In Western North Carolina, approximately 1 in 4 children are facing an empty plate. According to N.C. Child, 42.9% of children in Buncombe County were living in a poor or low-income household in 2017. Together, we can give to our local community and make someone’s December a little brighter. 🎉
Here’s how to give back this holiday season ✨ –
Toys and Books
Toys for Tots | Every holiday season, Toys for Tots collects toys to give to families in need in the WNC area. Over the last 14 years, 100,000 children have been given gifts through donations made by people in Asheville + surrounding areas. There are dozens of drop off locations all throughout the city. Those locations can be found here.
Santa Pal | The Asheville Optimist Club Santa Pal is the longest running Christmas present charity in our area. Each year they collect toys + monetary donations to give to families in need. To make a donation you can drop it off at their location in the Innsbruck Mall or give online.
Holiday Book Drive for Students | United Way’s Women United + Hands On Asheville-Buncombe are collecting books for middle school students. Just purchase a middle school or elementary school aged book at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Asheville Mall and leave them with the cashier for the drive by Dec. 31. You can also drop off unwrapped books by Dec. 10 at 50 South French Broad Ave.
Sponsor a child or family
Eliada Home | Eliada Home maintains a 5-Star Child Development Center, Residential and Day Treatment mental health programs, Foster Care services, and Workforce Development programming for hundreds of children in our area. Each year they host a campus wide Christmas party for the children in their care. You can sponsor a child + fulfill their wish list for the party. For most of these children, the gifts they receive from the sponsors are the only gifts they’ll receive that year.
Irene’s Elves | At the Irene Wortham Early Learning Center, children ages six-weeks to five-years-old learn, play + grow in an inclusive setting – with about half the children have significant disabilities. Pick items from their Toys and Books, Warm Clothes and Coats, Shoes or Boots lists. You can also give a monetary donation + the staff will purchase gifts or host a toy or coat drive at your school, business or church. Donations due by Dec. 7.
Brighten the Holidays | Sponsor a little as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Children are ages 6-17 and live with single parents, one parent, grandparent, or other relatives. To sponsor a little, simply purchase a gift and wrap it up (gift list will be provided), or purchase a gift card. Register by Dec. 17.
WNCAP Merry + Bright | WNCAP works to improve the lives of individuals + families affected by HIV + AIDS, while at the same time working to prevent further spread of the disease in our community. Each year they host a gift drive to help their clients be able to give gifts to their children for Christmas. For more information on where + how to donate click here.
Meals, clothes + fundraisers
Town and Mountain Realty | On Dec. 20 at 5 p.m., The 8th annual Home for the Holidays fundraiser will take place at the Orange Peel. There will be live music, a silent auction + an opportunity to meet Mr. + Mrs. Claus. Admission is donation based, with all proceeds going to Homeward Bound of WNC, Helpmate, BeLoved Asheville, Eliada + Haywood Street Congregation.
Bounty of Bethlehem | For 36 years, the community of Hendersonville + surrounding areas has put on a free community Christmas dinner. In the past this dinner served over 2,000 people. The dinner is open to absolutely everyone + is entirely operated by the community.
WNC Rescue Mission | The WNC Rescue Mission seeks to restore the lives of individuals + families trapped by homelessness, poverty + addiction. They are hosting a winter gear giveaway called Operation Stay Warm on Jan. 19 from 12-3 p.m. There will be Free coats, hats, gloves, scarves + more for those in need along with the opportunity to help people shop for winter clothes. There is also the Love Never Fails Christmas Gala on Dec. 12 with tickets starting at $50. All proceeds help support local work of rescue, recovery + restoration.