Studies have shown that a third of all online giving occurs in December, and 22 percent of annual giving happens in the last two days of the year. This most likely is due to the motivation of yearly tax deductions, but let’s pretend it’s also because we’re all just such good, charitable people.
Either way if you’ve got an extra $20 in the bank or just want to send 2016 off with a little bit of good charity, you’re not alone. We’ve rounded up five of our favorite local charities and organizations that deserve a little help before 2017 hits.
It’s hard to criticize a nonprofit whose mission statement includes the phrase “radical hospitality.” Lava Mae, the mobile hygiene organization, has converted two Muni buses and two trailers into mobile shower facilities which are placed in various locations throughout the city four days a week. The target audience: those who don’t have easy access to bathrooms or shower facilities, including people experiencing homelessness.
You can donate as little as $10 a month to help Lava Mae service the city’s homeless population, or make a one time donation to keep the shower buses running here.
Homeless Youth Alliance
San Francisco has more homeless youth than any other city in the country, and they’re not an easy population to serve. Many come from foster homes, experienced abuse, or have addiction problems. Luckily, Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA) is on the job, with a personalized program that understands to the struggles young people face on the street.
HYA specifically focuses on youth living in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, helping them reconnect with their families, access health services, and talk with counselors. The organization has experienced some logistical office struggles this year and could certainly use the community’s help continuing their work. Donations can be made here.
SF/Marin Food Bank
It’s hard to find an SF-based organization that serves more people than the SF/Marin Food Bank. Each year the big warehouse in the Dogpatch distributes 48 million pounds of food to those experiencing food insecurity in San Francisco and Marin—that’s more than 100,000 meals per year.
With numbers like that it can be hard to imagine how your $20 can make a difference, but it can: every $1 the Food Bank receives in donations translates to $5 worth of food, thanks to the organization’s ability to place bulk orders and get discounts. And your help is needed: the food bank told KQED in December that it’s nearly $300,000 short of its fiscal year goal. That’s a lot of missing food, and in a land-of-plenty like California, pretty perverse. Money can be donated to the highly effective food bank here.
If you want to help people experiencing food insecurity, homeless individuals and youth all in one donation, look no farther than St. Anthony’s. The large facility in the Tenderloin has a booming food kitchen, which serves up more than 2 million pounds of free food to the community each year. St. Anthony’s also has a medical center, a technology lab, a free clothing program, an addiction recovery center, and a job training program. They always take volunteers, but if time is short then consider sending them a donation, knowing it’ll get used down to every last penny.
San Francisco Animal Care & Control
There are dozens of well respected animal rescue organization in the Bay Area that deserve our help, but for many of the homeless pets in the city, the path to a new home begins at Animal Care & Control. As they’re a city-funded shelter they’re required to take in everything, be it a stray dog, injured pigeon, or a hoarder’s collection of rats.
The SPCA and other breed-specific rescues often swoop in to pull cute animals and reduce the shelter’s load, but at the end of the day it’s still the hardest-working animal rescue facility in the city.
Despite getting some city funds the shelter is in dire need of repairs (it’s not earthquake sound) and employees often put calls out on Facebook for donations of peanut butter, cat toys and other things to enhance resident animals’ lives.
Any organization you wish was on this list? Let us know about them in the comments.