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SWAYNE B. HALL, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The arrival of the Christmas holiday season is driving a host of Napa County programs to assist those in need, including underprivileged families and children as well as veterans and troops serving overseas.

Local residents, businesses and other groups have a variety of ways to donate or deliver food, toys and other contributions to struggling Napans in time for the holidays. Here are some of the ways to offer aid.

Calistoga’s annual toy and food drive

The Calistoga Firefighters Association continues its annual toy drive in partnership with the Calistoga Police Officers Association food drive. Packages are created for some 30 needy families in Calistoga. Toy donations can be dropped off at the fire station at 1113 Washington St, and food donations can be dropped off at the police station at 1234 Washington St.

Calistoga Community Chest

The all-volunteer organization seeks to raise $30,000 this year to support more than a dozen local organizations such as the fire relief fund, Calistoga Cares, Calistoga Art Center, Calistoga Sober Grad Night, Calistoga Girls’ Softball, and more. Contributions are tax deductible and can be mailed to Calistoga Community Chest, P.O. Box 56, Calistoga, CA 94515.

Toys for Tots and the Napa County Holiday Assistance Program

Organizers in Napa County are seeking thousands of toys for the annual Toys for Tots drive, a centerpiece of an annual effort to bring food and gifts to low-income families for the December holidays.

Drop-off boxes for toys have been set out at various locations and donations will be collected Friday, according to Valerie Aguirre, chairwoman for the Napa County Holiday Assistance Program.

Families who registered for the program in October will receive their gifts Dec. 16 and are entitled to one large and one small toy per child, plus a family gift and one or more boxes of non-perishable foods.

The Holiday Assistance Program is run by a coalition that includes Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the Napa Food Bank, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, American Canyon, Calistoga and Yountville Family Services, and various churches, charities and volunteers in Napa County.

For information on toy drop-off locations or to volunteer, contact Valerie Aguirre at 707-266-4586 or valnmike2@gmail.com. Check donations to pay for toys can be sent to Toys for Tots at 6468 Washington St. (Space 209), Yountville, CA 94599.

Those wishing to volunteer with program also can register online at volunteer.cvnl.org, where candidates can view the available tasks and their dates and times.

CHiPs for Kids toy drive

The California Highway Patrol is gathering toys across Napa County to give to children and teenagers during its annual Christmastime donation drive, CHiPs for Kids.

New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the CHP Napa station, at 975 Golden Gate Drive, on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donation bins also have been set up at the following businesses:

  • Supercuts, 1806 Soscol Ave. (Suite B), Napa
  • Jax White Mule Diner, 1122 First St., Napa
  • Loose Caboose, 820 Third St., Napa
  • Kelly’s Filling Station and Wine Shop, 6795 Washington St., Yountville

For details, contact CHP in Napa at 707-253-4906 or email Officer Marc Renspurger at mrenspurger@chp.ca.gov.

Operation: With Love from Home

Entering its second decade in Napa, Operation: With Love from Home is again rallying volunteers to create 1,200 care packages as holiday gifts for U.S. troops abroad.

Cash donations are being accepted toward postage for the care packages, which organizer Liz Alessio said will run to $13.45 for each 9-pound box. Each package will contain a variety of items such as snacks, beverage packets, toiletries and batteries collected during a donation drive that ran from Nov. 1 until Monday.

Volunteers are invited to join a sorting party to organize the donated items, scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St.

The Christmastime gift drive culminates in a packing bee Saturday in the Napa Valley College gymnasium at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway. Packing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to about noon, and volunteers are asked to arrive before 9 to sign in.

The packing party will open with a Boy Scouts display of colors and the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and volunteers are encouraged to bring photos of active and retired members of the military to be included in a Wall of Honor at the event.

For details, call 707-363-0043, send email to info@opwithlove.org or visit opwithlove.org.

Napa Elks food collection for homeless veterans

Napa Elks Lodge No. 832’s food drive for homeless and at-risk veterans is continuing through Dec. 15, with boxes set out at the lodge at 2840 Soscol Ave. The group is accepting gifts of nonperishable food items as well as soaps, shampoos and toiletries, according to organizer Sandy Silveira.

Food donations will be distributed by the Napa branch of Veterans Resource Centers of America, which opened earlier this month at 1835 First St., according to site director Jeff Baker. Donated goods are taken to the center every Monday for distribution.

The resource center also is accepting gifts of blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing, shoes, boots and toiletries, Baker said.

For details, call the Elks Lodge at 707-255-4522.

Adopt a Family (Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga)

Some 75 needy families in Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga will receive gift cards for the holidays from Adopt a Family, a partnership of Grace Episcopal Church and local family service groups.

Adopt a Family is accepting money donations that will be used to purchase gift cards at Safeway, Target and Wal-Mart, according to organizer Shirley Swanson. Cards purchased with the contributions will be distributed by the COPE Family Center and the UpValley Family Center to households that have registered in advance.

Contributions can be mailed to Grace Episcopal Church at 1314 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574 and must be postmarked by Dec. 11. Checks should be labeled “Adopt a Family” on the memo lines.

For details, those in Napa can contact Swanson at 530-320-1833 or sswanson@foothill.net. St. Helena and Calistoga residents can contact Martha Meals at 707-695-9816.

The Giving Tree

The Napa County Office of Education has set up its third annual Giving Tree to encourage the donation of holiday gifts to local students, the agency announced. The program directed presents to more than 275 families in 2016, the office said in a news release.

A tree was set up Nov. 15 in the lobby of the department’s headquarters at 2121 Imola Ave., Napa. Hung from its branches are Santa Claus ornaments marked for students of Early Childhood Services, as well as “Joy” ornaments for those attending Camille Creek Community School. Visitors can choose an ornament and check its number against folders at the front counter, which will list possible gifts matching each number. The donor can then buy a toy or clothing item for each person listed on the form, wrap the items and attach gift labels, and add the name and ornament number to each present.

All gifts are due, wrapped and labeled, back at the Office of Education’s General Services department by Friday. Gifts will be distributed at Early Childhood and the Camille Creek school during the week of Dec. 11.

For details, contact General Services at 707-253-6828.

Be a Santa to a Senior

For the 14th consecutive year, Home Instead Senior Care is organizing Be a Santa to a Senior, a Christmastime gift drive benefiting seniors living alone without friends or relatives nearby.

Holiday shoppers are invited to support the program by visiting Napa stores where Be a Santa to a Senior is displaying special trees through Dec. 18. Those trees will be decked with paper ornaments bearing seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Visitors can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Community volunteers will then wrap the presents and deliver them to local seniors ahead of the holidays.

Be a Santa to a Senior giving trees can be found at three CVS pharmacies in Napa, at 291 S. Coombs St., 1558 Trancas St. and 675 Trancas St. Another tree is on display at Kaiser Permanente Health Education, 3285 Claremont Way in Napa.

For details, call 707-252-3322 or visit beasantatoasenior.com.

One Warm Coat

One Warm Coat is a group that works with local businesses and groups to provide free coats to those in need during the winter.

The nonprofit supports people and organizations across the U.S. by providing tools and resources to hold local coat drives. The clothing is distributed in the communities where they were collected, to children and adults in need, without charge, according to One Warm Coat’s website.

In Napa County, clothing donations are being accepted at the following businesses:

  • The UPS Store, 952 School St., Napa
  • The UPS Store, 4225 Solano Ave., Napa
  • Big O Tires, 442 Soscol Ave., Napa
  • The UPS Store, 101 W. American Canyon Road, American Canyon

For details, visit onewarmcoat.org.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.