2022 Holiday Resources

I will be updating this post as more information becomes available.  This year is very light on programs that are open to anyone, so I recommend that you lean on your community resources:

  • If you receive WIC or SNAP benefits, check in with your social worker to see if they have any information on holiday help programs. Events like Toys for Joy are being held on a referral basis only. You have to receive an invitation from the event to attend. These are being given out by social workers and those with connections to the group.
  • If you attend church/synagogue/mosque, check with your religious leader or the secretary/office staff. They may have referrals to programs offering holiday help.
  • Check with your kids’ school. Talk to the school counselor, resource teacher, or school secretary.
  • If you frequent local food charities or co-op’s, they may have some resources on holiday events or toy giveaways.

Here is my monthly list of free food opportunities within San Diego County. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, so it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

  • The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.
  • 211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, and events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in a few weeks, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any CONFIRMED free local holiday events in 2022, please leave a comment. 

 

Managing a Household with Neurodivergencies (ADHD, ASD, etc.)

Earlier this week my friend Sam posted on Facebook, “Neurodivergent Friends what are some tools you use with others that help you with daily life, communication, relationships?”

A few friends posted that they needed help with meal prep, day-to-day stuff, and as y’all know, that’s my bag, baby!

Both my kids are Neurodivergent (ADHD/ASD and ADHD), and their dad has ADHD (combined type/ C) and because of that, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our daily life and how we function. And while our processes and schedules may not work for everyone, hopefully, these tips give you some idea and hope if you need it.

Some of these directly affect/benefit the kids, and some make my life easier, which in turn makes their lives easier.

Having an accurate(ish) pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory. I have made my own sheets in the past (using Canva), but the ones from Organized Home are great.

Meal Prep and meal planning (this includes using Dream Dinners once every few months). This frees up time each night to read, hang out, bathe, and get kids ready for bed.

Meal Prep can be as easy as cut up veggies, fruit, pre-portioned foods, and easy meals or side dishes prepared in advance that only need to be heated up to avoid wasting money eating out because “there is nothing to eat”. Also having one night for take-out. And I have a whiteboard that lists our meal plan for the week- I try and post it weekly on Instagram.

The Snack Box- I also organized our fridge and pantry to be more ND-friendly. Stuff that should be eaten (healthy food like fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc.) is at kid eye level in clear packaging and is labeled (I use expo markers on my Rubbermaid containers), and I have a “Snack box” in the pantry that is available 24/7 for hungry faces. It’s got individually portioned shelf-stable snacks and meal components. And on days when I am too tired/rushed to cook we have “Meal of snacks” where I serve a variety of snacks on old-school sectioned cafeteria trays- fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, cookies, and a drink (juice or iced tea is a hit).

We have a list of snacks on the fridge so the kids know what there is to snack on. It is a visual list (I drew it), and when we are out of specific items, I cover the picture with a piece of posit note.

Calendars– in the kitchen, and one in each bedroom. I update them weekly, plus the grownups use the calendars on their phones and we have a shared family calendar. Kids get reminders each day in the morning and afternoon of any appointments or events that will take place during the day. The visual and auditory reminders really help cement the appointment in their mind.

Visual reminders– next to the front door at eye level there is a sign that reminds us we need: cellphone, wallet, keys, and garage door opener. It’s laminated.

Visual schedule– this is mainly for the kids. I drew up a daily schedule using words and pictures. I wrote a post about it here.

Lists– Everyone has a “Care tasks” list each week that includes appts, returning borrowed items, and tasks to do throughout the week. You can read about my weekly Care Tasks here. 

Larger font digital clock with day of the week, date, and what part of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, night). The kids can read a clock, but it can take time to engage their brains and count by 5’s, but the “old people clock” as it was marketed on Amazon helps them instantly and helps a lot with the “is it time for xxxxx yet?!?!”

Using your phone to stay on top of details- I saw this on Facebook in a group and I’ve started doing this. If you have an iPhone, there is a notes section in each contact. I’ve seen them used to keep track of favorite fast food at various restaurants, favorite foods/drinks, clothing sizes and brands, favorite colors, birthdays, and anniversaries. It’s such a game changer.

The fidget/stim box– we have a plastic box full of fidget/stim toys for everyone to grab when they need to focus. And everyone has some in their room too. This includes headphones to cut down on loud sounds (I buy the landscapers kind from harbor freight). We have 3 pairs in the house and two pairs in the car. For those not familiar- fidget toys can help calm the body so the mind can focus.

Some favorites include pop-its, hand strengthening eggs, fidget cubes, fidget spinners, stretchy tubes, pop tubes, and stress balls (the kind with Orbeez are super satisfying). Amazon sells really great fidget toys mutli-packs.

Medication Boxes- We refill our medication boxes each week (both AM and PM).  The three of us take our meds together each morning at breakfast time. Our medication boxes live on the kitchen counter, along with our pill minders: Jon Cena and Skeletor.

Stuff has a place– The kid’s shoes and backpacks are always by the door during the school year, ready to be cleaned out and refilled each night. My car keys and purse live in the same spot, the pool key has a special spot. The extra toilet paper and paper towels are always in the same spot (under the front bathroom sink). These are just a few examples of the ways that we remind ourselves and create routines. Creating routines can give us a sense of normalcy and be calming.

