The holidays are almost upon us! Festivals, lights, gifts and time spent with family and friends are things we always look forward to during this special season. But it’s easy to forget that not everyone is equally as fortunate. There are many families in Northern Colorado that are currently unable to make ends meet—especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the holiday season is always a great time to donate and volunteer at local organizations, with a national pandemic, it has become even more important. COVID-19 has left many unemployed, homeless and struggling.
So today, we’ve rounded up a few ways you can help our community during the 2020 holiday season. Whether you are interested in donating money, clothes, food or your time, you’ll find a plethora of places that are looking for help this year.
Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus, the urgent needs of the listed nonprofits may change throughout the holiday season. We recommend calling before donating to any nonprofit to see where you can be of the most help.
The simplest way for you to give back this holiday season is to take a moment to reach out to people you already know. Send a friendly text to a family member; call your neighbor on the phone; or set up a Zoom chat with your friends! It isn’t uncommon for people to feel vulnerable and helpless during the holidays—especially when social distancing is taken into account—and a kind word can go a long way.
And if you aren’t someone with a higher chance of getting COVID-19, another way to help is by running errands for those who are. Reach out to the people in your circle who are elderly, disabled or otherwise housebound during the pandemic to see if they need anything over the holidays, like restaurant takeout or groceries.
Photo courtesy of Natanya Van Heerden via Fort Collins Rescue Mission
Northern Colorado is lucky to be home to not one — but three — separate Salvation Army organizations, working to meet human needs wherever they can. That means they help with homelessness, food insecurity, addiction, natural disasters and more throughout our communities. They are always in need of monetary donations to help them continue their mission. Click here to donate to The Salvation Army of Loveland, here for Fort Collins and here for Greeley.
Fort Collins Rescue Mission is a Christian organization that has been serving the most vulnerable in the Northern Colorado community since 2012 by offering emergency services like meals and shelter along with life-changing, long-term programs. They are always grateful for monetary donations that help them serve local men and women suffering from homelessness, addiction and more. Click here to learn more and to make a donation.
Every year, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing teams up with Catholic Charities North to provide a wonderful Christmas dinner and dessert for at least 250 people in need. You can help by donating gift cards (in $10 increments) to Walmart, Safeway, King Soopers, Target and other local grocery and department stores that will be gifted to attendees. You can drop your gift card donations off with the manager on duty at CopperSmith’s Pub whenever you visit.
The Food Bank for Larimer County believes that no one should be hungry. Their dream is to deliver health, hope and humanity to stabilize the lives of their clients and to build a vibrant community. Each year, they provide food to an estimated 37,500 people throughout Larimer County. For every $1 donated, they provide two meals to those in need in our community. Click here to make a financial donation today!
Homeward Alliance, which used to be named “Homeless Gear”, is a local nonprofit operating several programs ranging from critical survival gear, to employment services, to homelessness prevention. Their wide range of initiatives are even more imperative during the time of COVID-19. You can donate financially to help their mission, here.
The Matthews House works tirelessly to disrupt cycles of poverty and abuse in Northern Colorado. They do this by providing resources and training for youth transitioning into adulthood; helping at-risk families achieve stability by addressing issues in parenting, money management and job readiness; and offering prevention services to help families avoid crisis and overcome barriers. You can lend a helping hand by donating financially to The Matthews House, here.
United Way of Larimer County works with more than 70 local nonprofit programs that help provide three different things that are vital to helping families in need: basic needs, education and financial stability. By donating to United Way of Larimer County, you are contributing to a circle of support that helps those impacted by COVID-19 and the Cameron Peak Fire on all sides. You can donate here.
ChildSafe is a local nonprofit organization working with survivors of child abuse throughout Northern Colorado. They help provide a place where survivors and their families can feel safe, comfortable and supported. Through expert counseling and compassion, ChildSafe helps them to not only survive, but also thrive as they work their way through their journey to healing. You can donate financially to help provide support survivors in need, here.
House of Neighborly Service is a day center that offers advocacy and case management for homeless adults. They are open year-round in Loveland and provide everything from shower and laundry services to mental health assessments and substance abuse counseling. If you are interested in donating financially to help the House of Neighborly Service, click here.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army’s greatest need is food donations for the hungry. You can donate items like fresh produce, canned goods, cereal and more to their Fort Collins food pantry. Call (907) 207-4472 to make an appointment to donate.
In addition to monetary donations, the Food Bank for Larimer County also accepts shelf-stable food donations like canned and dry goods as well as dairy, meat, bakery items and fresh produce! Click here for a full list of items they can and cannot accept as well as information on where you can donate.
Homeward Alliance has several incredible programs and initiatives that work tirelessly to help Northern Colorado’s homeless and hungry population. One of the ways you can help is by donating non-perishable food items like granola bars, bottled water, cereal, pudding cups, hot chocolate packets and more. Click here for a list of their current needs. You can make donations of a trunk-load or less at the Murphy Center for Hope in Fort Collins.
Providing homeless individuals with healthy and filling meals is the House of Neighborly Service’s number one priority. They do this, in part, with the help of donations from community members—like you! The food staples that they need most are peanut butter, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna, beans, rice, pasta and tomato sauce. Click here for a list of needed items and information on how to donate.
