How can you find ways to give back this holiday season in Champaign-Urbana? We have some ideas.
Options abound, from coat drives to food distribution and everything in between
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.
Based on how often we get this question, we know the heart of giving back is strong here; the people of Champaign-Urbana desire to show love and care to those in our community who need some extra support.
Here is a list of holiday volunteering opportunities that we know of — realizing this is just a sampling and not an exhaustive list — as well as places we know of that will use your donations to distribute food, clothing, and toys to those in need this holidays season.
Most importantly, the need to be generous with 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 to help you find options that fit your family’s desire to give back in 2023.
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 – email@example.com.
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.
Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County, Rantoul: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Developmental Services Center, Champaign: The DSC holiday wish list has holiday wishes from individuals in its Residential Program who might not otherwise receive gifts. Many gifts focus on practical needs, such as sweatshirts, sheet sets and food gift cards.
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, battery-operated candles, hand sanitizer, crossword puzzles, and more can be donated. Call (217) 337-2778 with questions.
G.R.E.A.T. Start & Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Champaign: Winter Coat and Boot Drive. They are collecting winter wear (only new items please) for the children served by the GREAT Start home visiting program, which supports families during the first 3 years of their child’s life. Shop directly from their Amazon Wish List or you can drop off donations in-person at the WIC window located in the CUPHD lobby.
Mom’s Pantry, Mahomet: The Giving Tree will be full of tags waiting for someone to take and buy the gift that is listed to help out a student and their family in the Mahomet-Seymour community.
St. Joseph Women’s Community Club Angel Tree: Choose an ornament for a child in St. Joseph and purchase the item listed on the ornament. Then return your gift to the box next to the tree. More info on where and how to get the ornaments will be available via Facebook.
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 One-to-one Mentoring Program: This is the school-based mentoring program for Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana District 116 schools. Students in both districts are currently begging for mentors. For only an hour each week, spent at school, you can make a difference in the life of a child.
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.
Salt and Light, Champaign and Urbana: Individual volunteers and groups of up to 10 are needed to help in its thrift stores with sorting, pricing, processing, stocking, and staging items throughout the holiday shopping season. Opportunities are available daily. Contact Lisa Sheltra to get started.
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