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As the calendar flips to December and the holiday season, an array of groups in Napa County is stepping up to lend a hand with underprivileged families and children, troops serving abroad and others.

Local residents and businesses can choose from several ways to offer food, toys and other Christmastime donations to those in need. Here are some of the ways to offer aid.

Toys for Tots and the Napa County Holiday Assistance Program

Organizers of the Toys for Tots drive in Napa are seeking thousands of toys for the centerpiece of the annual effort to bring presents and food to low-income families during December.

Toy drop-off boxes were set out Monday at various locations around Napa County, with donations to be collected Dec. 7, according to Valerie Aguirre, chair of the Napa County Holiday Assistance Program.

Families who registered for the assistance program in October will receive their gifts Dec. 15. Each household is entitled to one large and one small toy per child, along with a family present and one or more boxes of nonperishable foods.

The Holiday Assistance Program is operated by a coalition including Toys for Tots, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the Napa Food Bank, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, American Canyon Family Resource Center, Upvalley Family Services, and a variety of churches, charities and volunteers countywide.

A list of Toys for Tots drop-off locations is available at toysfortots.org, where users can search sites by state and county.

For more information on toy drop-off sites or volunteering, contact Aguirre at 707-266-4586 or valnmike2@gmail.com. Donations to pay for toys can be sent by check to Toys for Tots at 6468 Washington St. (Space 209), Yountville, CA 94599.

CHiPs for Kids toy drive

The California Highway Patrol in Napa is gathering toys to give to local youth for its annual Christmastime donation drive, CHiPs for Kids.

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

- Treasury Wine Estates, 555 Gateway Drive, Napa

- Billco’s Billiards and Darts, 1234 Third St., Napa

- The Loose Caboose, 820A Third St., Napa

- Toy B Ville, 1343 Main St., Napa

- Trade Brewing, 731 First St., Napa

- Brewed, Napa Premium Outlets, 865 Factory Stores Drive, Napa

In addition, CHP and Napa Valley Cruisers will co-sponsor a toy collection drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at Fosters Freeze, 1195 W. Imola Ave. in Napa, where vintage cars also will be on display, according to Officer Marc Renspurger.

Donors are asked to contribute only new and unwrapped toys, and not to choose any items resembling firearms or knives.

CHP will accept cash donations to buy more toys at its Napa bureau as well as during the Saturday toy drive. The highway patrol will distribute donated toys Dec. 14 to ParentsCAN and the Cope Family Center, which will then pass the items on to families in need, Renspurger said.

For more information, email Renspurger at mrenspurger@chp.ca.gov or call CHP in Napa at 707-253-4906.

Operation: With Love from Home

The nonprofit Operation: With Love from Home is in the midst of its 12th annual drive to create and send 1,200 care packages for U.S. troops serving abroad during the Christmas season.

The group, which assembles and ships care packages to service members year round, is accepting donated clothing, personal toiletries, snacks and other necessities at drop-off points across Napa County, including its year-round donation site in Napa at Community Outreach, 3448 Villa Lane (Suite 102).

Collections began Oct. 29 and will continue through Dec. 3. Operation: With Love from Home also is accepting donations of cash to pay the $13.65 postage on each of the 9-pound care package boxes.

Items in high demand this holiday season include beef jerky, peanut butter cups, boot socks, coffee singles, tea bags, drink mix packets, and AA and AAA batteries, organizer Liz Alessio said Tuesday.

Care packages also will include Christmas cards handmade by Napa County schoolchildren, members of service groups, and local residents.

Organizing of donated goods will take place at sorting parties where volunteers are invited to help. Sorting will take place Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 at the main conference rooms of Queen of the Valley Medical Center, 1000 Trancas St. in Napa. Each session runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Assembly will take place at a packing bee Dec. 8 in the gymnasium at Napa Valley College, 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway (Highway 221), from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are also sought to help set up the packing bee the evening before, Dec. 7, from 4 to 8 p.m.

