This holiday, reach out to fellow Minnesotans who may need some assistance to make the season brighter for themselves and their families. The opportunity to give toys, food and other gifts to those who are struggling is abundant in the Twin Cities area. These five local organizations can assist you in finding a way to bring holiday cheer to others in need.
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners
1605 County Road 101 N.
Plymouth, MN 55447
www.iocp.org/holiday-gift-programThe gift program from Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners has been helping low-income families in west suburban Hennepin County since 1980. Roughly 450 families per year are coupled with anonymous sponsors who give gifts to brighten the holidays. Family sizes range from one to many individuals, and sponsors are given gift ideas based on a guideline of $50 to spend on each family member, including adults. To adopt-a-family this season, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Good in the ‘Hood
2101 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Good in the ‘Hood takes great care in aligning families in need with the best potential sponsors based on their specific budgets and intentions. Sponsors have the option of assisting with the holiday gifts and meal of an individual, one family or many families. A guideline of $50 is given for presents for each child or adult. A $50 gift is also the recommendation for a meal to feed three to eight people. Sponsors can shop for the gifts with the help of a wish list provided by the family via the organization, or sponsors can elect to have a Good in the ‘Hood employee purchase the gifts based on the sponsor’s monetary commitment. Assistance is also provided by Good in the ‘Hood for the delivery of gifts and food, but the sponsors may find that they want to take the opportunity to greet the family they are helping this holiday season and deliver the gifts themselves.
Various Twin Cities locations
www.salvationarmynorth.orgThe Salvation Army plans on giving toys to more than 30,000 children in the Twin Cities at its Toy Shops this December. Six Toy Shop locations will be set up allowing disadvantaged families to come and pick out free holiday gifts for their kids. Those looking to donate are encouraged to give toys or their time to assist at the shop locations or headquarters. Toys of any price point and age range are welcome for drop off at any Frattallone’s Ace Hardware or Mattress Firm stores in the metro area. Volunteers can help by taking calls on the Toy Shop hotline or by acting as elves to stock the shelves and help parents pick out just the right gift in the shop. To volunteer with the Salvation Army Toy Shop, call (651) 746-3426.
Hastings Family Service
301 2nd St. E.
Hastings, MN 55033
Food items that help make someone’s holiday meal brighter are needed at Hastings Family Service. Individual food donations such as canned or boxed food items are welcome to stock the organization’s food pantry. Monetary donations are also accepted to purchase complete meals. The cost of one meal for a typical family is $30. Click here for more information on how to donate food items to Hastings Family Service. The opportunity to adopt-a-family and provide them with presents is also available. Those looking to participate as a gift giver are encouraged to purchase one item per adult and three items per child in each family, with each gift being no more than $25. Click here to learn more about adopting a family for the holidays at Hastings Family Service.
Toys for Tots
Various Twin Cities locations
www.toysfortots.orgThe Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots foundation helps countless kids all over the country, including Minnesota, receive a magical toy for the holidays. New, unwrapped toys of any cost or within any age group are welcomed at the hundreds of drop-off locations and events in and around the Twin Cities. For a complete list of locations, visit Toys for Tots online, or stop by any Toys ‘R Us or Babies ‘R Us and leave your gift in their drop boxes. Larger donations or company toy drives can drop their toys off at the Toys for Tots warehouse at 2633 Minnehaha Avenue in South Minneapolis.
Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.