Living outside is never easy, but the winter rain and cold create additional burdens for unhoused people. And while the rest of the world seems to be celebrating the holidays, it’s easy for unhoused people to feel alone and forgotten. For these reasons, this is a time of year when donations can go a long way.

However, it’s also important to maintain this support year-round. Homelessness does not stop when spring begins—your unhoused neighbors will still need your support when the spirit of “holiday giving” evaporates with the winter rains.

This guide was created to shed light on some ways you can support the homeless community in the Bay Area. The organizations and individuals listed work directly with unhoused people to meet their immediate needs. While it is by no means a comprehensive list, we hope it inspires you to get involved with the homeless community.

(Inti Gonzalez)


There are many grassroots organizations in the Bay Area that are dedicated to helping unhoused people. The services they provide range from community outreach and distributing resources to advocating for policy change. Here are a handful of those organizations. All of the groups on this list invest all the donations they receive directly into the homeless community.


Needs: Bikes, laptops, art supplies, school supplies, heating pads, hygiene kits, gently used camping gear. YSA is also the publisher of Street Spirit! All donations to YSA help keep the newspaper up and running. Donate online at this link. Checks can be sent to: 1740 Alcatraz Avenue, Berkeley CA 94703.


Needs: PWL is seeking donations of tents, sleeping bags, tarps, gloves, hothands, beanies, warm socks, new underwear, hot cocoa mix, instant coffee, packaged snacks, and bottled water. Donations can be dropped off at 2630 Union Street, Oakland, on Sundays between 1:00 – 3:00pm.

As an all-volunteer organization, PWL also greatly appreciates mon- etary donations. Checks can be mailed to: 535 Dock St #113 Tacoma, WA 98402. (Make checks payable to: PDAP or NASEN Grants, and write “Punks with Lunch” in the memo.)


Needs: The Village is currently seeking tents (six-person or larger), socks, bottled water, comforters, sleeping bags, solar chargers, solar lights, lan- terns, palettes, flooring, and plywood. They are currently raising money for porta potty and trash services for an encampment on E12th Street & 22nd Ave. You can support them financially by sending electronic Home Depot or Urban Ore gift cards to, or by sending money to their PayPal.


Needs: SOS! Richmond is conduct- ing a Winter Campaign to distribute tarps, sleeping bags, tents, rain & cold weather gear, and construction materials for building the cabins. Donations can be dropped off at Berland Design, 653 S 31st St, Richmond, CA 94804, near the Regatta exit on 580. Volunteers can email at SOS! Richmond is currently fundraising to get volunteer and paid Housing & Resource Navigation professionals on the streets to help people get in- side this winter. You can send monetary donations to SOS! Richmond, 2707 Chanslor Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804.


You can send the East Oakland Collective money online at this link. Checks can be sent to P.O. Box 5382 Oakland, California.


Needs: Dorothy Day House is seeking donations of casual street clothing, sleeping bags, backpacks, and other weatherproof gear. Do- nations can be dropped off at 1931 Center Street seven days a week from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Money can be donated online at this link. Checks can be mailed to: PO BOX 12701 Berkeley 94712.


Needs: Men’s blue jeans, blankets, tarps, winter jackets, and socks. If have resources to donate, send an email to describing what you have.They will respond with a message arranging a drop-off. Checks can be sent to PO Box 2771 Berkeley, CA 94702


Needs: The Coalition on Homelessness relies on individual donors to make up the vast majority of their budget. You can donate online at this link. Checks can be sent to: Coalition on Homelessness, 280 Turk St., San Francisco, CA 94102

(Inti Gonzalez)


You can also help your homeless neighbors by volunteering your time. This list comprises some of the volunteer opportunities that take place each week across the Bay Area. All of the organizations listed work closely with the homeless community to support their immediate needs.


