The pumpkin spice lattes are in full effect and holiday cheer is just around the corner. As we cruise into November, we enter the time of year when giving our money, time or resources is at the forefront of our minds. Here in the Bay Area, we have a plethora of people and organizations doing beautiful, important work in the community. We thought we'd highlight a few smaller ones that may not be on your radar.

Food Runners

Nothing goes to waste

via Website

It's a figure almost too massive to comprehend: more than 100 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the United States. One big reason for that is that grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, corporate cafeterias and other businesses are required to throw out perfectly good perishable food within a certain amount of time. That’s where Food Runners comes in. Partnering with more than 450 restaurants, caterers, farmers markets and more, the organization delivers more than 5,000 meals a day thanks to volunteers who donate time, money and food, and local shelters, which distribute the meals to our hungry fellow citizens.



Samaritan House

Neighbor helping neighbor

via Facebook

The concept of neighbors helping neighbors embodies the work done by Samaritan House in San Mateo. This nonprofit seems to have a program for everything — free clinics, housing, clothing, food services and one-on-one case management to help people get back on their feet. The personal, comprehensive approach helps Samaritan House achieve its mission to "preserve dignity, promote self-sufficiency and provide hope." There are various ways to get involved, from lending your time to shopping via Amazon Smile.



Youth Radio

Find your voice

via Facebook

You’ve probably heard their segments on KQED and KALW. The stories are so well done that you likely couldn't tell where Youth Radio ended and NPR began. It was founded in 1993 as an outlet for young people to process their thoughts, feelings and experiences as well as tell their own stories. Available to diverse, low-income high school students at no cost, Youth Radio offers classes and internships to teach motivated teens the ins and outs of journalism, music, media and creative expression. Last year, its students had a 97 percent high school graduation rate and an 87 percent college enrollment rate. How can you help out? First of all, tune in — but you can also donate.



Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program

Helping our neighbors with physical disabilities get active

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We came across the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program, aka BORP, during its annual Revolution Ride and Festival this September. The fundraising cycling event in sun-drenched Sonoma wine country is just one of many ways BORP helps people with physical disabilities connect, stay active and have fun. Throughout the year, the 40-year-old organization provides programs like adaptive cycling, outdoor adventures, adult wheelchair basketball, sled hockey and so much more. Check out the many ways to donate.




Throw a dog a bone

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Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can show him lots of love. Many healthy, happy senior dogs are euthanized because their guardians dump them and other people are unwilling to adopt them. That’s where the fine folks at Muttville come in. After rescuing senior dogs from high-kill shelters, they work to adopt them into loving forever homes, where they can live out their golden years with love and comfort. That’s where you come in. Get involved by volunteering or donating money — and, of course, you can adopt a loving canine companion into your own family.

By Mike Weiss

San Francisco-based marketer Mike Weiss has an undying love for sports, film photography and anything with gin. He's a firm believer that the West Coast is the best coast. Find him on Twitter @mikeini.