A helping hand
In a holiday season amid COVID-19, even Santa's elves are going virtual. Nonprofit organizations around Dallas-Fort Worth are taking traditional gift and donation drives online to help those in need put food on the table and place gifts under the tree this year.
And, with Amazon wish lists, e-gift cards, text donations, and assistance from Alexa, supporters can participate without lifting a finger higher than a tap or swipe on their favorite device.
Due to the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic, the need is greater than ever, local charities say. For instance, the Salvation Army says in a release that it could serve up to 155 percent more people in 2020 around the holidays, but due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, they could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised through their iconic Red Kettles. They've introduced a number of high-tech alternatives through their "Rescue Christmas" drive (details below).
These local nonprofits are conducting virtual drives for toys, gift cards, and monetary donations in coming months. We will update the list as more are announced.
SafeHaven 2020 Virtual Gift Drive, now through December 24
SafeHaven’s two Christmas programs, Santa Sack and Adopt-a-Family, traditionally have been gift drives with storefront locations in Tarrant County. This year, the nonprofit has created an Amazon wish list to fulfill their clients' holiday needs and wishes. Once "Santa Sack" gifts are delivered, they will be set up in a fun shopping experience for families in SafeHaven’s transitional housing and emergency shelters. The Adopt-a-Family gifts will be given to directly to selected families. To support, visit www.safehaventc.org to access the Amazon Wish List link. Once there, donors can select their favorite gifts, purchase online, and have the presents delivered directly to SafeHaven. For more information, email Lindsay Edwards at Ledwards@safehaventc.org.
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots DFW online toy donations, now through December 12
Toy collection for children in need will still happen in person at many locations around Dallas-Fort Worth, but the organization says on its website that, due to COVID-19, they expect event participation and volunteers to be limited. Amazon to the rescue! New for 2020, toys can be purchased and donated virtually through the Toys for Tots Amazon store. Their wish list of toys has been created and posted. All toys purchased through their store will be sent directly to the local campaign. All toys collected in person must be dropped off at their warehouse by December 12 to be distributed by Christmas. (Must be new, unwrapped toys appropriate for children from 0-14 years old.)
Salvation Army "Rescue Christmas" donation drive, now through late December
The funds raised through Salvation Army's iconic Red Kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19, and requests for help are at an all-time high, so their new "Rescue Christmas" donation drive allows people to contribute in the most modern ways. Supporters can now donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any Red Kettle across the country. They can also ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount. Or, give any amount by texting “KETTLE” to 91999. Red Kettles and bell ringers are not disappearing; they will follow nationally mandated safety protocols, the organization says. And Salvation Army's Angel Tree program will continue, with gift drop-offs at locations like Galleria Dallas done in socially distanced ways, they say.
Community Partners of Dallas 2020 Virtual Toy Drive, now through December 11
Community members can help bring hope to thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County by fulfilling a holiday wish through CPD’s online Holiday Toy Shoppe. Rather than choosing from printed wish cards as in year’s past, CPD’s virtual Holiday Toy Shoppe will allow donors to read through descriptions on its dedicated website to select the child(ren) they would like to fulfill wishes for. Wishes can then be fulfilled online. The Holiday Toy Shoppe will be available through December 11 at 5 pm. There are special opportunities for companies who commit to filing 100+ wishes; email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details. For more information on participating in the Toy Drive, visit the website.
The Warren Center Operation Santa Toy Drive, now through December 1
The nonprofit agency providing support to children with developmental delays and disabilities is hosting its Operation Santa Toy Drive both in-person and virtually. The nonprofit is requesting donations of new, unwrapped toys for children ages 0-7, which will be distributed at a drive-thru holiday party. A team has selected gifts that are best suited for the children through The Warren Center's Amazon wish list here. Supporters can have items sent directly to the agency, or drop off new, unwrapped toys at their Richardson office (320 Custer Rd., Richardson; please arrange drop-off by emailing email@example.com). All toys will be collected on December 1, 2020. For more information, call 972-490-9055 ext. 1111 or visit www.thewarrencenter.org.
Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center “Holiday of Hope” virtual toy drive, now through December 11
Each year, DCAC provides thousands of abused children with with gifts and toys through the annual Holiday of Hope program. This year, rather than hosting an in-person experience for volunteers and shoppers, DCAC will collect gifts or donations and then distribute the items. Each client will receive a pajama set, a reading book, and a few age-appropriate toys or gifts. Participants can shop DCAC’s Amazon Wishlist, host a toy drive, or make a donation. New, unwrapped toys and gifts are due to DCAC by Saturday, December 11, in order to serve families the following weeks. For more information, visit the website.
Know of a virtual nonprofit drive? Email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.