Where To Find Help For A Family In Need This Holiday Season…Or, Where To Offer Your Help Where It’s Most Needed. The single worst thing I ever heard was from a six year old girl who told me that “Santa was too busy to come to our house this year. That’s what Mom said, but I think maybe I was too naughty.”
Hand to my heart. Oh…
So if you know someone who needs help this year for the Holidays, you need to jump on this information immediately. Many of these charities have deadlines in early December.
The following info is Utah-centric, but most resources can also direct you nationwide. For a state by state listing of services available to help during the Holidays, click here.
(photo credit: Angi English)
But, what if I want to help someone else this season?
First: you are God’s chosen. Seriously. Second: there’s so many people who need your love and your help this season. The beauty of the following list is that you can pick what speaks to you – a particular charity, a specific need – this makes the giving experience so much more powerful for us all. Look for the red notation at the end of the suggestion for your contact info.
(photo credit: Chrisjtse)
Some tips to make your application go through smoothly:
- Write or type legibly, with correctly spelled information. (If you battle language or literacy issues, most local schools and libraries can help you for free.)
- BE SURE to include all your contact information – including address, email, home and work phone numbers AND a trusted contact. (The contact is helpful in case you have a sudden move or job loss that hampers their ability to contact you.)
- A short explanation of why you’re requesting assistance is important, please don’t feel embarrassed, everyone has had a tough period in their lives.
- A clear and concise list of wished-for items. It helps immensely when you indicate which items are most needed and/or desired.
- Pay attention to deadlines! These lovely groups handle a landslide of applicants and try to help as many as they possibly can. But if you apply late or past the deadline, it’s difficult or impossible for them to assist you.
- Gather needed info. Most will ask for a financial statement, medical information, children’s birth certificates, etc. Making copies now will speed up your application time.
Where To Find Help For A Family In Need This Holiday Season:
The PTA at your child’s school: nearly every school has a small program to help families in need at Christmas. If you don’t know your PTA contact, click here to get a directory, or ask your child’s teacher or principal who you should speak to. Don’t be shy! These people have seen many struggling families and want to help. If you’d like to help: this is always one of my favorite ways to donate, because it’s helping in my little corner of the world. The teachers work with these little ones every day and really have an idea of what they need. Click here to find your elementary or junior high school.
Your local Church: if you are a member of a religious faith and have some contact with your local group, contact them regarding the possibility of assistance. If you’d like to help: this is a wonderful way to give back in your own neighborhood. Contact your local religious clergy to offer assistance.
Utah LDS Family Services
Christmas Wish Foundation: our friend Kirk Bengtzen owns the vast Performance Auto fleet of dealerships, and personally donates his own money every year to fund this program. His mom Raynee (the Hot Mrs. Claus) reads through the letters and selects recipients, who receive a Christmas dinner, gifts, and often other much needed items like a new roof. (Editor’s note: this is how much we love Kirk: another radio station is helping him this year, and we STILL want you to know about this man and his program.) To apply for help, click here. If you’d like to help: the Bengtzens gratefully accept contributions of toys, food, money, clothing and more. Be sure to go along on one of the deliveries! Click here for more information.
Angel Tree: The Salvation Army program is a wonderful source for families having a difficult time – from food and counseling assistance to the Angel Tree program for Christmas. You can apply for the Angel Tree for your kiddos here. If you’d like to help: hit the local mall, the Angel Tree program has trees in nearly every mall. Grab an angel off the tree to see the child’s specific wishes.
AngelTree.org: is a charity that helps the children of those incarcerated in Utah’s prisons. These are the innocent victims of their parent’s mistakes, and it offers wonderful support for these families. Apply for help here. If you’d like to help: you can also use the same link to offer support and gifts for the charity.
Sub For Santa: The United Way runs this program, and they ask you to come to an open house to determine qualification and give you all the information you need. Most local group close the application period by December 8th, so find your info here on your closest open house. If you’d like to help: click here to sponsor a child.
Salt Lake City Rescue Mission: along with feeding thousands of the homeless every year, the Mission also prepares around 2,000 boxes for needy households with dinner and gifts. Click here to learn more. If you’d like to help: the Mission helps the homeless into safe living conditions every day. Donations of everything from small appliances to food to toys to cash is gratefully accepted. Click here to volunteer or donate.
The Road Home: along with helping the homeless return to a safe living situation as quickly as possible, The Road Home also helps to keep families in their home when finances are dire. The Candy Cane Corner is their annual holiday store open so that parents in severe need can “shop” through new and gently used items for their little ones. Find out more about your eligibility for this program here. If you’d like to help: the Candy Cane Corner ALWAYS needs donations and volunteers to staff the store. Click here to find out where you’d like to help.
Make A Wish: Did you know that Make A Wish grants Christmas wishes as well? This is for children with life-threatening conditions. You can grab an application form here. If you’d like to help: click here for several ways to help these kids.
Toys For Tots: the US Marine Corp sets up networks all across the country, working with Home Depot and Toys R Us. Registration has already started at Fort Douglas for the local programs, and the deadline for assistance is November 18th. (If you’re too late, the same link may give you info on outside organizations receiving help from Toys For Tots where you can still apply.) Find more info here on how to apply. If you’d like to help: your business can offer to be a drop site, or you can donate here.
The Lion’s Club: there’s several along the Wasatch Front that offer small programs to bring Christmas to children in need. To find the club closest to you, click here. If you’d like to help: click here for more information.
Trees For Troops: delivers Christmas Trees to military families stationed all around the world. If you need help for the holidays, contact your local family support coordinator. If you’d like to help: you can donate a tree to a military family by clicking here.
2Hands.org: the site started out of the simple need of people searching the internet for help. The interactive site offers a place to post what you’re hoping for to give to your children. There’s another section where you can scroll through people who’ve already posted offers of assistance to see if you can find a match, find those here. If you’d like to help: over 30,000 people nationwide have posted offers of assistance over the years, if you’d like to reach out, click here.
Child’s Play Charity.org: local hospitals create an electronic wish list for children in their care. Most parents are usually financially and emotionally depleted when they have a seriously ill child. To apply for help, contact the charity orgaizer of the hospital where your child is being treated. If you’d like to help: click here for several wonderful options.
The Forgotten Patient Christmas Project: most of the patients at the Utah State Hospital have no one to visit them or offer Christmas gifts. Though these patients battle severe mental illness, most are very aware that it’s the holidays, and they’re alone. If you’d like to help: click here to “adopt” a patient for the holidays.
What have we missed?
If you know of a charity or group that’s offering assitance for those in need this December, please add the information in a comment below! Your help and vast knowledge is both needed and appreciated!