To donate to Share the Spirit, mail check to: Bay Area News Group - East Bay Share the Spirit Fund, PO Box 5498, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 — or donate online here.

The Volunteer Center co-sponsors the Share the Spirit Fund with the Bay Area News Group East Bay which includes our long-standing partner the Contra Costa Times, and the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times Star, The Argus (Fremont) and Daily Review (Hayward). Newspaper readers contribute to the campaign, which benefits nonprofit organizations in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Proceeds from the fund support children, adults and families in need during the holidays.

(Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
Share the Spirit donations hit three-year high

East Bay residents were generous during the holiday season, contributing $194,000 to the annual Share the Spirit campaign, which warms the winter days for the less fortunate.  
The Davis Street Family Resource Center serves about 14,000 people a year from infants to seniors in San Leandro and surrounding communities as far as Oakland and Hayward  
D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group
Founded 50 years ago, today it includes an emergency shelter and meals program as well as long-term "New Life" programs dealing with homelessness and its causes, which often include substance abuse.  
Kristopher Skinner
First Baptist Head Start has been helping low-income parents and kids get child care (and employment) for decades.  
Kristopher Skinner
The Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides funds and volunteers for city park and recreation programs, gives scholarships to holiday campers.  
Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group
Violent assault caused haircutter to lose her business, give up on herself; nonprofit's Martinez dining room community got her back on her feet  
Dan Honda
Starting in 1958 as a small nonprofit residential school for disabled children, Lafayette-based Las Trampas has evolved to serve people of every age, including senior Bill Harwell of Concord  
Walnut Creek teens Katrine Kirsebom and Corinne Hindes were 11 years old when they started Warm Winters, an organization that collects unclaimed coats, scarves and gloves from ski resorts and delivers them to homeless shelters.  
Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group
The Oakland-based nonprofit helps 800 young people a year make the transition from foster care to independence.  
Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group
LITA donates iPods with customized playlists to nursing homes, enabling seniors to enjoy their favorite songs from long ago and relive the memories associated with them.  
D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group
Earnestine Hayes was a young bride in 1943 when she moved north from Louisiana, searching for job opportunities and a better life. She and her husband, Morris, found that in West Oakland, where they worked factory and domestic jobs during World War II and afterward. They briefly moved to Berkeley before putting down permanent roots in East Oakland in 1966. And though her home is still as immaculate as it was in the 1960s - you would be hard-pressed to find even a bit of dust - Hayes still needs a little help.  
The child care facility, which opened across the street from Meadow Homes Elementary School in 1972, serves 147 children ages 18 months to second grade, providing a full-day child care and development program and after school care.  
Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group
The Salvation Army became a lifeline for Gloria Padilla, who leaned on the organization after struggling to pay her mortgage and put food on the table when she lost her job and her husband fell ill and was off work for a while.  
Share the Spirit, the annual holiday fundraising program of the East Bay newspapers led by the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune, depends on those hearts to bring some of the season's best feelings to the growing number of people and families still struggling with the reversals of the economic downtown.  
HAYWARD -- When Clara Moffitt's weight plummeted dangerously earlier this year, her doctor urged her to sign up for the Meals on Wheels program, which delivers daily hot food to frail and homebound seniors.  
The Salvation Army of Alameda County has helped Jerrell Loggins and many others via faith-based programs in facilities in Oakland and other East Bay locations.  
Trinity Center in Walnut Creek offers the chronically homeless and poor a 'home away from home' during the daytime to escape the harshness of living on the streets  
The international organization with chapter's all over the Bay Area takes care to "custom-fit" their service to the particular region's needs, and to ensure that the bulk of their services remain free.  
The Downtown Holiday Festival in Richmond, an annual event, was hosted by the Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI) in partnership with the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, at the historic downtown Winters Building that now serves as the performing arts center's headquarters.  
( T. Charles Erickson )
Review: 'Satchmo' goes behind Louis Armstrong's happy facade

The solo show 'Satchmo' by Terry Teachout depicts jazz legend Louis Armstrong reflecting on his bittersweet life and music; it plays at American Conservatory Theater through Feb. 7