The Gift of Giving
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we are blinded by the best Black Friday deals and everything pumpkin flavored that we seem to miss what's most important; the gift of giving. There are endless opportunities to bring your families together and feel the spirit by providing love and kindness to someone in need. Not everything has to be a donation of money or gifts. One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time! In this blog you'll find opportunities in our community for you to help spread the holiday cheer. I will keep this list updated as more ideas and recommendations come in.
Granite Education Foundation or you local school: Donating money to provide breakfast and lunches to students. You can also ask for information to be a sub for Santa for a student.
Ronald McDonald Houses: (cash donations, fulfill a wish, collect pop tops or host a fundraiser)
One Warm Coat: One Warm Coat’s mission is to provide free coats to people in need. Donate coats, cash or hold a coat drive! The Rape Recovery Center: The mission of the Rape Recovery Center is to empower those victimized by sexual violence through advocacy, crisis intervention, and therapy and to educate the community about the cause, impact, and prevention of sexual violence. Accepting cash donations or check their website to see how you can volunteer!
The Road Home: The Road Home is a private non-profit social services agency that assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County and along the Wasatch Front. The Road Home provides multiple services to help people overcome homelessness.
Centro de la Familia de Utah (Centro): a nonprofit agency dedicated to promoting educational success for children and families, and fostering healthy and engaged communities.
Headstart: Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs that provide early learning opportunities to children birth through age 5 growing up in poverty, during their most critical stages of development.
YWCA: For over 160 years, YWCA has been on the front lines advocating for equal pay, immigration reform, voting rights, and many other issues that impact women, girls, and BIPOC* communities.
4 of Hearts Christmas Program: Providing Christmas for families that are struggling this year. *You can sponsor a child or family and cover the items on their list of needs. Comment here or PM me and I will reach out to you directly with information.
*Blake, (my son and 4OH President) just started a FB fundraiser to cover any items we need to fill needs.
The Christmas Box House: The Christmas Box International charity works to prevent child abuse. We partner with local, national, and international groups to improve the quality of life for children, teens, and young adults who are victims of abuse, neglect, trafficking or are facing homelessness or other risks that no child should have to face.
Kits of Love: delivering KITS OF LOVE to NICU families, bed-rest moms + devoted nurses each holiday season!
Utah Co-op: Did you know that the Utah Co-Op provides over 12,000 meals a month to senior citizens in need
You can help by
1 - shopping at the Co-Op and referring friends & family.Tthe more support we have the more meals we can provide.
2- donate - $10 sponsorships supplies food for 1 senior citizen for 1 day. When you sponsor a senior everyone wins and you receive 100%-200% back in free product This winter season is 2 bottles of lotion valued at over $24 for a simple $10 donation.
3-Make donation in store or via Venmo DonateUt
Catholic Community Services: This holiday season Catholic Community Services is asking the community to donate new coats and educational toys. You can sign up to be assigned a homeless, low-income or refugee family by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utah Food Bank: You and your employees can help feed the hungry by hosting a food drive at your business or you can create a team and donate to a virtual food drive where you can capitalize on bulk purchasing power. For more information on how to get started visit
Volunteers of America Utah: This holiday season, the VOA’s Youth Resource Center is in need of cash, warm clothing and blankets. You can make a cash donation, or they’ve set up an Amazon Holiday Wish List Registry and the items will be shipped directly to the center. If you or your company wish to volunteer this holiday season, Volunteers of America, Utah, has several opportunities to serve.
UserveUtah: Sometimes the best way to give back is to get involved, because donating time is as helpful as making monetary contributions or donating gifts. UServeUtah teams up with nonprofit, faith and government organizations across the state to find volunteer needs and opportunities to serve.
Sub for Santa: Providing Christmas to those in need!
Big Brother Big Sisters of Utah: This program provides children ages 6-17 in Utah who are facing adversity with strong, professionally-supported one-on-one relationships that can impact their lives for the better, according to the program’s website.
Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is collecting donations of money, stock, land and cars to help build affordable homes for families in need. Monetary donations can be submitted online or by mail. You can also donate or buy furniture through Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Salt Lake City, the proceeds of which go toward helping to eliminate poverty housing within the community. Various volunteer opportunities are also available by submitting a volunteer waiver via mail, email or fax; no construction skills necessary.
International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee “delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster,” according to its website. Through the website, people can offer “rescue gifts” — monetary donations that are contributed to specific causes, including a year of school, healthy pregnancies, clean water and women’s small business training to name a few.
My friend Jamie is a military family and each year she puts together Christmas baskets to those deployed for the holidays. You can find the info here: - Christmas baskets for military families who have a deployed dad or mom this Christmas, let's bring some joy to them during this hard time! General items I usually ask for: blankets, games/puzzle, non perishable treats/candy (chocolates, popcorn, hot chocolate etc) and any type of wife items (candle, lotion, books, jewelry, decor, etc. anything you'd by for your girlfriends!) Gift cards: try to stick to bigger stores/restaurants that would be anywhere! Jamie will be adding kid specific age/gender gifts as soon as she has the families lined up and I will update as that becomes available. For now, some things that are helpful is diapers, wipes, and infant toys! She has received donations from dollar store toys and crafts to air pods! Anything helps <3 Venmo: Jamie-black
Hospitals: Call your local hospitals and see what they could use and what they are accepting for donations! Places like Primary Childrens can always use new toys/games!
