During the holidays, many Atlanta families look for ways to give back to the community. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, charitable organizations need our support more than ever. There are lots of ways to help, whether you’re looking for an in-person opportunity or things your family can do from home. Teach kids the joy of giving back with these opportunities: 

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Toy and Gift Drives

Clark’s Christmas Kids provides gifts for foster kids throughout Georgia, and there are several ways to give. Through December 9, donations can be brought to their warehouse in East Point. On December 3, select Walmart locations will have wish lists for Clark’s Christmas Kids for in-store shopping. You can also select a child online and make a donation through their website.

The City of Dunwoody Police Department’s Christmas for Kids program is collecting new and unwrapped gifts for children ages newborn-15 years. Toys for the Christmas for Kids program can be dropped off at the Dunwoody Police Department. Toys collected after December 4 will be donated to local churches and other facilities.

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides clothing and Christmas gifts to children in need. Once you select a child, shop for gifts on the wish list, and deliver to one of their four drop-off locations. Gifts can also be purchased online and shipped to the Angel Tree Warehouse. Staff processes and deliver the gifts to families in time for Christmas morning. Through December 5.

Through their Gifts that Give Back program, toys and other items can be donated to patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Visit the website for drop-off  details and wish lists. Holiday items will be accepted through December 15.

Give a gift to a child in need through Atlanta Marine Toys for Tots. Last year, the organization distributed over 830,000 toys. Find a drop-off site on their website; you can search by zip code for a location near you. Toys for Tots also accepts online donations. Through December 21.

Lift Up Atlanta, which aids Atlanta’s needy and homeless families, is requesting donations of new toys for kids newborn-age 12, and clothing for kids newborn-age 17. Donations are being accepted through December 21 at two locations; you can also help Lift Up Atlanta by donating food baskets and household items.

MUST Ministries, a non-profit that offers assistance to families in Cherokee and Cobb counties, accepts household items, clothing and canned goods at their Marietta donation center. You can also order from their Amazon wishlist, which is shipped directly to MUST Ministries.

How to Give Online

Adopt a local family through the Sandy Springs Community Assistance Center. Choose a family online and make a donation; the CAC will purchase gift cards and distribute them to each family. The center is also in need of food bank contributions and donations to prevent homelessness.

Make an online contribution to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The organization provides food to thousands of area children, families and seniors in need.

Give a toy to a disadvantaged child through DonateAToy.org. Shop online and choose a toy or make a financial gift; for every donation made, the organization will make a matching gift to Marine Toys For Tots.

Support military troops and first responders from home through Operation Gratitude. Send letters or handmade cards, write a digital letter, or make paracord bracelets.

Volunteer in Person

Volunteer to deliver food or meals to those in need with Open Hand Atlanta. Open Hand offers family-friendly delivery routes and have implemented safety protocols, including a “drop, wait and wave” delivery system.

Pebble Tossers provides age-appropriate volunteer opportunities for kids and families. Check their calendar and register for in-person projects like sorting and organizing donations. There are also limited virtual opportunities, such as sending messages of encouragement to healthcare workers.

Hands On ATL has teen-specific opportunities – Piedmont Park cleanup, assisting at a food pantry, or helping underprivileged kids through a virtual homework helpline.

Make a donation to your local Marine Toys for Tots campaign. To donate toys, find a drop site online or take them to any metro Atlanta State Patrol office. Monetary donations may also be made online. toysfortots.org

Find a new home for that old, unused bicycle or tricycle in your garage. Free Bikes 4 Kidz Atlanta will clean and repair it, then give the bike to a kid in need. Check the website for dropoff locations.

Consider giving to North Fulton Community Charities. The organization helps families in need every year with an October coat drive, Thanksgiving food drive in November, a Santa Shop in December and holiday baskets for local senior residents in November and December.

Donate school supplies and book bags to the Cobb County Police Department’s Book Bag Palooza. Donations will help local kids get back to school with the supplies they need.

Volunteer in Your Neighborhood

Rake leaves or do some yard cleanup for an elderly neighbor.

Help your kids clean out their closets and donate gently used toys and clothing for a local charity or homeless center.

Check with your church or school for local opportunities such as food drives, clothing drives, service projects or sending messages to shut-ins.

Send notes of encouragement to residents of a nursing home in your area.

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