15 ways to give back in Lake Tahoe this holiday season

Claire Cudahy
Volunteer Eric Meerhoff unloads donated food at the Christmas Chear All Year food pantry in South Lake Tahoe.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Though #GivingTuesday is over, that doesn’t mean the generosity has to stop. There are so many ways — too many, in fact, to fit in one article — to give back to the Lake Tahoe community. This week the Tribune brings you 15 ways to volunteer or donate this holiday season to make the basin a better place.

Live Violence Free

Head over to Live Violence Free to make a child’s Christmas wish come true. Live Violence Free promotes a violence-free community through education and advocacy to address domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Every holiday season the children serviced by the nonprofit hang ornaments on a tree with their Christmas requests. Residents simply select an ornament, purchase the gift and bring it back to Live Violence Free, which is located at 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe, to put under the tree. Find out more at

Sugar Pine Foundation

Through the Sugar Pine Foundation, residents can adopt a tree for $25 or sponsor the re-planting of an acre in the Tahoe Basin for $100. This year the organization and its volunteers planted hundreds of sugar pines in the Emerald Fire burn scar on the South Shore. The work will continue next spring and more volunteers will be needed. To contribute, visit

Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail-building season is over, but raising funds for improvements to the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail is not. The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is working to raise $22,000 to reroute a 1.3-mile section of the joint Pacific Crest Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail near Echo Summit. The proposed route would take the trail away from the highway and move it to the far side of the ridge to give hikers better views with less noise. So far the association has raised just shy of $10,000 for the project. Donations can be made at

St. Theresa Catholic Church

For the fifth year St. Theresa Catholic Church is hosting a Christmas day meal for those in need. The church is currently collecting beanies and gloves at the rectory office to give to each guest. Monetary donations for food are also welcomed. The church is located at 1041 Lyons Ave. in South Lake Tahoe.

Bread & Broth 4 Kids

Bread & Broth 4 Kids provides weekend food bags to over 150 students in South Lake Tahoe. The organization is currently asking for kid-friendly, non-perishable food items like canned spaghetti and meatballs, beef ravioli, stew and chili, tuna, mac ‘n’ cheese instant cups, chicken noodle and vegetable soups, and fruit and applesauce packets. Donations can be dropped at the rectory office at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. Residents can also “Sponsor A Student” for a week ($5), a month ($20), a semester ($100) or a school year ($200). For more information, visit

El Dorado County Animal Services South Lake Tahoe Shelter

If adding a new dog or cat to the family isn’t in the cards, the animal shelter is in need of volunteers willing to provide short-term foster homes or spend time walking or socializing with the animals at the shelter. Donations can also be made to the shelter’s Pet Aid Fund, which pays for treatment an animal might need in order to get it ready for adoption. Dog and cat toys, collars, harnesses, leashes, powdered kitten milk and nursing kits are other items needed by the shelter, which is located at 1120 Shakori Drive in South Lake Tahoe.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe

While monetary donations for environmental efforts to “Keep Tahoe Blue” are welcomed, The League also has a number of volunteer opportunities, including its Watershed Watchers and Pipe Keepers programs. Sediment and debris flowing into the lake from storm water is a major contributor to declining lake clarity. From October to April, the organization holds monthly training sessions to show volunteers how to monitor storm drains and pipes in neighborhoods, make observations and submit reports. Find out more about getting involved at

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Inc.

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care is half-funded for construction of its new, larger animal sanctuary in South Lake Tahoe, but still needs another $3.5 million to finish. Currently the nonprofit houses orphaned and injured wildlife on just three-quarters of an acre. The new property totals 5 acres and would allow for much larger enclosures. For the bears, that means an indoor-outdoor enclosure that is 10 times larger than the current one. Donations can be made through the LTWC’s website at

Tahoe Heritage Foundation

The Tahoe Heritage Foundation, the organization behind the Tallac Historic Site and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, uses volunteers to assist with its restoration, interpretation and education activities. There is a wide array of volunteer opportunities, from conducting tours and assisting with ground maintenance to helping with the Gatsby Festival and demonstrating traditional crafts like pottery and basket weaving. To get involved, call the foundation office at 530-544-7383.

Tahoe Art League

Monetary donations to the Tahoe Art League support the nonprofit’s community programs, like the annual Artist Studio Tour, and provide scholarships to local art students. Donation can be made online at or at the center, located at 3062 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe.

Christmas Cheer All Year

South Lake Tahoe’s year-round food pantry is always accepting donations of cash and nonperishable food, but with the holidays rolling around, the nonprofit is now seeking new Christmas gifts for children. All donations can be dropped off at the pantry at 1120 Third St. in South Lake Tahoe on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For those who would like to volunteer with the organization, ask for director Joanne Shope.

Clean Tahoe Program

Volunteer to be a member of a neighborhood “Clean Team” through the Clean Tahoe Program or pay to be a member of Clean Tahoe to support the small nonprofit’s efforts to keep the South Shore litter-free. Find out more at

South Lake Tahoe Cancer League

The South Lake Tahoe Cancer League’s annual See’s Candy Store is now open at the South Y Center next to Beach Hut Deli. All proceeds go toward the organization’s efforts to provide local cancer patients with financial assistance and free transportation to treatment centers. The store is open seven days a week from noon – 5:30 p.m. until Dec. 31. Visit for more information.

Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe

If every resident on the South Shore contributed $25.26 a year to the Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club, it would be enough to fund all the educational, athletic and mentoring programs needed for the 800 kids the organization serves. Through the different tiers of the Club $25.26, donators can see how many hours of activities and kids their money would help. To make a donation, visit The organization also is in search of mentors, program volunteers and junior volunteers in high school or middle school.

Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless

Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless has volunteer opportunities through its seasonal Warm Room shelter, which opens mid-December, and other various committees. When the Warm Room opens — the new location has not yet been secured — the organization will accept a variety of donations at the shelter. Until then, donation pick-ups can be arranged by emailing Jenny Kossman at They are in need of warm weather clothing items, like jackets, hats and long underwear; kitchen items, such as coffee, paper plates and napkins; and cleaning supplies. Gift cards to stores like Costco or Safeway to purchase needed supplies also are appreciated.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.