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.
- 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. Gift cards will need to be dropped off at the Phillis Wheatley Branch (2820 East Cherry St., Seattle) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the following dates: Thursday, Dec. 8; or Monday, Dec. 12.
- Throughout the holiday season, Wellspring Family Services in the 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. 6 through Dec. 3; the Salvation Army delivers the donated toys to low-income kids the week before Christmas.
- The Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank needs donations of gift cards for its Holiday Gift Barn, 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 one of the following locations by Dec. 9: Mary’s Place Donation Center at 9 S Nevada St, Seattle WA 98134 (send or deliver); Mary’s Place HUB at 113 Dexter Ave N, Seattle WA 98109 (hand delivery only).
- 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.
- YouthCare in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood accepts monetary donations for homeless teens. The organization has an urgent need for survival items for teens experiencing homelessness, 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 Amazon 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.
- Hopelink is accepting donations of shelf-stable produce at its five food bank locations in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline and Carnation. For details, drop-off times and safety protocols, please refer to the website.
- 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 and has an urgent need for gently used winter coats. Drop off items at the Queen Anne Helpline office (311 W. McGraw St., Seattle) 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Mondays and 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Thursdays, but 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 2022.