YSA is seeking volunteers to mentor or tutor youth, help with resume writing, or assist with organizing their studio space. If you are interested in volunteering with YSA, email Hannah Trumbull:


This winter, PWL is hosting their first Winter Care Village—an event where multiple service providers gather in one location, making it easier for those in need to access resources in a short amount of time. They are looking for partners to donate services, including haircuts, vet services, massages, acupuncture, and bike repair. If you want to provide a service, contact them directly at

• December 14, 2019 from 12 :00pm–4:00 pm
•Location: Mosswood Park (Oakland)


New underwear
Long underwear and thermal shirts
Antibacterial for first aid
Duct tape
Bottled water
Garbage bags
Loaded Clipper cards or gift cards to places like Target Home Depot, Shell, Chevron, Walmart, & McDonald’s


Dog Food Tarps
Rain gear
Sleeping bags
Clorox wipes
Push brooms
Bike locks
Garbage cans
Storage containers
Fire extinguishers
Foam mattress toppers
Butane cans for camping stoves
Cots or reclining lawn chairs


#FeedThePeople is the arm of The Village that distributes food and supplies to homeless encampments in the East Bay. They are seeking volunteers to help with cooking; soliciting food donations; driving; serving meals; and administering “Know your rights” trainings. If you are interested in volunteering with #FeedThePeople, contact Needa Bee by phone or text: (510) 355-7010. The Village also needs people with building experience to volunteer with their Build Committee—a team of people who builds shelter for homeless people. If you are interested in volunteering to build platforms, wooden cabins, styrofoam yurts, or kitchens and cabinets in homeless encampments, contact Ayat at this number: (510) 890-7022.


SOS! Richmond is seeking volunteers to help with outreach and build cabins. If you would like to volunteer with their team in Richmond, email Daniel Barth:


The Catholic Worker invites you to participate at their Sunday breakfast at People’s Park, in Berkeley. The breakfast takes place every Sunday. Arrive at 7:00 am to assist with serving, and get to know your homeless neighbors.


East Oakland Collective serves hot meals to the homeless twice a week.

• Wednesdays: hot meal distribution in East Oakland. Meet at 6:00 pm at the encampment on E.8th Street and Alameda Avenue.

• Fridays: hot meal distribution in East Oakland. Meet at 5:30 pm at Oakland City Church, 2735 McArthur Blvd.

For directions or questions, contact Candice Elder by phone or text at (510) 990-0775. To learn more or track schedule changes, visit their website here.

They are also seeking volunteers for their event, Feed the Hood 13. Feed the Hood is a bi-monthly event where hundreds of volunteers gather to as- semble and distribute bag lunches and hygiene kits to unhoused people across Oakland. Children of all ages are invited to attend with a parent/guard- ian. To volunteer at Feed the Hood 13, see below:

• Sunday, December 15th at 7:00 am
• Location: East Oakland Youth Development Center (8200 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94621)
• RSVP & learn more here.


Consider the Homeless needs volunteers to help with their soup run—a hot meal service in Berkeley delivered out of the Consider the Homeless van every Thursday and Sunday at 5:00 pm. They are looking for cooks, co-pilots, cleanup crew, and Acme bread pickup volunteers. To learn more about what’s involved with each of these positions, call Barbara Brust at (510) 560-4284 and leave a voicemail describing your interest.

Apart from the soup run, Consider the Home- less is seeking several dedicated administrative volunteers:

• Supplies Coordinator: Somebody who can help organize donations of clothing and re- sources. They are also seeking somebody who has storage space and can help store donations.

• Bookkeeper: Somebody who can help with bookkeeping, and knows how to use quickbooks online.

• Development Assistant: Somebody who can volunteer to research and help write grants.

• Web Assistant: Someone who can help maintain and update the website.

If you are interested in getting involved with Consider the Homeless, you can email them at: or call this number and leave a voicemail: (510) 560-4284.


Chilis on Wheels always needs volunteers for monthly distribution of hot food, vegan dog food, personal care packages, and donuts. If you are interested in volunteering, visit their Facebook page for information by searching “Chilis on Wheels Bay Area Chapter.”


(Inti Gonzalez)

Mutual aid plays a crucial role in supporting unhoused people. By giving directly to people in need with no strings attached, we build relationships and dismantle the assumption that poverty is the fault of the poor. Mutual aid can take many forms. Below is a list of ways you can give directly to your homeless neighbors. It ranges from delivering supplies to homeless encampments, to donating to GoFundMe campaigns for individuals, to keeping cash and other useful supplies in your backpack for people you encounter on the street. It can also be as simple as a smile—stopping to say hello goes a long way toward making everyone feel at home in the Bay Area.