Lifting Hands international: The Utah program Lifting Hands International collects humanitarian aid for refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, which currently houses roughly four million refugees between the two countries, according to their website. Those wishing to help can donate items ranging from clothes and blankets to hygiene and first-aid kits. Those wishing to donate also have the options of purchasing items from an Amazon Wishlist.
The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is collecting donations of clothing, furniture, automobiles, household goods and appliances. You can find drop-off locations or schedule free pickup on the organization’s website. Donated goods are then sold at The Salvation Army’s Family Stores, and the proceeds fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers to help those recovering from addiction. You can also make monetary donations online or donate airline miles. Volunteer opportunities are coordinated locally.
Utah Humane Society: Give the gift of companionship this holiday season with an adoption from the Utah Humane Society. And if you can't bring a dog or cat into your home at this time, the Humane Society will accept your monetary donations to help care for the animals they foster.
** Look into other shelters as well such as best friends animal society! Foster a pet, donate money, blankets, toys or food, or go help bottle feed some adorable kittens and help them grow!**
Wheels for Wishes:With a commitment to helping local children's hospitals, Wheels for Wishes' website states that they have donated more than $30 million to local charities and hospitals since their founding in 2010. If you have an old car you'd like to donate, they will happily help you through the process of giving it to them.
Hiking with Heart: The Hiking with Heart Club allows individuals and groups to support OSSO's (Orphanage Support Services Organization) work by agreeing to donate $1 per mile hiked. You can sponsor to donate for every mile you hike or sponsor yourself. You can also help The mission of OSSO is to do everything possible to help children living in orphanages and similar institutions to reach their full potential. You can also help by donating or volunteering:
Donate Blood or Plasma and give the gift of life!:
Help our furry friends! A lot of animal shelters, rescues, and non profits can always use blankets, food, toys, help bottle feeding kittens and puppies, and simply just your time to love on the animals as they wait for their furever home! There are tons of places to sign up to help animals in need, but here are a few options:
Humane Society of Utah
NKUT (No Kill Utah)
ntermountain Medical Center has also started a volunteer cuddle program for babies! The Intermountain Medical Center NICU is using a volunteer newborn cuddling program to help offset early trauma and potential developmental delays in their tiny patients. It’s aimed at soothing premature infants ranging from tiny preemies, to larger, full-term babies, as well as infants suffering from maternal drug-use withdrawal. The benefits for these babies are OUTSTANDING! Contact your nearest Intermountain medical center to see how you can snuggle some sweet littles!
Angel Tree: Provide Christmas for a child who's parents are incarcerated. Give them the gift of Christmas when they otherwise couldn't receive it!
Operation Shoebox: Start by following the link! It will guide you to choose a shoebox, provide you with the age/gender of a child where then you will fill the box and send to a child in need!
Family Giving Tree: (donate or volunteer)
A few other ideas:
Donate DVD's to hospitals and assisted living
Read/play music at a local nursing home
Donate blankets, clothes, shoes, etc. to local homeless shelters, the road home, the Womens shelter, and places that give those items directly to those in need.
Go on a "trash walk" and clean up your neighborhood! Send cards to hospitalized children. Shovel a neighbor's driveway.
Write thank you cards and/or make small treats for the people in our lives who seem to slip by unappreciated (for example, my friend and I are making cards and candy for the custodians at our gym, the coffee baristas we see every day, and our cashiers at the grocery store that help us out!)
You can buy packets of hot cocoa and cider, and disposable drinking cups at your local dollar store. Make hot cocoa and cider and hand it out to the homeless who have been in the cold all day.
Make on the go bags/care packages for the homeless: gloves, socks, bandaids, deodorant, chewable multivitamins, chapstick, lotion, sunscreen, tissues, toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, beanie, etc!
I would also love to feature some families who are could use a little extra love and support this holiday season. If you know of anyone in need that are comfortable with their information being shared, please contact me and I will add them to this list.
- One sweet family is looking for extra help to pay bills and provide their children with the resources they need for school. You can donate to their venmo at @$Tre399
Make essential bags for the homeless: socks, toothbrushes, toilet paper, canned goods etc! There are tons of lists on Pinterest.
Contact your local elementary, junior high, and high schools! Most of them have wish lists of kids in need. The school may also need help wrapping presents, help delivering sub for Santa gifts, etc! For example, my mother works in SLC school district where 60% of her students are homeless. Each year we make tons of blankets to donate to the homeless shelter and give to students we know could use them. We also contact the school and get names, ages, and sizes for a few students who need a Sub for Santa!
Your children can donate to other children to keep the holiday spirit going. Put out a big bag and tell the kids they have to choose ten old toys to fill up the bag. They have to be decent toys that other children would actually want. Leave the bag under the tree for Santa to take back to his workshop to fix up and replace with brand new toys! Your children get new toys and their nice old toys can be donated!