The Gift of Hope: 10 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

The holidays are the perfect time to give back, and St. Louisans are lucky because we have plenty of ways to extend a helping hand to those in need. Here are just a few ways you can spread joy and do some good this holiday season.

1. Tree of Hope
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation
Help children in the hospital experience the joy of the holidays. Donating to the Tree of Hope campaign supports the young patients and their families at SSM Health Cardinal Children’s Hospital. You also can brighten the holiday season through the Light Up Glennon events on Dec. 4 and 18. Sing carols and shine flashlights outside the hospital. The patients will have their own to shine back on the participants.

2. Holiday Little Wishes
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition
Spread a little joy to children and teens who could use it this holiday season. The Holiday Little Wishes program allows local children who are or were in the foster care system to receive at least one gift of their choice. The initiative has granted the wishes of thousands of children, making their holiday season better and brighter by showing that people care.

3. Holiday Wish List
Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis
Most of us spend a lot of time on Amazon during the holiday season, but you can use the habit for good by donating an item or gift card on Ronald McDonald House Charities’ wish list. The items go into the McGift Shoppe, which allows families staying at the three local Ronald McDonald Houses to shop for their loved ones free-of-charge during December.

4. Angel Tree
The Salvation Army Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area
The Angel Tree program ensures that children receive gifts this holiday season. There are several ways to get involved. You can adopt an angel, meaning you’ll be responsible for providing gifts for a specific child, or become a host, a role which entails collecting toys from participants’ wish lists. There also are many volunteer opportunities, such as organizing the presents, decorating the warehouse or participating in distribution.

5. Deck the Howls
Humane Society of Missouri
Kids ages 5 to 11 can spread some holiday cheer to our furry friends through this holiday reading event. They also can enjoy decorating kennel fronts, playtime with kittens and puppies, decorating canine cookies and more. In addition, this holiday season a donation to the Humane Society of Missouri can mean more than ever before. Thanks to a generous offer, any gift made to the nonprofit through Dec. 31 can be triple matched up to $85,000 as part of the Home for the Holidays Matching Challenge.

6. Affordable Christmas
Mission: St. Louis
The initiative allows families from under-resourced communities to shop for donated toys and other items at a reduced price. For example, a brand new bike can be purchased for only $4. Thanks to the drastically reduced prices, parents are able to provide presents for their children themselves. To support the program, you can volunteer to work in the store the day of the event, make a monetary donation or donate toys directly at several drop off locations listed on Mission: St. Louis’ website.

7. Holiday Adoption
Circle of Concern Food Pantry
This year, Circle of Concern plans to reach 650 families (nearly 2,000 individuals) through its holiday program. By adopting a family, you provide them with gift cards to purchase holiday gifts—$50 for however many people you choose to support. Make your donation by Nov. 30 to ensure enough time to distribute gifts.

8. Snowflake Village
St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation
Thanks to Snowflake Village, families staying at St. Louis Children’s Hospital can shop for gifts free of charge over the holiday season. Donate new, packaged, unwrapped gifts from Dec. 6 to 20. While the foundation does have several Amazon wish lists, you can shop locally at The Nook. Wish list items are available there as well, and 100% of the profits come back to
the hospital.

9. Christmas Wishes Family Sponsorship Program
St. Patrick Center
You can help more than 450 St. Patrick Center clients and their families celebrate the holidays. Many have little money to purchase gifts and may be celebrating their first holiday season in new homes. By becoming a sponsor, you receive a wish list of an individual or family, including clothing needs and special wishes. Gifts should be delivered to St. Patrick Center on Dec. 8 and 9.

10. Regional Holiday Volunteer Guide
United Way of Greater St. Louis
If you’re looking to donate your time this holiday season, the United Way has you covered! Its Regional Holiday Volunteer Guide is a free online resource that makes finding volunteer opportunities easier than ever. All of the options come from reputable nonprofit agencies throughout the St. Louis region, and you can choose from virtual, in-person or at-home DIY projects.

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