Christmas is supposed to be the most joyous time of year, but for parents struggling to make ends meet, the holiday is anything but peaceful. 

Parents and families of special needs children make up a large part of those struggling with finances due to the expense of the extra care their child needs. 

Thankfully, there are several organizations out there that offer assistance with purchasing toys or provide toys to families in need. Here’s a look at them:

Salvation Army’s Angel Tree

This is probably the most well-known way to provide gifts for poverty-stricken children, the elderly, and those with special needs. The great thing about the Angel Tree is its recipients choose what gifts they would like to receive, as opposed to toy drives who accept whatever is given. Every region has local Salvation Army agencies that can assist families with signing up for the Angel Tree.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots distributes new, unwrapped toys to less fortunate children to ensure they have a gift to open under the tree. The toys are obtained strictly by donation and the family selects the toy they think their child will enjoy. You can visit their website for information on how to sign up to be a Toys for Tots family.

Other Programs...

Catholic Charities, Local Churches, and Fire Departments

If you cannot get on the Angel Tree list, look no further than your local churches for assistance. All Catholic churches host charities to help the community, including providing gifts for those in need around Christmas time. Churches of all denominations usually hold some type of toy or gift drive to give to local needy families and it usually only takes a phone call to the pastor or a church member to get your family’s name added to their list. Fire departments are known for hosting toy drives and usually have an abundance of donations from families wanting to give back to the community.

Worried About Providing a Christmas Meal?

The organizations I just mentioned can help you with that, as well. The Salvation Army places “elves” at local grocery stores, malls, and big box chains to take donations to help needy families with meals, clothing, and gifts to put under the tree. Many churches often give away turkeys or hams to those in need, plus they can provide information on local food pantries available to the public. 

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