Assistance programs, nonprofit organizations and churches throughout East County are gearing up for the holiday season collecting food and taking registrations from those in need in hopes of lending a helping hand to as many families and seniors as possible.
The Friends of Oakley is one of the local groups that will be providing food baskets for Christmas. Already the group held registration on Tuesday and Thursday this week. It will host a third registration from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the city of Oakley White House Community Annex at 204 Second St.
The Friends of Oakley program serves 300 families and 50 seniors from Oakley, as well as families from Bethel Island with students who attend Oakley schools.
"The Friends of Oakley are proud to be providing our Christmas Basket services to those in need within our community," said Pat Anderson, president of the Friends of Oakley organization. "Having done this for the sixth year, this year we look forward to another successful event."
The Oakley program provides all families with one family holiday meal of a turkey and additional food as well as a wrapped toy for each child up to the age of 17 in each family.
Each year the program spends a day just setting up the packages of food and wrapping toys. This year the date is Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. at Almond Grove Elementary School in Oakley.
"We especially thank those who volunteer their services to us. For without them, this task would be insurmountable," Anderson said. "We wish everyone Happy Holidays."
Like many local programs, Friends of Oakley does not require any financial documents or proof of need. They do, however, request that those signing up for the program bring a water or PG&E bill for proof of residency and a California driver's license or identification card with matching address.
The group states that if the registered family is determined to be a duplicate with Friends of Oakley or another service provider or invalid for any reason the registration will be void. For more information on this program, contact the Friends of Oakley at 925-625-5745.
Friends of Oakley is not the only program in Oakley supporting families in need over the holidays. The Oakley-Delta Lions Club is also providing its annual service of giving away holiday food baskets. The Lions Club donates 50 baskets.
The organization will be hosting a canned food drive from Dec. 2 to Dec. 19 at Gehringer Elementary School, 100 Simoni Ranch Road in Oakley.
"Anyone wanting to donate a canned food or a turkey can drop them off at Gehringer School," said Denise Arnold, organizer for the program.
The organization is also collecting monetary donations through the mail. Those interested can send a check to Oakley-Delta Lions Club, P.O. Box 112, Oakley, CA 94561.
"We're also looking for volunteers sorting the canned food on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. at Gehringer School," she said. Those interested in helping can stop by to lend a hand on that day.
As always, the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano counties is also continuing its efforts to help families in need during the holidays and all year long. To make donations easier, the organization is providing a new website that will allow people to make donation in several different methods. The donations part of the website is at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/foodbankccs.
By filling out the form on the website, donations can be made automatically on an annual, quarterly or monthly basis. Those donating can also site exactly where they want their donation to be used.
Mary Piepho, Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 3, will accept donations at her Brentwood office and she and her staff will fill out the paper work for residents.
Checks can be mailed or dropped off during business hours to Supervisor Piepho's office at 3361 Walnut Blvd., Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513. Donations for this holiday season should be postmarked or delivered on or before Dec. 31.