Where Do We Go Berkeley represents two encampments at the end of University Avenue, near the Berkeley Marina. One is across the road from the Seabreeze Market and Deli, and the other is directly under the I-80 overpass (under the University Avenue exit). Together, these encampments house between 65-80 people.

Needs: heavy duty waterproof tarps (6 mil, 10×20); 10×50, 10×20, and 10×100 plastic sheeting for ground cover; mylar blankets; Mr. Heater Buddy indoor-safe propane heaters; small fire extinguishers.

If you want to donate, contact: Andrea by phone: (510) 640-7390
Or email:


Here/There is a drug and alcohol free encampment in South Berkeley, where Adeline Street meets Alcatraz Avenue. The camp was founded in 2017 by First They Came For The Homeless, a homeless-led political organizing group. It currently houses 21 people.

Needs: Four-person tents; tarps (10 mil, 12×16, or 14×16); sleeping bags; men’s winter jackets; gloves; beanies; socks; coolers; tupperware; door mats; restaurants mats; storage containers; bottled water.

37 MLK

37 MLK is an encampment in Oakland on the corner of 37th Street and Mar- tin Luther King Jr Way. It was founded in 2019 by activist Stefani Eche- verría-Fenn, who wanted to create a safe and stable environment for black homeless seniors in her neighbor- hood. It currently houses 21 people.

Needs: Big shade canopies; gar- bage cans; garbage bags; heavy duty waterproof tarps; lumber to build fences etc;camping stoves or coolers; heating devices (such as camping or patio heaters); a generator (or contri- butions toward a generator).

They are also seeking neighbors who are willing to help dispose of trash, or people who can provide a place where they can empty their camping toilet. You can also send them money at this link (make a note that the money is for 37 MLK). Purchase items off their Amazon wishlist.


Berkeley Friends on Wheels is an RV encampment in West Berkeley, at 8th and Harrison Street. The group was formalized in May of 2018 after they were evicted from the Berkeley Mari- na where they had been living in the parking lot of the vacant restaurant, His Lordships. It is currently made up of 23 lived-in vehicles.

Needs: Sleeping bags; Mr. Heater Buddy indoor-safe propane heaters; 16 oz propane fuel cylinders; head lamps; garbage bags; AA/AAA batteries; 6-gallon water containers; car side window sunshades (roller blinds are a plus); vehicle oil (to help with oil changes); vehicle coolant; rubber seal liquid waterproof coat- ing (prevents leaks on RV roofs); non-perishable food. They are also seeking local mechanics to assist with general vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tire alignments, tune-ups, and changing brakes.

They are also fundraising to buy a new RV for one of their community members who got towed two months ago and has been bouncing around between neighbors RVs ever since. She is transgender, and has been struggling to find work so has 0 income. You can support her by sending a check. Make the check out to “Chloe Verron” Mail to: Yesica Prado, 121 North Gate Hall #5860, Berkeley CA 94720


In November, two unhoused mothers claimed a vacant home in Oak- land to live in with their children. In doing so, they spearheaded Moms- 4Housing, a movement of homeless and marginally housed mothers in Oakland who believe that housing is a human right. Their movement
is about forming community with other unhoused Oakland families, and reclaiming from speculators and profiteers. Donate at this link. To join their text alert system, text your name to 510-800-7810.



Markaya is a single mother who is raising money to buy a Toyota High- lander or similar vehicle so she can go back to work, and transport her eight-year-old daughter to and from school. She is an Oakland native who has been unhoused for over five years due to a bad landlord and the cost of living in the Bay Area. Donate to her GoFundMe here.

You can also help purchase birthday presents for her daughter, Za’Moria, via this Amazon wishlist.


Kymberli and Lenton are a homeless couple in Oakland who are raising money for a new work truck after purchasing a commercial vehicle that was inoperable. They will use the truck for their yard work business. You can send them money for a new truck at this link.


Derrick Soo is a formerly homeless activist who is raising money for emergency shelter for unhoused people who are evicted from encampments and displaced. Donate to his GoFundMe to help cover the cost of tents and canopy shelters.