A Wall of Honor at the packing event will include photographs of active-duty service members and military veterans.

If someone has a friend or relative stationed overseas with the military, Operation: With Love from Home will send care packages to that person as well as others in his or her unit, so long as the group receives their names by Dec. 3, according to Alessio.

For more information, contact Alessio at 707-363-0043 or info@opwithlove.org. Visit Operation: With Love from Home online at OperationWithLoveFromHome.org or on Facebook.

Be a Santa to a Senior

The Home Instead Senior Care office serving Napa and Solano counties is inviting the community to provide gifts and holiday cheer to seniors who may be isolated from friends or family this holiday season through its Be a Santa to a Senior program.

This is the program’s 14th year. Last year, more than 275 local seniors received 500 gifts.

“Social isolation is a concern among seniors and the holidays often intensify feelings of distance and loneliness,” Jaime Peñaherrera, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, said in a statement. “When we deliver the gifts and spend some time with them, it makes a big difference.”

The organization has partnered with local nonprofits to help with gift collection and distribution.

To help out, go to one of the participating locations and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior tree on display through Dec. 17. Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

The Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations: CVS Pharmacy, 291 S. Coombs St., Napa; CVS Pharmacy, 675 Trancas St., Napa; CVS Pharmacy, 1558 Trancas St., Napa; Kaiser Permanente, 3285 Claremont Way, Napa.

For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 707-552-2266.

Napa Elks Lodge No. 832 and CrossWalk Community Church food drive

Napa Elks Lodge is accepting donations of nonperishable food for its monthly collection drive, which it organizes in partnership with CrossWalk Community Church.

Donations began Nov. 1 for the Elks’ December food distribution and will continue through Dec. 12 in a collection box at the lodge, 2840 Soscol Ave. CrossWalk will distribute the donated food Dec. 18, the third Tuesday of the month, at its church building at 2590 First St. in Napa, according to Executive Pastor Darlene Valencia.

For more information, contact Napa Elks at 707-255-4522 or the CrossWalk church at 707-226-1812.

Adopt-A-Family, St. Helena, Calistoga and Napa

For the past dozen years, members of St. Helena’s Grace Episcopal Church at 1314 Spring St. have adopted needy families for Christmas through the Adopt-A-Family program. This year’s effort began Nov. 11 and continues through Dec. 2.

Organizers plan to assist 75 to 90 local families split among Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga this holiday season, according to coordinator Jennifer Muhlner.

Gift cards in the amount of $50 per family member are being sought, which allows families to buy exactly what they need and want for themselves and their children. “Adopting” a family of four equals $200, or $300 for a family of six.

“We suggest that you put your creativity into the packaging – filling a basket with holiday treats, decorations or fun age-appropriate activities for the children,” Muhlner wrote in a Grace Episcopal newsletter.

Each year the church receives names from the UpValley Family Centers for St. Helena and Calistoga and the Cope Family Center for Napa. Delivery to the Cope Family Center will take place Dec. 3-6, and to the UpValley Family Centers Dec. 10-14.

The community is welcome to help adopt a family, and donations in any amount are welcome. Checks should be written to Grace Episcopal Church, with Adopt-A-Family on the memo line.

For details, call Muhlner at 707-963-6166.

The Giving Tree

The Napa County Office of Education is preparing its fourth annual Giving Tree to receive donations of holiday gifts for local students.

A tree will be set up Nov. 27 in the lobby of department offices at 2121 Imola Ave. in Napa, according to Kaycee Wanlass, the agency’s purchasing and logistics assistant. Ornaments on the tree will be marked with a number, a family name and the number of children in that household, and a corresponding list will include children’s ages, the toys and clothing items needed, and likes and dislikes.

Gifts are due at the Office of Education’s General Services department by Dec. 10, and will be distributed to children Dec. 12-14. The department also will accept donations of department store and supermarket gift cards for families, which can be brought to General Services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information on the Giving Tree, contact Wanlass at kwanlass@napacoe.org or General Services at 707-253-6828.

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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.