Gifts of Love for La Jolla: 12 ways to give this holiday season

By Ashley Mackin

To the tune of “12 Days of Christmas,” starting at Four Calling Birds

: “There are twelve ways this season, to help (your) community. Health/wellness groups, three toy drives, those helping kids and teams doing good in the town.”

OK, so it’s not all 12 days, but there are 12 terrific ways to help organizations that in turn help different groups within La Jolla and San Diego at large. Maybe one of these will touch your heart:

  1. Toys for Tots

About: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve-based toy drive has been collecting donations for children since 1991, which are distributed at Christmas.

What to donate: New, unopened and unwrapped toys appropriate for children under age 12.

How to donate: There are five drop off sites in La Jolla: LF Stores, 7864 Girard Ave., (858) 866-4220; Healthy Back, 8715 Villa La Jolla, (858) 558-2225; San Diego Marriott La Jolla, 4240 La Jolla Village Drive, (858) 597-6332; Torrey Pines Golf Shop, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, (858) 452-3226 ext. 2; UCSD Extension, 9600 North Torrey Pines Road, building C, (858) 534-3117.

Deadline: Dec. 20. Contact:



La Jolla High School is collecting gifts during its holiday gift drive, donating them to families in need. A “giving tree” is posted in the office at 750 Nautilus St., which has tags on it that include a child’s name, age and what they would like. All are welcome to take a tag and bring in the gift, unwrapped, by Dec. 17.

  1. San Diego Food Bank

About: The San Diego Food Bank, which serves some 400,00 San Diegans, is hosting a food drive for the holidays.

What to donate: Canned meats (tuna, ham, chicken), canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables, dried goods (such as dried beans, pasta, rice, and other grains); peanut butter; and infant formula.

How to donate: Drop off at any Vons, including the 7544 Girard Ave. location.

Deadline: Dec. 31


or (858) 527-1419

  1. A Bridge for Kids

About: With a mission of building a bridge between teens needing educational and financial assistance and people who can provide these resources, the La Jolla-based nonprofit matches teens with sponsors based on shared interests.

What to donate: Time or money. Sponsors are always needed, and recommendations for teens in need of sponsorship are being accepted. Financial submissions to the general fund are also being accepted, 100 percent goes to the teens in need.

How to donate: Information at

Contact: or (858) 212-3150

  1. La Jolla Friendly Visitors

About: This group offers a weekly, one- to two-hour visit with seniors or anyone who is homebound. The visits dispel feelings of loneliness and isolation (especially during the holidays) replacing such with hope and fun visits to anticipate.

What to donate: Time.

How to donate: E-mail the organization to sign up.


  1. National CHEERS Foundation

About: La Jolla-based National Care, Health, Empowerment, Education, Research and Support (CHEERS) Foundation, which hopes to be the community resource of record on women’s health issues, continues to raise grant funds for research and health institutions, outreach programs and health advocacy groups.



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