How to Give Back for the Holidays
During the holidays, many Atlanta families look for ways to give back to the community. This year, 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:
Toy and Gift Drives
Clark’s Christmas Kids provides gifts for foster kids throughout Georgia, and there are several ways to give. Select a child and purchase items from their wish list online, or make a monetary donation through their website. Donations can be brought to their warehouse in Smyrna (check website for drop-off dates).
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 10 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 3.
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 14.
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.
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.
Operation Christmas Child provides toys, school supplies and hygiene essentials to kids in need around the world. Pack a shoebox using the website’s guidelines and drop it off at a donation center Nov. 15-22. If you prefer, shoeboxes can also be created online.
How to Give Online
Columbia Residential’s Deck the Halls event provides toys, coats and winter accessories to families in need across Georgia. Find online wish lists curated by children and their families, and choose the family you want to support. Donors can make an online purchase for a family’s entire list, or choose individual items. The deadline to order gifts is December 7.
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.
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.
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.