But there are some great service organizations in your area. One example is Family Supportive Housing, an organization that runs a shelter specifically for homeless families. Not only do they provide temporary housing for families in need, but they work to address the underlying causes of homelessness through case management, adult education, employment counseling, and other services for both children and adults.
If trying to do your own research into community services seems overwhelming, consider donating to your local community foundation. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is working in conjunction with San Mateo County to help residents weather the recession. It also has an economic security fund that aims to address some of the systemic causes of poverty, including increasing the availability of financial education and asset-building programs for adults and attempting to curb predatory payday lending.
Adopt-a-family programs are a particularly powerful way to get children and families engaged in community outreach, and a great way to show our neighbors that we care. But whether or not you decide to adopt a family this year, remember that people need services year-round—not just during the holidays.
Do you have a real-life do-gooding dilemma? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and Sandy will try to answer it.