Inflation has made it difficult financially for many families this year, making the need across the nation staggering. Thankfully, there are many ways to help those in the community, as several organizations are hosting charity drives this Christmas season.
ECHO (Emergency Care Health Organization) is a local organization that supports families in crisis with emergency food, clothing and other resources. ECHO partners with local churches every holiday season to provide toys and food through The Brandon Gift of Hope. There are many ways to give to this drive, such as monetary donations, shopping for the wish list and volunteering. More information about how to participate can be found at https://echofl.org/holiday-assistance/.
Salvation Army’s Angel Tree is a way to donate a toy to a local child this Christmas. To participate, head to an Angel Tree location, grab an angel off the tree, purchase gifts for that child and return with the unwrapped gifts. For a list of all Angel Tree locations, call 813-549-5303 or go to https://salvationarmyflorida.org/holiday-assistance/.
Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that collects toy donations for children of all ages, has been collecting donations for the last 76 years. In 2022, Toys for Tots was able to distribute 131,855 toys during the Christmas season. There are many drop-off locations for toys, but exact locations can be found at https://tampa-fl.toysfortots.org.
For over 50 years, Metropolitan Ministries has been supporting families in need throughout the year. This holiday season, Metropolitan Ministries is expected to support over 30,000 families through its various drives and holiday tents. Learn more about the ways to help at www.metromin.org/holiday-central/ways-to-give/.
Meals on Wheels is an organization that supports the homebound, elderly and disabled within the community. Each December, Meals on Wheels delivers holiday gift bags to those within the program. Volunteers are needed to help deliver these gift bags. More information can be found at https://mowtampa.org/programs/holiday/.
Finally, The Give Joy Collective is made up of local foster moms, who have a heart for children in the foster care system. In a combination effort of local churches and The Give Joy Collective, it hosts Christmas for Fosters which helps foster children have a lovely Christmas. This year, 900 foster children are expected to be sponsored through this program. Christmas for Fosters needs monetary donations or sponsoring a foster child. More information on this program can be found at www.christmasforfosters.com.