park and Recreation which is directly across the street. The entrance is at 5310 Orange Ave., San Diego, CA 92115.

Hope Leadership Academy is hosting an Event, Toys for Hope on December 18, 2021,9:00am – 1:00pm at the King Chavez School: 415 31st St. San Diego, CA 92102. Toys for Hope will be a walk-thru experience this year! Free toys for kids 13 and younger, free groceries, and bike raffles!

211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in just a few days, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any free local events, please leave a comment. 

Holiday Light Displays: Socially Distanced Family Fun!

One of our favorite family activities this time of year is to drive around the county and check out Christmas lights. I pack some snacks and hot chocolate (or just white milk for the Bitty Bird- She doesn’t like cocoa- I know…), and we head out for an adventure. I usually grab a couple extra fluffy blankets too. They tend to fall asleep on the way home!

I’ve included our family favorites, as well as some that came recommended by my Facebook fans. I did not include any that charge a fee to see. There are quite a few professional displays that charge a fee to drive-thru all over the county.

There are a few that I did not include as I have heard they are dark (Knob Hill in Vista), or the owners of the homes have moved or chosen not to do a display this year.

East County:

  • Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun 6-10 pm.
  • 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. Nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1-25, 5:30-9 pm. Most of the houses on this street are very well decorated with lights and moving displays! They have a Facebook page too!
  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Through December 26th, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular!  Starlight Circle even has a Facebook page!

North County:

  • 12631 Stoutwood St., Poway Off Twin Peaks Rd. & Deerwood St. Nicknamed “The Griswolds.”
  • 23542 Bassett Way, Ramona  Sun-Th, 5:30pm -10pm; Fri & Sat, 5:30pm – 11pm

Be safe, stay in your cars, or mask up and stay socially distant from others.

If you know of any light displays in San Diego County that are active this year and free- Please leave a comment! (that you have gone to- please no linking to other websites)

2020 Holiday Resources

2020 has been, quite frankly, a kick to the balls for so many of us. I’m posting holiday resources now, and I’ll be updating with as many other resources as I find them to help y’all out.

With all of the CDC recommended safety measures and well as local and state regulations to help limit the further spread of COVID-19, many of the programs that I have written about in past years have been changed or altogether eliminated.

If any of these programs look like a good fit for your family, I urge you to apply ASAP. There is a greater need for assistance this year, and many of these programs are spread thin.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out if any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

A Facebook friend posted this link a few weeks ago, Operation Santa 2020 is a group I am not entirely familiar with, but it looks like they will be helping out some families this holiday season. Nominations for Operation Santa 2020 close on 11/6/2020 (that’s this Friday), and there are two requirements:

  • Operation Santa is only considering nominations for families with reliable contact information, whether it be email or phone number.
  • Nominated families must reside in San Diego County to be considered.

If you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The dates for turning in completed applications starts this week (Tomorrow to be exact). You can find specific information here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has served San Diego County families for over 20 years. Because of COVID-19, they are unable to host their amazing events. One of their main sponsors is The Rock Church. I would recommend contacting The Rock Church to see if any of their locations will be hosting a toy or food giveaway for the holidays.

The Salvation Army also has programs to help families during the Christmas Season. You can find out more here.

Toys For Tots is also a resource for holiday gifts for kids.

211 San Diego also has a lot of great resources. If you are outside San Diego County, check 211 in your area!

If you know of any other holiday events or programs that can help those in need, please post links in the comments!

Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

2019 Holiday Resources

I usually do this post later in November, but I’ve been getting a lot of requests for information for 2019.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 3 San Diego area events on December 14th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All three locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.24.34 AM.pngThe Cameron YMCA is hosting a free Cookies and Milk with Santa on Saturday, December 14th.
Bring the entire family and join us for our annual Cookies with Santa!
Enjoy Cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa, pin the
heart on the Grinch and photos with Santa!
Pre-Registration Required. This event is not limited to YMCA members! To register, please call the Cameron YMCA in Santee at 619-449-9622. Check with your local YMCA- most San Diego area YMCA locations have an event like this.
santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need addition to the application here.

