Nationwide Christmas Help Information

Notice: We do not receive any financial compensation for recommending the providers listed below. We do not list the providers in any particular order of preference, and recommend. Our program list was updated in 2014 to make sure all programs are still active.

Public vs Private Programs

Because of the religious nature of Christmas, many available programs are provided by private and non-profit institutions. There are public programs available to help low income families, but those seeking assistance should note they will not be called "Christmas Help", but instead note the available of year-round programs, like food assistance, or seasonal programs, like utility assistance.

How to Apply

Visit the program's website or use the contact information we provide and ask about when they begin accepting applications for assistance. The earlier you apply, the better. Last year many programs were completely full and assistance was no longer available for those who waited only 1-2 weeks before asking for help.

Private Assistance:


Service Type: Poor Assistance
Phone Number: 1-800-552-1183 to find our local branch.
Apply Online: Click to visit site

Available Programs

  • Year-round Family Emergency Assistance
  • Presents for Children aged 4 through 13
  • Shoe Program
  • Dental Programs
  • Scholarship Program
  • Summer Camp for Kids

How to Apply for Goodfellows Assistance

To apply for help, call the United Way at 1-800-552-1183 and you will be redirected to your local branch of the Goodfellows. Since 1914 the Goodfellows have been dedicated to "No Kiddie Without a Christmas" and have made it their mission to provide children's charity during the Holiday Season. Local branches including Detroit may let you apply online here. 2012 program is closed. Contact the United Way at the above phone number for more help.

Lion's Club

Service Type: Service Club Organization
Phone Number: 630-571-5466
Apply Online: Click to find your local club

Available Programs

  • Sight Programs
  • Youth Programs
  • Services for Children
  • Health Programs
  • Disaster Relief
  • Christmas Presents for Children
  • Holiday Food Assistance

How to Apply for Help From the Lions Club

To apply for service, either call 1-630-571-5466 and request an application or visit to contact your local branch. As with many service organizations, help is provided by local members on the community level. Please contact your local Lions Club branch 1-2 months in advance of Christmas to request assistance. Assistance is provided on a first-come-first-serve basis and limited by member donations and available volunteers.

Toys for Tots

Service Type: Military
Phone Number: 810-516-9097
Apply Online: Click to visit site

Available Programs

  • Toys for Children

How to Apply for Marine Toys For Tots Foundation

One of the most famous Christmas Help programs, Toys for Tots is managed by the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation and has a long history of helping provide presents to Children on Christmas. Requesting a Toy for a needy or underprivileged child is very easy, simply visit to locate a local program and request toys. As with the other programs, it is recommended to apply for assistance at least a few weeks before Christmas. Available toys are limited by what is provided by corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Salvation Army

Service Type: Religious, Christian
Phone Number: 1-800-SA-TRUCK
Apply Online: Click to visit site

Qualifying Programs

  • Housing and Homeless Services
  • Adult Rehabilitation
  • Disaster Relief
  • Missing Persons
  • Elderly Services
  • Recreation
  • Christmas Charity

How to Apply for Salvation Army Programs

To apply for service, conotact your local Salvation Army branch by visiting and entering your zipcode. More detailed information is available here. While a Christian organization, the Salvation Army provides help to everyone. Originally started a ministry and rejection of traditional Church structure, the Salvation Army is one of the largest charities providing help to the poor. To receive help, local volunteers conduct interviews with families and individuals in need to verify what programs can provide the most assistance out of limited resources. If you are in need of a specific program, such as Christmas Help, please contact your local branch as soon as possible to complete a help interview and receive assistance in time.

Adopt-A-Family for Christmas

Service Type: Religious, Christian
Apply Online: Click to visit site

Available Programs

  • Toys
  • Clothing
  • Household Items
  • Utilities and Heating

How to Apply for Adopt-A-Family

To apply for service visit to find your local Corps Office. Adopt-A-Family is a large program sponsored by the Salvation Army, but providing more extensive help to entire families for the Christmas season. This help includes toys, food, clothing, heating, and more. As with other Salvation Army programs, it is important to contact your local Corps Office and conduct an entry interview with a professional social worker. These workers are trained to evaluate need and match programs as appropriate.