The Family Binder– One last thing that doesn’t directly “help” the kids but helps the family, especially in times of emergency is the family binder. I’ve had one since 2010 in various incarnations. I have a really old post about it here.  It’s basically my brain in paper form. It’s got all of our important papers, insurance info, important phone numbers, policy numbers, warranty information, receipts for expensive/valuable stuff, copies of most recent IEPS, copies of diagnosis paperwork, lists of everyone’s meds, doctors info, etc. Think of it as all the info you’d need if you lost power for an extended period, your house burned down, or there was a tornado.

There are a lot of other things that we do in our home to help the kids- keep them safe, regulated, and happy. The stuff listed above is just a small sample. Everyone’s home runs differently. And this was and continues to be a lot of work. The examples above are continually changing, and evolving in our home, and are a combination of 11+ years of hard work, learning, and failing. Some of this stuff I did to try and get organized in my late 20s, even before I was married and had kids.

 

 

Free Food Resources for June 2022(San Diego County)

Woo! A new month means a reminder about all of the free food options there is here in San Diego County.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions, especially those that serve a large portion of the community.

I recommend showing up a little early with a bottle of water and a book and waiting in line. Time passes quickly in these lines, and it’s a great time to learn from others about community food options. Remember to socially distance and follow local masking regulations.

You can find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for June 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such. You can learn more here about the Feeding San Diego Together Tour.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here. I’ll have more information on 2022 summer feeding programs as soon as they are available. 

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Feeding San Diego Together Tour: More Free Food In Your Neighborhood!

Y’all know I post a list of free food resources monthly, but this one just came to my attention courtesy of Brooke from Saving in the 619.

Feeding San Diego has a Together Tour, where they work with local venues to host drive through food giveaways throughout the month all over San Diego County. No proof of need required!

Every registered attendee will receive about 50 lbs worth of dry goods, fresh produce, and frozen meat protein.

During the event, you will receive valuable resources on how to access other Feeding San Diego distributions close to your home. In addition, our team can provide information about CalFresh, and how to apply.

Visit the website here and find your next local event! From Chula Vista to San Marcos, there are events all over the county all month long, all year long!

Free Food Resources for April 2022(San Diego County)

Usually, this gets posted the first week of the month. We’ve been dealing with a lot at home lately, so I apologize for the delay. The spring is bringing many new and improved free and low-cost food options around San Diego County!

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions, especially those that serve a large portion of the community.

I recommend showing up a little early with a bottle of water and a book and waiting in line. Time passes quickly in these lines, and it’s a great time to learn from others about community food options. Remember to socially distance and follow local masking regulations.

You can find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for March 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Free Food Resources for February 2022(San Diego County)

A new year means new opportunities to find free food resources in San Diego County.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for February 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Free Food Resources for January 2022(San Diego County)

A new year means new opportunities to find free food resources in San Diego County.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for January 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Free Food Resources for December 2021 (San Diego County)

A new month means that it’s time for the monthly update of free food resources in San Diego.

With over 20 holidays and celebrations taking place in December, there is plenty of need. Here are a few Christmas/Holiday events where free toys/food are available.

Some food banks and charities will have extra distributions this month.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for November 2021 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

2021 Holiday Resources

I usually do these types of posts before Thanksgiving, but I’ve been looking for as many resources as possible to help those in need.

Much like last year, there aren’t a lot of free events, and most resources are stretched thin, as 2021 was as hard as 2020 for a lot of families.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Toys for Joy will not be holding their annual event this year, instead, their site sends you to other resources such as The Rock Church for food, and The Salvation Army for other additional resources. The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.

Sunday, December 19th, 2021 from 11am-2pm  is the annual H.O.P.E. event hosted by New Vision Church. Every child ages 0-11 will get a free toy! This is an all-free family fun event filled with free toys, carnival games and prizes, a live petting zoo, big bike giveaways, food, haircuts, jumpers, arts and crafts, live performances, DJ, and a whole lot more! The event will be held at both New Vision Church and Colina Del Sol Park and Recreation which is directly across the street. The entrance is at 5310 Orange Ave., San Diego, CA 92115.

Hope Leadership Academy is hosting an Event, Toys for Hope on December 18, 2021,9:00am – 1:00pm at the King Chavez School: 415 31st St. San Diego, CA 92102. Toys for Hope will be a walk-thru experience this year! Free toys for kids 13 and younger, free groceries, and bike raffles!

211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in just a few days, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any free local events, please leave a comment. 

Free Food Resources for November 2021 (San Diego County)

A new month means that it’s time for the monthly update of free food resources in San Diego.

With Thanksgiving later this month, make sure to check your local distributions or Food Banks to see if there is a turkey or ham giveaway. In the past, the Santee Food Bank has had a drawing for those who visit early on in the month to receive a voucher for a free turkey from the local Grocery Outlet.

With supply chain issues and truck driver shortages, many of last month’s distributions were mainly canned or shelf-stable goods. Fingers crossed that food banks will start receiving more fresh goods.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for November 2021 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.