Talya-Husbands-Hankin is a homeless advocate who provides survival resources such as tents, blankets, hygiene products, food, and water to unhoused people all over Oak- land..All the money donated to her fundraising project, Love and Justice in the Streets, goes directly back into the homeless community. Donate here.



Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) is an interfaith “green” art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California. Founded in 2007, YSA is a non-profit organization that is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25. YSA’s mission is to use art jobs and jobs training to empower and transform the lives of youth, giving young people the skills, experience, and self-confidence needed to meet their full potential.


West Oakland Punks With Lunch (PWL) is a guerilla not-for-profit Harm reduction outreach organization. Founded in 2017, they make and distribute about 150 lunches a week for people experiencing homelessness in West Oakland. They also distribute needle kits, hygiene packs, and miscellaneous items such as dog food and tarps.


The Village is a grassroots community group in Oakland that uses direct action to advocate for unhoused people. Since 2017, they have been building autonomous encampments on public and private land; distributing food and resources to 30 home- less encampments throughout Oakland; advocating for policy change; leading political education and media/leadership trainings for unhoused people; and more.


SOS! Richmond (Safe Organized Spaces) is a grassroots, volunteer organization in Richmond, CA. Founded in June 2018, the community organizing network is comprised of housed and unsheltered neighbors who work together to bring on personal, neighborhood, and institutional changes SOS! Richmond conducts public space cleanup and outreach across Central Richmond with its homeless “Streets Team.” It collaborates with City of Richmond to develop an empowerment based “Transitional Village” to provide interim sheltering in an intentional community where residents live in sleeping cabins, gain access to services and resources, and share responsibility to secure their safe, stable, and organized community.

You can keep up with SOS! Richmond on facebook at “SOS! Richmond Safe Organized Spaces”


The Catholic Worker is a not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley. Founded in 1997, they have been serving several meals per week to homeless people for 22 years. They also provide a variety of other mail, legal, tax, and health services, as well as outreach that ranges from hospital and prison visits to advocacy for healthcare. The Catholic Worker serves a hot breakfast every Sunday at People’s Park. Additionally, the organization serves soup three nights a week during the winter months, and provides five holiday meals each year. The organization stresses the importance of taking personal responsibility for those most in need by building relationships rather than just providing services. They support all those in need, as all are welcome.


East Oakland Collective (EOC) is a member-based community organizing group that serves deep East Oakland. Founded in 2016, EOC’s mission is to support underserved communities in East Oakland from the ground up. They do this by advocating for representation in local government; working to increase individ- ual and collective wealth in East Oakland; and addressing the immediate needs of homeless people across the city. Through their twice-weekly hot meal delivery and their bi-monthly event—Feed the Hood— they regularly provide food and hygiene kits to our unhoused brothers and sisters.

Additionally, their Homeless Rapid Re- sponse Team (HRRT) is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide food, sup- plies, and crisis management to encampment residents in East Oakland.


Dorothy Day House Berkeley (DDH) is a volunteer-based non-profit organization in Berkeley. For over 30 years, DDH has provided meals, shelter, and employment for low-income people and people who experience homelessness. They operate a year-round night shelter and daytime drop- in center in Berkeley. During the winter months, they also operate an Emergency Storm Shelter that operates during rain and low temperatures. Through these services, they provide multiple meals per day, as well as access to washing machines, lockers, and on-site counselors.


Consider the Homeless is a Berkeley-based non-profit community group of neighbors and friends who want to help those less fortunate. Since Thanksgiving, 2014, they have been delivering dinner and supplies directly to those huddled in doorways, on sidewalks, and in parks.


The Coalition on Homelessness (COH) is a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of homeless people in San Francisco. Since 1987, they have organized grassroots campaigns to advocate for policy change and create permanent solutions to homelessness. Through outreach, they build community and work to protect the human rights of those forced to remain on the streets.


Chilis on Wheels is a Bay Area-based non-profit that provides vegan meals
and personal products to people in need. Through meal shares, clothing drives, and outreach events, Chilis on Wheels’ mission is to make veganism accessible to communities in need while also minimizing our impact on animals and the planet.

Alastair Boone is the Director of Street Spirit.