Local nonprofits share ways to donate, volunteer, and support North Lake Tahoe families in need this holiday season
December 20, 2017
Nonprofit organizations in North Lake Tahoe are inviting community members to take the spirit of giving beyond their own homes through small gestures that they say mean the world to people in need.
"The way I see it, working and being a local of 20-plus years here in Incline, you don't even imagine how many people are in need; just because people live in Incline doesn't mean everyone is wealthy," said Nayeli Enriquez-Ramos, office manager for Tahoe Family Solutions of Incline Village.
Enriquez-Ramos explained how items that may seem insignificant can make all the difference in someone's holiday season.
"We know that for a lot of people Christmas is a sad season whether they've lost someone or they aren't with someone they love. A tragedy may have just happened to them — whatever it is, Christmas is our busiest time for counseling because it's so overwhelming when you have so many people who have so much joy and then others who don't," she said.
To spread joy throughout communities in Incline Village, Kings Beach and beyond, Tahoe Family Solutions, the North Tahoe Family Resource Center and Toys For Tots offer plenty of opportunities to give back.
North Tahoe-Truckee Holiday Donation & Volunteer Opportunities
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The Giving Tree is a campaign where Christmas trees at Tahoe Family Solutions, Lake Tahoe School and Incline High School display paper ornaments with wish list items from local families in need.
"A pair of mittens seems like nothing, but you have no clue what that will do for a family; for the child who gets to open them and for the single mom who has been struggling. The Giving Tree is about seeing the smile on the little kids faces, knowing that kids and families will get to be warm this winter," Enriquez-Ramos said.
To participate, select one or several ornaments and sign them out at their location, purchase the gifts, and return them to the location for students to wrap and distribute in time for Christmas.
Give Back Tahoe is the resource center's primary initiative to raise money, participants can donate money to more than 80 nonprofits online through Dec. 30.
"Any size donation is welcomed, Give Back Tahoe is one of our principal efforts to reach new donors and promote local philanthropy, it makes for a fun playful competitive environment to see who can raise the most money for these wonderful causes," said Amy Kelley, executive director of the North Tahoe Family Resource Center.
The 39th Annual Winter Warmth & Wellness is another annual program currently accepting warm clothing and household staples to help community members.
Participate in the distribution on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 2-4 p.m. at the North Tahoe Event Center.
"It's a volunteer-run program and it's incredibly helpful for our low-income families, who are facing some challenges or rough times. They will collect coats, warm clothing, and any type of house cleaning supplies and any toiletries," Kelley said.
Accepted donations include money, non-perishable food, winter clothing, health and hygiene items.
The Village Church Annual Food Drive is coordinated from the church in Incline Village to give families food items as well as the ingredients for a nice holiday meal.
"The families are genuinely grateful and thankful to have food provided so they can have food beyond Christmas, but also a nice Christmas dinner. And the church does provide food boxes year-round so people can come get them any time," said Cindy Ligget, director of the preschool at The Village Church.
To participate, go to Raley's in Incline Village and ask a clerk to purchase a bag for Food for Families. Raley's will provide food items in bulk to the church, which are distributed among boxes and given to families.
"These are all some really core help for families during the holiday season; providing concrete essentials for the household, food and toys," Kelley said.
Toys For Tots is collecting, sorting, wrapping and distributing gifts to North Lake Tahoe-Truckee children throughout the month of December.
To help, you can drop off new, unwrapped toys to the North Tahoe Events Center and participate in the North Tahoe-Truckee distribution day on Saturday, Dec. 16, hosted at the North Tahoe Events Center from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 17 – Wednesday, Dec. 20, volunteers are needed to help sort, package and wrap gifts.
Call Meera Beser at 775.230.1066 or meet at 120 Country Club Dr., Unit #22, behind Austin's from 10a.m. – 5p.m. to help.
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.
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