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Christmas is a time of joy and happiness. Children, in particular, look forward to this time of receiving and giving gifts. It shouldn’t be a time of concern about how you will provide gifts to your family members. Thankfully, some families donate all year round to charities and religious organizations to help make your Christmas something your whole family can enjoy.
Make your Christmas memorable. Let’s look at 6 national organizations that are there to provide gifts for you to place under the Christmas tree this year.
- You need to be willing to participate in programs to receive these gifts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance in providing gifts to your family.
- In some instances, help is only provided for families with a critically ill child with a life-threatening illness.
1. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has a specific program, called the Angel Tree Program, for families that require Christmas gifts but cannot afford to buy them. You can access the Salvation Army website, where you can start the process to get help from a local Salvation Army branch in your area.
The Salvation Army will put you in contact with your nearest Corps Community Center, and they will provide you with the guidelines for them to help you fulfill your needs. The Angel Tree Program assists about 1 million children per year who would usually go without a gift for the Christmas season.
2. Toys For Tots
Toys For Tots is a program affiliated with the US Marine Corps. They also provide gifts and toys to children in need. Through their donations of toys and money, and even donations from businesses, they assist in delivering about 7 million toys for the Christmas tree each year.
It is very straightforward to sign up for the Toys For Tots program, but this option is only available to children under the age of twelve. When you apply, you should start by entering your State on the Request A Toy page. This will help you find the local branch that will guide you the rest of the way through the process.
3. USPS Operation Santa
Operation Santa, operated by the United States Postal Service, is a unique approach to providing free Christmas gifts to kids. Firstly, as a Postal Service, they give children a way to send their Christmas wish lists to Santa. The program then sorts through the letters they received from children addressed to Santa.
Postal workers identify possible children in need and prioritize them according to how severe the need seems to be. The employees copy the letters, redact any personal information, and through these letters, members of the community can then fulfill the wishes of the local children this Christmas.
To apply for Operation Santa, simply go to the website and download the sample letter. Your child can write their letter on this sample letter, and you can send it with the unique barcode that you can also obtain from the website. The letters will then be sent to the right place to be found and sorted.
4. Local Schools
If you are trying to find an option that’s a little closer to home, this one is often overlooked. You can get in touch with the social worker, guidance counselor, or school psychologist at your child’s school. Simply explain your situation to one of the individuals that the school has provided. They are trained in ways to assist you in giving gifts this Christmas.
Even though the school may be aware of your financial problems, they may not necessarily ask you how they can help. For many people, it’s a matter of pride, and schools won’t generally interfere without permission. Sometimes you must ask for assistance. Ask for help; it isn’t going to cost you anything, and pride should have nothing to do with it.
Talk to a teacher or the administrative staff. Even if there isn’t a charitable program through the school, they might know of other organizations or churches in the area that can help provide gifts and toys for the Christmas tree this year.
5. Religious Organizations
There are many churches and other religious organizations that have programs all through the year to give a little gift to families with little to no income. In most cases, they will even be willing to help families that aren’t members of their congregation.
In order to be able to assist, the leadership of the organization will need to have a clear grasp of how they can assist you in your needs, even if this only means giving a toy or a gift to your loved ones.
This can be difficult, especially for those who are not religious or not actively involved in a local religious gathering. Still, it’s surprising how many religious institutions are willing to provide a gift or two regardless of your standing with them.
6. The Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a bit unique, but it still counts. The foundation is there to assist families who may be in need because they have a child with a life-threatening medical condition. They are one of the best options to help with any wishes that your child may have, including Christmas gifts that the family might not be able to afford.
As mentioned, the Make-A-Wish foundation is only available to parents who have a child with a life-threatening medical illness. There are four ways for you to get in contact and find out if you might be eligible for this program:
- A referral from your medical professional.
- Direct contact from the parents or legal guardians through the website.
- Medical institutions caring for children with severe illness.
- Referral from other family members, as long as they have detailed information concerning the child’s illness.
According to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s website, “Research shows a wish can give kids the strength to fight against, and even overcome, a critical illness.”
We all know that critical illness, especially if it’s prolonged, will have a terrible impact on a family’s financial position. This is an opportunity for any parent who doesn’t have the means to provide for their child’s wishes and who is heartbroken by circumstances to stand a little bit stronger and give a perfect gift to their child.
Where Do The Gifts And Toys Come From?
All of the gifts and toys are donations given to the organizations throughout the year. People and organizations can get involved in programs and events that are organized throughout the year to assist families with low- to no income.
Are These Toys Only Available Over Christmas?
Some of these organizations provide gifts and toys throughout the year. Most specialize in Christmas, like Operation Santa, but some can help with birthday presents too.
How Severe Must The Disease Be For My Child To Qualify For Make-A-Wish?
The Make-A-Wish foundation only works with families with a child with a life-threatening illness. A worker from the foundation will work with your child’s medical team to determine if your child qualifies for this once-in-a-lifetime gift experience.