Photo courtesy of Homeward Alliance
As Homeward Alliance specifically helps homeless individuals survive the Colorado elements, they are always in need of items like winter coats, boots, gloves, rain coats, sweatshirts, hats, socks and more. Click here for a list of their most needed items for the 2020/21 winter season. They do not accept items like street clothing, dress coats, sweaters, suits or ski boots. Donations are accepted at the Murphy Center for Hope in Fort Collins.
Did you know that Coats for Colorado was the first coat drive in the country? In 1982, Dependable Cleaners and the Shirt Laundry Company were inspired by a customer who was collecting coats for the needy. Due to the company’s ability to collect and clean clothes across the city, a coat drive seemed like the perfect way to make a difference. That same year, Coats for Colorado was founded. Today, they are still helping gather coats for those in need all across the state. Click here to find a donation location near you!
In addition to monetary and food donations, the House of Neighborly Service in Loveland also accepts gently used clothing donations on Thursday from 1-3 p.m. Click here for a list of needed items, their address, and information about hosting your very own clothing drive!
This year, Fort Collins Rescue Mission is doing a “warm-a-heart-drive” to collect winter gear for their guests. Their goal is to warm 150 hearts this holiday season. They are accepting specifically men’s clothing including winter coats, boots, hats, gloves and thermal underwear. Click here for more information.
Good Health Will is a local nonprofit that collects donations of medical supplies and provides low-cost purchase options of those items to the public and healthcare providers. This service is even more important during COVID-19. You can donate items like blood pressure monitors, canes, formula, respiratory supplies and so much more at one of their two locations in Loveland or Greeley! Click here for a list of items they are in need of and for information on how to donate.
Photo courtesy of The Salvation Army Intermountain Division
The Salvation Army is always working hard to make sure the holidays are a great experience for everyone! They do this with the help of local community members who donate and purchase presents for those in need—and that’s where you come in. One of their popular holiday programs is their Angel Tree Toy Drive. Donors can pick up a tag with a child’s age, gender and suggested gift items from The Salvation Army Angel Tree donation sites. New toys that are purchased can be placed, unwrapped, in the donation boxes, which can be found throughout Northern Colorado. You can also participate in their Walmart gift registry this year by visiting a local Walmart online or in person and buying a few presents for local children off of the Salvation Army registry. Visit each respective NoCo Salvation Army location’s website to learn more.
The Marine’s popular holiday charity, Toys for Tots, has a huge impact on Larimer County every year. In 2019, they distributed more than 30,000 toys throughout the area, and they hope to distribute even more this year! Click here to learn about donating and their current COVID-19 policies.
Santa Cops is a non-profit organization that consists of representatives from Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Department, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado State University Police, Timnath Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Office. Each year, they provide presents to hundreds of children throughout the area. If you would like to contribute a gift to the cause, click here for more information on how to donate.
Realities For Children was incorporated in 1995 and has been funding the unmet needs of Larimer County children who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk since 1996. Throughout the year, they accept donations of toys, board games, sports equipment and bikes for children in need but they amp up their efforts during the holiday season with Santa’s Workshop, a toy and winter gear drive. For more information and collection locations, click here.
The American Red Cross is one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the United States, providing emergency assistance, disaster relief and disaster preparedness education all across the country. During COVID-19, they are desperately in need of blood donations. Click here to make an appointment to donate blood. And if you have had COVID-19 and have recovered, your plasma could help current coronavirus patients in need. Click here to learn more about antibody testing and donating plasma.
According to the American Red Cross, about 36,000 units of blood are needed every day. And that’s before COVID-19 is taken into account. You can donate blood to help people all across NoCo and the United States with UCHealth. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Photo courtesy of Natalie Lanker via The Matthews House
As the Fort Collins Rescue Mission continues to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis, volunteers are still urgently needed, especially for meal service shifts. Click here to learn more and to sign up to volunteer.
We’ve all seen the bright red kettles and heard the clanging bells outside of grocery stores and other community destinations. This year, that bell ringer could be you! All of our local Salvation Army organizations are currently seeking volunteers to help raise money for their year-long programs to help those in need. Visit each respective NoCo Salvation Army location’s website to learn more.
Homeward Alliance volunteers support various programs to help individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk for homelessness. To learn more about volunteering, you can email Serena Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2019, The Matthews House had over 200 volunteers, serving more than 1,500 hours! Even with all that has been happening in the world this year, they have been able to engage volunteers in a variety of safe and useful ways. They currently have several volunteer opportunities for those looking to get involved, from homework helpers and tutoring to transportation support and mentoring. Click here to learn more and to fill out a volunteering form!
Throughout 2020, United Way has been using their resources to help those impacted by COVID-19 and the Cameron Peak Fire. You can help by volunteering your time! They are currently seeking volunteers to help with a variety of programs like patio painting, packing childhood success kits, packing meals for first responders and more. Click here to learn more and to read about current volunteer opportunities.
There are many different ways to volunteer with ChildSafe, ranging from short-term opportunities to ongoing commitments. From helping out with special projects or in the office administratively to providing in-office childcare, ChildSafe offers plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer your time and expertise. Click here for more information and to fill out a volunteer application.
We know we haven’t outlined every nonprofit organization and opportunity to help in Northern Colorado, but we hope this helps you get started. If you know about a local organization in need this holiday season, let us know about them in the comments below!