Many local opportunities to give this holiday season

Volunteers from Cal Poly Pomona’s Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity (L-R) Lucas McAusland, Donovan Flores, Luis Gonzalez, Aneesh Patil and Isiah Greene served 9-year-old Mia and others last week at AbilityFirst’s Thanksgiving dinner. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo |

With more than 100 nonprofits operating in and around the City of Trees, there’s an abundance of local opportunities to donate this holiday season.

To that end, the Courier connected with nine local charities to get a sense of their holiday missions.

Donations fund a variety of needs, including services for special needs children and adults, fine arts opportunities for youngsters, helping formerly incarcerated women reintegrate into society, offering a safe haven for abused women, providing shelter and food for unhoused persons, and many more.

Some nonprofits also add additional services during the holiday season, such as Kiwanis Club of Claremont which operates its See’s Candy holiday fundraiser through December 24 at Hibbard Auto Center, 191 S. Indian Hill Blvd.

Inland Valley Hope Partners feeds the hungry at its local food pantries, provides housing to families around the Inland Empire, and hosts its annual Adopt-A-Family project. Gift items are due by Friday, December 8. More info is at and

“The assistance we provide with your support helps transform lives so that families in crisis once again become contributing members of the community,” wrote IVHP President and Chief Executive Officer Kami Grosvenor in an email.

Additional holiday-centric missions include Children’s Foundation of America’s Holiday Heroes campaign, its gift-wrapping fundraiser at Montclair Place, 5060 N. Montclair Plaza Ln., from December 8 to December 24, and its annual toy drive for children through December 22. Details are at

“Funds raised benefit children in foster care, mental health programs, crisis centers, shelters and underserved school districts,” wrote Jenelle Phillips, CFA’s director of development, in an email. “Thanks to our donors, we provide the difference between what it takes to survive and what it means to thrive. It’s the little things that make a big difference.”

Recent donations of turkeys from IVHP and the Los Angeles Food Bank have helped Service Center for Independent Life provide a Thanksgiving bird to 58 local families on its food pantry list, wrote SCIL Executive Director Larry Grable in an email. Some of the monetary donations to SCIL at this time of year go toward the Siobhan Newman Memorial Food Bank, which feeds about 188 people every Friday.

“We serve the underserved and unserved populations, and we cannot do it alone,” Grable added. “These donations help us to grow.”


A Thanksgiving dinner plate is finished with gravy last week at Claremont nonprofit AbilityFirst’s formal feast. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo


Brooke Banegas, adoption manager for Claremont’s Priceless Pets Rescue, said the no-kill shelter is attempting to home about 600 rescues across its four locations during the holidays. Letters for Santa Claus, written by volunteers, will hang from the animals’ cages for the community to read, answering why they should bring a furry friend home. Monetary donations help fund PPR’s veterinarian services at the Chino Hills location, and other essentials. Donations of wet kitten food, towels, paper towels, blankets, and everything pet related are also always accepted. More info is at

“Animals are coming at a crazy rate,” Banegas said. “The reason that we’re able to do what we do is based off of the donations, whether it’s monetary, whether it’s just coming in and dropping off some blankets, some food, whatever that may be. That is the reason we’re up and running. Because we’re a nonprofit, we fully depend on those donations and volunteers.”

Julie Martin, AbilityFirst director for the Claremont center, said “Funds equal opportunity,” for social outings and field trips, including last week’s feast where special needs children and adults enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner and dance party with volunteers. AbilityFirst serves people ages 5 to 21 with developmental disabilities through afterschool programs and its PossAbility program. This holiday season it is requesting donations of Amazon gift cards, arts and crafts supplies, board games, outdoor toys, and other recreational and specialized equipment. Learn more at


AbilityFirst Claremont participant Dillion, 19, at last week’s AbilityFirst Thanksgiving feast. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo


Other nonprofits such as Claremont Heritage, the town’s history keepers, the Newcomers Access Center, a Claremont-based group helping immigrants from 13 countries get established in the U.S., and Claremont Educational Foundation, a Claremont Unified School District support group, are hoping the holidays can be a season of giving. More information on each is at;; and

“We are only able to make a difference because of the incredibly generous support of donors in our community,” wrote Richard Chute, a former CEF president, in an email.

On November 16, the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, forecasted a rosy picture on consumer spending this upcoming holiday season, which is expected to reach record levels during November and December, between $957.3 and $966.6 billion, 3% to 4% over last year’s totals.

Giving USA reported in June total charitable giving in the United States for 2022 was $499.3 billion.


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