It’s that time of year again and the holiday season is upon us. Are you worried that you won’t be able to get gifts and food for your loved ones this year? There are a lot of resources, organizations, and people in and around the Houston area that are willing to help people in need. Here is a list of eight organizations and events that are offering free resources and gifts in the Houston area.
Operation Stocking Stuffer
The Houston Fire Department will host its Operation Stocking Stuffer toy drive on Saturday December 17, 2022. The event will begin at 9 AM at Dick Graves Park located at 2000 Reed Rd, Houston, TX 77051. The event will operate on a first come, first served basis with no pre-registration required; so, make sure you get there early. Operation Stocking Stuffer has been a popular event in Houston for over 30 years and started with schoolteacher Ms. Lorugene Young. Ms. Young started with the intention of giving Christmas gifts to her students and other underprivileged students in her community. Today Operation Stocking Stuffer has grown into a program that provides gifts to over 20,000 kids in the Houston area. If you need help getting gifts for your kids this year, make sure you check out Operation Stocking Stuffer.
The United States Marines operates Toys for Tots. Unfortunately, the 2022 application for Toys for Tots is no longer open. If you are a veteran, however, there is a special event coming up for you later this month. The Houston Marines will host a food distribution for veterans on Wednesday, December 21, 2022. The food drive will be held from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM at The Connection located at 9300 E.F. Lowry Expressway Suite 222 Texas City, TX 77591. Houston Marines hosts a food distribution for veterans every third Wednesday of the month, so keep that in mind if you cannot make it to the December event.
West Houston Assistance Ministeries
West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM) will be giving away meals to 600 families and 1200 gifts to kids. The organization will provide gift cards for families to buy meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kids will receive $25 gift cards and toys. Besides holiday meals and gifts, the organization also provides clothes, a food pantry, and job search assistance. You can buy gently-used clothes and furniture at WHAM’s resale store. The store is open to the public Tuesdays – Saturdays from 10AM – 5PM. The food pantry is open to all zip codes and opens Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8AM. To make sure food is distributed equally, you can only come to the food pantry once per week and you must register in advance. You can send an email to email@example.com to register. The organization is only giving out food by curbside at this time, so make sure you come in a car. If you need help finding a job or gaining skills, WHAM offers job coaching, resume building, and a free listing of jobs that are currently hiring. WHAM’s adult education classes can help you develop in-demand skills that employers are looking for. Some classes are only one day long, and others are long-term classes. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-780-2727 for assistance with job hunting.
My Brother’s Keeper Outreach Center
My Brother’s Keeper is a local nonprofit that offers emergency assistance and social services to Houstonians in need. Now, unfortunately, the deadline for applying for Christmas gifts was on December 9th. I still wanted to mention this organization, because they provide other services you may need like a food pantry and financial assistance. To get food, you must provide proof that you’re a resident of Harris Country or Fort Bend County, photo ID for yourself and any other adults in your household, and an award letter from programs such as SNAP, WIC, or SSI if applicable. You can only use the food pantry once in a 30-day period and walk-ins are taken on a first come, first served basis. The
food pantry’s hours of operation are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 AM – 1:30 PM. If you need help paying for rent or utilities, you can get emergency funds from the financial assistance program. To get cash assistance, you must bring proof that you are a resident of Harris County or Fort Bend County, a photo ID for yourself, and an eviction notice or disconnection notice as proof of financial hardship. You also must complete a financial literacy course as a requirement of the financial assistance program. You can also get free school supplies for your kids during the summer if you enroll your kids in the Student Support Program. So, as you can see, My Brother’s Keeper provides a lot of great services for people in need.
Northwest Assistance Ministries
Northwest Assistance Ministeries (NAM) is a nonprofit that provides food, shelter, health, education, and financial resources to people living on the north side of Houston. I made sure to mention NAM, because your zip code is one of the zip codes that NAM services. Registration for holiday food and gifts has closed, but there are still other resources available to you. NAM provides assistance with rent, mortgages, food, clothing, and other basic needs. Every month NAM randomly selects 150 applications to process for rental and mortgage assistance. You can apply for food assistance and other basic needs at NAM Mondays-Fridays from 9AM-2PM.
Houston Children’s Charity
The Houston Children’s Charity (HCC) is a 25-year-old nonprofit organization that provides resources for underprivileged, sick, disabled, and abused children. HCC provides all kinds of resources such as school supplies, clothes, transportation, and even beds. HCC does host a toy distribution every year, but unfortunately it may be too late to receive toys for this year. There is a Christmas Program application on HCC’s website, but it could take up to two weeks to process applications and as space is limited, applications are processed on a first come first served basis. HCC is still worth mentioning since the organization provides other things that you may need for your kids. The Better Night Sleep program provides free beds, mattresses, box springs, sheets, and blankets. HCC Closet provides free gently-used children clothes, shoes, and accessories. Parents and kids are able to shop in a store and pick out their own clothes. The Chariots for Children program gives handicap accessible vans to parents who have disabled children. You can apply for each program you need by filling out an application on HCC’s website.
The Coverage People and The Society of Champions
Two organizations: The Coverage People and The Society of Champions will host a toy giveaway on Saturday December 17 from 11 AM – 3PM. The event will take place at The Coverage People located at 535 West Airtex Dr. Houston, TX 77090. This event is free to the public and there will be a meet and greet with Santa Claus. Hurry and register today, because registration closes today December 16. Here is the registration link. You can also call 832-663-9375 or email email@example.com to register or request more information.
Local Churches and Houses of Worship
If you or someone you know attends a house of worship, then consider asking them for help. Most churches offer assistance with all kinds of things from meals to rent. During this time of year, many churches give away turkeys, holiday meals, toys, and many other things. So, reach out to your pastor or reach out to a family member and ask them to talk to their pastor about your situation. If the church cannot offer direct assistance, then they will more than likely direct you to other resources that can help you.
I hope you can find something from one of these organizations to help you make this holiday special for yourself and your loved ones. As you can see the deadlines for applying for toy and gift distributions have closed for a lot of organizations. Most organizations allow recipients to apply for assistance from September – November. I wanted to make sure I mention that to you so you can keep that in mind for next year. These organizations provide a lot of other services that you may need for the holidays or any time of year, so that is why I wanted to provide as much information as possible about each one. May you and your family have a Happy Holiday!