 

The intake dates are November 21 or December 3, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rio Seco School on Cuyamaca St.

Representatives will be there to assist you in processing your application.

Once again the ladies of the  American Veterans Ladies Auxiliary Post 534 are working with the VFW in Lakeside to host a super fun event for kids age 0-11.

In addition to meeting Santa, there will be crafts, snacks, and lots of fun!

vfwxmas.jpg

In order for your kids to receive a gift, please sign up your kids up to 12 years old via email to Jerrilynn: Kids_Christmas_Party@cox.net by December 9th please include name, age & gender and gift idea under $20.00.

If you know of any other holiday events or programs that can help those in need, please post links in the comments!

 

Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

2018 Holiday Resources For Those in Need

2018 has been a hard year for so many families. Thankfully there are many local groups that are offering help to neighbors in need.

The holiday are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

unnamed (1).jpgMeet the Need at Faith Chapel is giving away 100 6-7 foot Christmas trees this Sunday, December 2, 2018 to the first 100 people who register.

If you desire a tree, plan on coming to Faith Chapel to register as early as 8:30am. Trees are limited to the first 100 registrants. Bring tie downs or whatever else you need to take a tree home with you.  From their email, “Meet The Need will be held at the Faith Chapel Activity Center at the top of the church property beginning at 1:00pm. There will be lots of fun activities and a wonderful Mexican Themed meal!

Registration for Meet The Need will be held in the church lobby at the top of the campus in the main foyer. Registration will begin as early as 8:30am and will be open till 10:30am. We only have 100 Christmas Tree’s, available for the first 100 registrants that want a Christmas Tree. So if you want to guarantee yourself a tree, show up as early as possible.

Registration will be from 8:30-1:00pm Feel free to register at this link now. It’ll help the line move faster but please know this does not count as saving your place in line for a tree. Doors open for Meet The Need at 1:00pm.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 3 San Diego area events on December 8th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All three locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.
Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.24.34 AM.pngThe Cameron YMCA is hosting a free Cookies and Milk with Santa on Saturday, December 15th.
Bring the entire family and join us for our annual Cookies with Santa!
Enjoy Cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa, pin the
heart on the Grinch and photos with Santa!
Pre-Registration Required. Thanks to PetSmart of El Cajon, all children registered will receive a plush toy at the event while supplies last.
This event is not limited to YMCA members! To register, please call the Cameron YMCA in Santee at 619-449-9622.
46483028_285394222087178_1187343279482470400_o.jpgEast County kids are invited to meet Santa, enjoy crafts and snacks with the Santee-Lakeside Elks Lodge on December 15th.
Here is the event page with details and the address

In order for your kids to receive a gift, please sign up your kids up to 12 years old via email to Jerrilynn: Kids_Christmas_Party@cox.net by December 7th please include name, age & gender and gift idea under $20.00

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.08.55 AM.pngNew Christian Fellowship in Hillcrest is having an fun, free event on December 22nd. There will be toys for kids 12 and under, as well as food, games, and fn. You can find more information on their Facebook page here.
And if you are in a position to help out, please consider donating to your local food or toy drive. Many grocery stores have red donation barrels, schools are doing canned food drives for their local food banks this time of year too.
46917582_1434957259969602_6344294160849174528_n.jpgIn Santee, Santee Santas and our local Chick-Fil-A have teamed up to “Stuff the truck” this Saturday, December 1st.
Bring a toy or non-perishable food item and receive a free menu item (see the flier). You can learn more here.
Firefly Wellness Day Spa is also holding a food drive.
When you donate, not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping others, but you will also get a thank you coupon from Firefly Wellness Day Spa. Each person who donates ten (10) or more items will receive a coupon for a FREE brow wax or a $20 coupon to use at Firefly Wellness Day Spa which can either be used as a holiday gift or use it for yourself on your next visit. (Limit one coupon per person.)
You can get details and learn more here.
Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others?