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Join the fight for equity this MLK Day and beyond

January 15, 2021

The past year has been a pivotal one in the fight for justice and equity. Many people around the country have spoken out about the racial discrimination and systemic inequalities that affect people of color on a daily basis, especially African Americans. Instances of police violence—and the overwhelming toll that COVID-19 has taken on communities of color—demonstrated that the fight for a just and equitable world did not end with Martin Luther King Jr.

United Way Bay Area supports protestors marching under the banner of #BlackLivesMatter and all those raising their voices for justice. But protesting is just one way to join the fight for equity.

We invite you to join that fight here in the Bay Area by volunteering at one of the opportunities below:


FIRST 5 Santa Clara County

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County is proud to serve the young children and families of our county as a funder, a resource, and an advocate. As a volunteer at FIRST 5 Family Resource Center, you will support families and help ensure that children are happy, healthy, and prepared for school and life. Sign up today to help us 1) Make childcare diaper kits OR 2) distribute calming kits and diapers to families and early childcare providers at the Family Resource Centers. There are 2-3 hour shifts available Monday-Saturday between 8am and 3pm. Email Nishma Samat.


Gilroy Compassion Center

The Gilroy Compassion Center is looking for long-term volunteers, 18 years or older to help out two or more days per week. Volunteers help prepare and/or serve lunch, support unhoused community outreach by building relationships with homeless neighbors, and/or do data entry. There are 2-3 hour shifts available throughout the week.


The Health Trust

At the Health Trust, we believe that everyone in our community should have the opportunity to be healthy. A person’s income, race, immigration status, language, age, or zip code should never act as a barrier to health. Sign up today to help sort and store fresh produce and dried food at the Health Trust Jerry Larson Food Basket. Our Second Harvest Food Sort operates on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 11am-2pm. This opportunity is perfect for groups of 5-10 volunteers. To sign up contact Mayra Catalán at volunteers@healthtrust.org or visit the Health Trust’s website.


Martha’s Kitchen

Food is a basic need, not a luxury. At Martha’s Kitchen, we fulfill this need for those who are most vulnerable to food insecurity in our community. In 2020, the number of hungry in our communities has increased significantly. The number of meals provided by Martha’s Kitchen on a weekly basis increased by 100%. Martha’s Kitchen currently distributes 100,000 hot meals and 250,000 pounds of groceries each month, serving the homeless community in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley Region. Volunteer today to support the fight against hunger!

Sign up here or email volunteers@marthas-kitchen.org.


Roots Community Health Center

Roots Community Health Center was founded in Oakland, California, with a mission to uplift those impacted by systemic inequities and poverty. We envision a United States where all communities of African descent are resilient, healthy, self-sufficient, and self-determined. We accomplish this through medical and behavioral health care, health navigation, workforce enterprises, housing, outreach, and advocacy. And we are always looking for volunteers. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities.


The Salvation Army, Silicon Valley

The Salvation Army Silicon Valley provides a variety of resources for seniors, families, addicts, and children throughout the Bay Area. We are currently looking for volunteers to assist with our Food Box Distribution (Drive-Thru or Walk-Thru). This activity takes place outdoors, Mondays-Fridays from 8:30am-12:30pm. You can help by 1) Loading cars for food box distribution OR 2) checking in individuals and families arriving for food pick-up. Sign up to volunteer here.


Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

At Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, we need people like you. People who know that while we all come from diverse backgrounds, we are all one community. Together we can make sure everyone has the nutritious food they need to thrive. We have a number of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups of five or more including, sorting foods in the warehouse or delivering foods to homes to ensure your neighbors get the nutritious food they need.



Sourcewise has been helping older adults age well at home for over 47 years and currently serve more than 100,000 Santa Clara residents each year. As they continue to grow, their need for volunteers is also growing. Whether you are making a wellness call or helping to link a family member to an organization for low-income housing, you can be a vital lifeline and make a positive impact for an elder in need. We welcome volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including high school or college students looking to complete community service hours. Volunteer today to help build emergency first aid kits and/or become a Sourcewise Ambassador and bring companionship to a homebound senior. Minimum 1 hour a week commitment for 2 months. Sign up and volunteer here.



Veggielution in partnership with Off the Grid has created a San José COVID Food Relief Program. Veggielution is working with Fresh Approach to identify local farms, specifically BIPOC-owned farms to supply organic fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and meats. For us, it is important to provide the highest quality of groceries that we can for those who need it the most in San Jose. Volunteer today and help pack farm boxes with fresh produce. Work days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School. Shifts are 8am-1pm or 9am-12pm (optional shorter shift). Sign up here: https://veggielution.org/farm-box.


United Way Bay Area fights for greater opportunity for every single person in our community. We must all do our part, LIVING UNITED to make the Bay Area the kind of place Dr. King dreamed of: where everyone—no matter the color of their skin—has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive.