Oakland, CA — During this season of holiday giving, the plight of our unsheltered
neighbors is likely in the hearts and minds of Oaklanders, many of whom will make
charitable donations and contributions of various kinds to reduce the suffering of those on
Acknowledging the generosity and compassion of our community, the City of Oakland
offers suggestions about what kinds of donations--and where--can make the most positive
impacts to alleviate the hunger and discomfort of people living without shelter, and
provides reminders about well-intended donations and assistance that end up causing more
challenges, and in some cases harm, to the unsheltered community. While seemingly wellintentioned,
dropping off perishable food at homeless encampments can become a health
and safety issue for the campers, who lack adequate refrigeration, cooking facilities and
When food spoils, it attracts rodents and insects, which creates additional health and
sanitation problems for the unsheltered residents. Consider donating non-perishable food,
which doesn’t spoil, or making a difference with some of the many options for holiday
giving are listed below. Please consider donating your time or resources throughout the
year. Often the non-holiday times of the year are when agencies could use your help the
• East Oakland Community Project is a multi-service organization offering emergency
and transitional housing in Oakland. http://www.eocp.net/donate/inv...
• Operation Dignity provides emergency, transitional and permanent housing for
homeless veterans and their families in Alameda County. Operation Dignity also provides
homeless street outreach in Oakland. https://operationdignity.org/o...
• First Place for Youth serves foster kids who have the greatest needs in our community,
helping them find their way as adults and building a foundation for a bright future
• St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County provides relief and support to those in need
through person-to-person assistance and collective action. They are the primary provider
of winter shelter in the City of Oakland.
• Bay Area Community Services provides a variety of programs to assist people in
increasing wellness and ending homelessness
• Covenant House Oakland provides sanctuary and support for homeless and trafficked
youth, ages 18-24.
• St. Mary’s Center provides services for low-income individuals aged 55 and older, who
are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
• Building Futures with Women and Children provides resources, programs and
services to help Alameda County residents build futures free from homelessness and
family violence. http://www.bfwc.org/donate.php
With respect to furniture/appliances, a reminder that it is illegal to drop off these items on
any city streets, be it at an encampment or otherwise. Oaklanders should consider donating
them to community service organizations that collect and redistribute or raise charitable
funds through resale, etc.
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