As we approach the end of 2020, the festive lights, online gift shopping, and holiday spirit are little signs of hope for many of us. But the barrage of grief, stress, uncertainty and fear has left too many of our neighbors unable to enjoy—or even fathom—the holidays this year.
That’s why, in 2020, it’s more important than ever to share what we have, and show that we care. There are many ways to help. And thank goodness—because we all need more community in these trying times.
Keep reading to find a list of efforts you and your family can rally behind before the new year. We’d love to hear about other ways of helping that are on your radar. Feel free to share in the comments and on social.
And, as always, we wish you joyous holidays, and a bit of extra warmth this month.
Sponsor a family
Shop for a Philadelphia family—and get them exactly what they want through Project HOME’s Home for the Holidays initiative. Choose a family to support and make sure to get your shopping done by December 19. More details here.
You can also purchase high-demand items like warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves and more and drop them off at Church of Holy Trinity in Rittenhouse to be collected by Sunday Love at the dates/times listed here.
Host a (virtual) toy drive
Many Philly kids will spend the holidays in the hospital this year. You can help CHOP make young patients feel special by hosting a virtual toy drive. Sign up to raise money for the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy team, which will be working hard to provide gifts and extra support this season. You can also simply give a gift or donate money.
Get the cookie box that gives back
Get a smorgasbord of holiday cookies from local bakers including @foodeveryonedeserves , @piebabyphl , @compulsivebaker , @linnthedragbaker and @crustveganbakery. Bunnyhop Phl’s cookie boxes are sliding scale ($30-$50 per box) and all proceeds support Kensington cafe and community space Franny Lou’s Porch. Order by December 17 for pickup up December 21 (West Philly) or 22 (Fishtown).
Feed your neighbors
Generations Restored Youth and Community Center and 12 Stones are teaming up to provide families with holiday meals. You can contribute non-perishables; make a financial contribution; or volunteer on pick-up day—December 19th. Donate and/or sign up to volunteer by December 16.
Support our youth
Donate to Youth Services Inc.’s holiday giving program to sponsor a gift for Philly kids and teens. $25 will purchase two childrens’ books; $50, a gift card for a teen in need; $200 with gifts for the whole family.
Give the gift of literacy
Every kid should experience the joy of cracking a new book—and being transported far away from this disappointment-filled year. Support organizations like giving library and literacy center Tree House Books, and BookSmiles—working to ensure that all more kids have access to books this holiday season. You can also give a story-in-a-stocking (a recorded reading of a story on a flash drive) with Mighty Writers.
Support your favorite restaurants
Still looking for a meaningful holiday gift? Buy a gift card for your friend’s favorite restaurant—it’ll give them something to look forward to and provide the business much-needed income.
Help service industry workers
Proyecto Tamal supports furloughed restaurant workers who can’t access government aid. The tamal line-up changes each week, influenced by the food traditions and innovative ideas of the participating cooks—who take home the proceeds. Check out the menu here (order this week, as they are taking next week off for the holiday).
If you’d prefer to drink for the industry, order the Canned Good Cocktail—spiced rum, cranberry juice, Red Bull and cinnamon syrup—at the Christmas pop-up Tinsel Bar (112 S. 12th st.). (A portion of the proceeds supports furloughed restaurant workers.)
Game for kids with cancer
Here’s a simple way your kids can help: by playing their favorite video game. They can sign up with Alex’s Lemonade Stand to play with friends while raising money for the fight against childhood cancer. Join gamers from across the country at the stream-a-thon, December 28 to 30.
Spread cheer with a song
Everyone is bummed about Christmas this year. But 15-year-old Wallis Schriver—aka WALLIS—of Meadowbrook, PA managed to write a song about it that somehow makes you happy, and will likely be a Christmas hit for years to come. Send “Lonely Christmas” to the family and friends you’ll be missing this year (and make sure to read the heartwarming comments).