As Christmas nears, people everywhere are scrambling to find the perfect gifts for friends and family, facing mall traffic and frantically placing Amazon orders, to bring joy to loved ones. There are many organizations in the DFW area that have the same mission, yet on a larger scale and for total strangers. This Christmas season, it is important to give time and resources to give a gift that is part of something bigger. From donations to volunteer work, any contribution changes a family’s Christmas.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a non-profit charity founded and supported by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “The primary goal of the Foundation is the same as that of the overall Toys for Tots Program… to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them into becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” according to toysfortots.org. Founded in 1947, the Foundation has helped individual branches of Toys for Tots deliver 548 million toys to support 251 million children.
The DFW branch of the organization has dozens of drop-off locations for donated toys that are new, unwrapped and appropriate for children 0-14 years of age, including many that are close to Ursuline. A few locations are Kendra Scott Preston Center, Park Cities Big Frog, Top Pot Doughnuts and Vera Bradley Northpark. The organization also accepts financial donations on their website. No matter the contribution, a donation to Toys for Tots can bring tot a child who would otherwise be without a gift this Christmas.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is an organization that helps senior citizens who are homebound by providing daily meals and social interaction, which decreases “medical costs associated with malnutrition, dehydration, falls and isolation,” according to the Meals on Wheels website. The organization hosts a traditional “Holiday Meals on Wheels” annually, which is an opportunity to volunteer on Christmas morning to deliver meals to over 4,000 hungry seniors.
North Texas Food Bank
The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a Dallas nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes food to children, families and seniors in need. The organization not only distributed donated, purchased and prepared foods to these people, but supports their nutritional needs as a whole “through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships,” according to ntfb.org. NTFB provides over 190,000 nutritious meals daily.
The donation of one dollar can provide access to three healthy meals for someone facing hunger in North Texas. The organization also welcomes groups of volunteers on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and later from 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Some additional volunteer programs are Our Community Pantry, Mobile Pantry, Nourishing Neighbors and School Pantry. More information on these opportunities is available on the NTFB website.
The Stewpot is located in Downtown Dallas where it provides basic survival needs and assistance to the Dallas homeless population. The Stewpot serves more than 1,000 meals per day, 7 days per week at the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. Every day in December, volunteers are needed to serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the center. Sign-ups for this opportunity are on the Stewpot website under “Volunteer.”
The Stewpot offers a holiday program, known as Holiday Boxes, which invites volunteers to “fill a shoe box with inexpensive necessity items that might make living on the streets a little easier,” according to the Stewpot website. Boxes may be filled with items such as small toiletries, washcloths, deodorant, knit hats and gloves, small umbrellas, candy or gum and more. Boxes can be delivered anytime before December 14, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. at 1822 Young Street, Dallas, TX, 75201.
Additional services such as the ESL class, Family Stabilization Program and Saturday Kid’s Club welcome volunteers aged 14 and older. Such programs offer tutoring and assistance to children and families in order to make a substantial impact on their lives. All sign-ups are on the Stewpot website.
All of these charities strive to bring help and necessities to those in need but cannot without volunteer help. This Christmas extend your Christmas gift list to the Dallas community and share your time, talents and resources to bring a toy to a child, a meal to the hungry, or other important services to someone in need.