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How Seattle-Area Families Can Give Back During the Holidays

Three easy ways to donate

Published on: November 15, 2023

Young boy putting food into a box at a food bank

Observe the spirit of the giving season with your kids by remembering and supporting those in our community who are in need. We’ve rounded up local opportunities for families — giving trees, toy drives, food drives and more — to make a difference for other families. 

Donate toys and gifts.

  • Compass Housing Alliance provides essential services and affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in the greater Puget Sound region. There are many ways you can be a part of the holiday giving program. You can purchase a gift card, give directly to the Holiday Gift Fund or purchase a gift from the Amazon Holiday Wishlist. There also are many volunteer opportunities for families, and you can find all the details on the website
  • Support a family through the YWCA Gift Giving Program. The YWCA invites families to contribute by purchasing gift cards for children and providing a grocery gift card for their parents to purchase a holiday meal. Register no later than Nov. 27 and you will be matched with a family. Gift cards will need to be dropped off at the Phillis Wheatley Branch (2820 East Cherry St., Seattle) from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Dec. 6–8, 2023. 
  • Throughout the holiday season, Wellspring Family Services in Rainier Valley offers several ways to donate to children experiencing homelessness. Among the options: Purchase an item from Wellspring’s Giving Together Amazon and Target Wish Lists, make a financial donation or sign up to volunteer.
  • Local Bartell Drugs locations in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties accept new, unwrapped toys for kids ages 14 and younger through its annual Toy N’ Joy Drive. Drop off new, unwrapped toys at any area store from Nov. 1 through Dec. 3. Check the Facebook page for details. 
  • The Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank needs donations of gift cards for its Holiday Gift program, where families low on resources can get free holiday gifts for their kids. They are requesting gift cards because they give parents the dignity of self-selecting the exact items that fit their children.
  • Support Mary’s Place, an organization serving families experiencing homelessness. Mary’s Place operates a holiday giving program and is requesting gift cards for teens and parents or a specific gift for a child from their kids’ holiday gift list. All gifts should arrive unwrapped at the donation center (located at 4521 6th Ave S., Seattle) by Dec. 9.
  • The Forgotten Children’s Fund is a local, all-volunteer-run organization serving families that are generally not aided by other outreach organizations. They accept monetary donations to buy toys, gifts, books and more for kids.

Donate money for clothing and baby gear.

  • KidVantage provides essential care, safety and health goods for children who are experiencing the stresses of economic insecurity, systemic inequities, or family disruption. They accept donations of clothing for kids sizes newborn to size 14, maternity clothing (especially larger sizes), baby gear, shoes, bottles, unopened/unexpired formula, toys, diapers (new or opened packages) and more. Head to the website for more details about where to drop off donations (locations in Issaquah, Shoreline and Bremerton). 
  • YouthCare in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood accepts monetary donations for teens experiencing homelessness. The organization has an urgent need for survival items for teens, and you can order them directly from YouthCare’s Amazon Wish List.
  • WestSide Baby, located in White Center, is accepting donations of infant essentials, hygiene items and diapers, children’s essentials, toys and books, and apparel and shoes (see their website for more details). You can also purchase items on the organization’s Amazon Wish List.
  • Donate clothing to youth experiencing foster care through Treehouse in Rainier Valley using its Holiday Wish List. You can also host an online drive to collect gifts for teens, new clothes, toys, shoes and accessories.

Donate food and personal care items.

  • At Urban Rest Stops unsheltered individuals and families can access running water and utilize restroom, shower and laundry services. You can donate new hygiene products, and there is a high need for new socks. See the website for details about how to donate. 
  • Hopelink is accepting donations of shelf-stable produce at its five food bank locations in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline and Carnation. The website has useful tips for organizing your own food drive with your family and friends, and Hopelink will provide posters to help increase visibility.
  • AAA of Washington’s annual Soap for Hope drive benefits selected local charities, shelters and food banks with toiletry items donated through its brick-and-mortar stores. Drop off your donations of travel- and full-size toiletry items at any AAA store location in Lynnwood, Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia and elsewhere through Dec. 30. Due to health and safety concerns, all donated items must be new, unopened and in their original packaging.
  • Queen Anne Helpline on Queen Anne provides emergency food assistance and especially seeks pop-top cans of protein-rich foods, such as chili, beans and tuna, plus canned vegetables, peanut butter, pasta and jarred sauces, and more. Queen Anne Helpline also accepts personal care items and clothing donations (see the website for a full list of accepted items). Drop off items at the Queen Anne Helpline office (311 W. McGraw St., Seattle) on Mondays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call ahead (206-282-1540) to make sure someone is there to receive your donation.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2018, and updated in November 2023.

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