It’s that time of year when we are all thinking of gifts and ways to show our loved ones how important they are to us. But it’s also a time when it’s especially important to think about our neighbors who might need a little extra help this holiday season. Here are a few wonderful DC area groups who help our community year round but have special opportunities for holiday giving in Washington, DC.
Food and Friends
Food and Friends deliveries groceries and prepared meals to people in need throughout the DMV. They are not only committed to giving people access to food but also well-round nutrition information and cooking classes. Food and Friends needs volunteers from December 20 to January 6 to help package meals for low-income families. Shift lasts about 3 hours and are available at 9 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm. Teenagers ages 14-18 can participate too but need a parent or guardian supervisor. Sign up for slot online.
Bread for the City
Bread for the City helps DC families in need year-round with food, medical care, clothes, and social services. Around the holidays, your support of $38 can brighten the season for a family of 4 with a complete holiday meal. Make a special holiday donation right on their website.
SOME (So Others Might Eat)
“Comfort and Joy” is a phrase on holiday greeting cards for a reason. Everyone deserves these things especially around the holidays. SOME is collecting shoeboxes for men, women, and children including basic items like hats, gloves, shampoo, razors, lotion, a toothbrush, and more. Women’s boxes will include tampons and children’s boxes will include a small toy. Check out the full list of items for a completed shoebox on the website. Shoeboxes will be collected until December 6. You can also donate money or volunteer your time throughout the holiday season and year round.
A Wider Circle
A Wider Circle is making it easy to play Santa. Get some friends together to sponsor a whole family, make a one-time donation to the Holiday Fund, or donate gift cards to stores like Amazon, Target, Walmart, or local grocery stores. Donate unwrapped toys or children’s winter clothes to the “North Pole” where families in need can look for gifts (the “North Pole” in Silver Spring needs volunteers too!). Not sure what the kids are into these days? A Wider Circle has made an Amazon wish list to help you shop. Find all holiday help opportunities on their site.
Building Bridges Across the River
Building Bridges Across the River supports several projects that give families in Ward 7 and 8 access to arts education, career planning, as well as greater access to affordable healthy food and urban agriculture education. They accept donations year-round but this time of year you can also enjoy and support by attending Christmas concerts throughout December.
National Zoo: BrewLights
The National Zoo runs ZooLights all season long with free admission. However, the zoo closes off some areas on Thursday, December 12 for BrewLights. This ticketed event includes unlimited beer tastings, music, and enjoyment of all the lights. Get in the holiday spirit, enjoy some great beer, and feel good knowing your ticket purchase helps support animal research and conservation. Plus, consider joining Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) to support the zoo year-round and get great member perks throughout the year.
Britepaths helps low-income families in Fairfax County not only navigate crisis situations but also work toward a better life. They take donations year-round but you can help spread extra cheer by sponsoring a family through their Holiday Program. You’ll collect items for a family meal plus gifts for children under 18. Make sure you sign up to sponsor by December 11. If you miss the deadline or can’t sponsor a whole family, you can donate any amount to help sponsor more families.