How can you find ways to give back this holiday season in Champaign-Urbana? We have some ideas.
From coat drives to food distribution and a multitude of other ideas in between, our friends at United Way have given us some great options for giving back in 2020
Nothing will get you into the holiday spirit quite like giving back to your community! And there are many ways to do that this holiday season in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Some of these opportunities may look a little different than they have in other years due to Coronavirus-related guidelines, but at the end of the day, the heart of giving back remains the same: the people of Champaign-Urbana desire to show love and care to those in our community.
Here is a list of holiday volunteering opportunities, as well places we know of that will be distributing food, clothing, and toys to those in need this holidays season. Please send us your additions! We know this is only a sampling. Big thanks to our friends at United Way for compiling so many options to give back this year in our community.
Most importantly, the need to be generous of our time and resources is not seasonal. Many of these opportunities can extend into the new year and beyond.
All of the organizations mentioned in this article have opportunities to give back this holiday season. We are including them in this list for that reason, to help you find options that fit your family’s desire to give back in 2020.
Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of the organization or specific program mentioned. If you have a program in your community we should consider adding, please email us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsor-A-Family, Clothing, Toys and Wish List Opportunities
All of these programs are organized a little differently, with some focused on toys and others focused on practical needs like clothing and winter weather wear.
Carle Salvation Army Toy Drive: To curb the spread of COVID-19, Carle encourages participants to make cash donations or purchase gifts online. Donate online through the Champaign County Salvation Army website. Drop off toys and monetary donations from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the rear lot of WCIA’s TV studio off Randolph Street. Also accepting gift cards is WHMS radio, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 201 Devonshire Drive, Champaign. Gift cards supporting local businesses are also encouraged.
Champaign Toys for Tots: Due to the pandemic, this year’s Toys for Tots collection boxes have been delayed, as many buildings aren’t available. Donate directly to the Salvation Army on Market Street, east of the mall, across the street behind Field & Stream.
Champaign Unit 4’s Warm-A-Kid Drive, Champaign: Donate coats, hats and gloves to help kids stay warm this winter.
Faith in Action Christmas Bags for Seniors, Urbana: Volunteers are collecting items for Christmas bags for seniors who may be alone this holiday season. Items such as paper towels, fleece blankets. battery-operated candles, hand sanitizer, face masks, crossword puzzles, word finds and more can be donated. Get the full list here. Call 217-337-2778 for drop-off info and questions.
Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County, Rantoul: Email email@example.com for more info.
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen Knapsack Giveaway, Champaign: Knapsacks with daily essentials (toiletries, hats, gloves, etc.) will be distributed in mid-December in connection with hot meals. Items such as deodorant, hand lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, chapstick, gloves, hats, and scarves are needed. Drop items off at Daily Bread or get more details here for drop-off options.
Developmental Services Center, Champaign: The DSC holiday wish list has holiday wishes for those in our community who might not otherwise receive gifts. Many gifts focus on practical needs, such as sweatshirts, sheet sets and food gift cards. View the list online here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Enoch Miller Sr. Community Winter Clothes Drive, Urbana: Leave donations of winter clothing in bin on front porch at Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office (205 W. Green, Urbana). Call (217) 384-4144 with questions.
Mom’s Pantry, Mahomet: The Giving Tree is full of tags waiting for someone to take and buy the gift that is listed to help the holidays be a little better for a student and their family from the Mahomet-Seymour community during these crazy times. More info on how to get a tag via Facebook.
Promise Healthcare, Project Warmth, Champaign: Consider dropping off gently used, clean coats to give out at Frances Nelson this year. Email email@example.com with questions.
Coats Needed for Children in Rantoul: There is a high need for winter coats across the Rantoul City School District this year. To meet this need, DREAAM (Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males) and the Counseling/Social Work department at Rantoul City School District #137 are holding a coat drive. Complete information about how to donate and where can be found via this article on Facebook. “We are completing our coat drive by December 18th. We would truly appreciate your help in keeping our students warm this winter.”
Eastern Illinois Food Bank Virtual Food Drive: Due to limited opportunities to give in person, the Eastern Illinois Food Bank has put together a virtual food drive. You can even organize your OWN virtual food drive this year!
Big Brothers Big Sisters: Give the gift of mentoring this holiday season! Mentors are needed now more than ever. Become a mentor today by clicking here.
C-U at Home, Champaign: Friends from the community are welcome to spend time at The Phoenix when the weather becomes extremely cold. It is helpful to have volunteers “on call” as hours vary on a case by case basis. Call 217-819-4569 to get more info on this opportunity.
Salt and Light, Champaign and Urbana: Individual volunteers and groups of up to 10 are needed to help in their thrift stores with sorting, pricing, processing, stocking, and staging items throughout the holiday shopping season. Opportunities are available Monday through Saturday from 9am-8pm and on Sundays from 11am-5pm. Contact Lisa Sheltra to get started.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing, various locations: Volunteer bell ringers help raise money for the Champaign Kettle Campaign every year. Ring bells for two hours and make a difference in our community. Visit registertoring.com to register or call (217) 373-7832. For more information, visit sachampaign.org.
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