8 Opportunities for Holiday Giving in Washington, DC

It’s been a big year fighting a global virus, social injustice, and for many, economic uncertainty. Many of our friends and neighbors need our support especially around the holiday season. If you are in a position to give this year, please consider helping some of these organizations make the holiday season a little brighter for our community. This holiday volunteering list includes opportunities for Thanksgiving but Christmas will be added as the winter holidays get closer and more information is announced. 

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. For Thanksgiving, you can volunteer from November 9 to 26 to help prep and serve Thanksgiving meals to families in need. Preparations start early this year to ensure social distancing. You can also buy or help sell pies to help provide nutritious meals to over 4,000 people facing HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. 

For the winter holidays, you can volunteer to prepare food from December 18 to January 8. All volunteers must be 18+ unless volunteering as a family. 

Bread for the City

Bread for the City helps DC families in need year-round with food, medical care, clothes, and social services. They know the holidays are looking a little different this year but are committed to making sure families have food on the table this winter. Their reach in 2020 will expand from 11,000 families last year to 15,000 families this year. Get involved by organizing a fundraiser, sponsoring a family (recommended $50), or volunteering your time. 

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 from November 30 to December 11. You can also volunteer your time throughout December to help serve meals. 

You can also help SOME reach their holiday fundraising goals to provide Thanksgiving meals to families. Or support the winter holidays fundraiser to help provide basic winter items and children’s toys to families. $50 will buy a meal or gifts for a family. 

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 and usually host Christmas concerts to help with fundraising. No holiday events have been schedule yet but check their calendar for community events and consider supporting them this holiday season. 

Britepaths

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. Due to the pandemic, they won’t be able to offer their sponsor a family program but you can still donate to support families around the holidays. A donation as little as $25 can buy 2 children’s toy and $100 can support a full family for the holidays. 

Capitol Area Food Bank

Capitol Area Food Bank does not have specific holiday giving opportunities. However, their mission to keep the DC area feed is more important than ever. Not only do they help keep food on everyone’s table but they also help with nutrition information, urban gardening, and food access advocacy. Find opportunities to donate money or food plus volunteering. 

Thrive DC

Thrive DC not only helps feed the DC area but also helps with unemployment, reentry opportunities, victims of violence, and substance abuse. They have a variety of year-round volunteer opportunities and accept monthly donations. Thrive DC does not have a specific holiday giving program, but in the spirit of exchanging gifts, you can donate much-needed items. They regularly need toiletry items, socks, menstruation products, backpacks, and winter accessories. Plus, don’t miss the upcoming coat drive. 

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