Santa’s Helpers: Where to Find Free Toys for Christmas 2021
For many parents, the end of the holiday season is bittersweet. There’s no dreaming about a white Christmas, no visions of sugar plums, and no thoughts about Christmas presents for several months, but there’s also no worry about providing kids with toys and gifts that aren’t in the family budget.
Unfortunately, many parents must start saving as long as a year in advance to afford Christmas presents for their kids.
Are you in this situation? Fortunately, there are free toys for Christmas 2021, so with a little planning you can provide happy surprises for your kids during the most wonderful time of the year.
There’s never a shortage of Christmas presents — the value of unwanted presents is over $15 billion, and many parents will donate these unwanted presents to families in need. Here’s where you can find free Christmas presents:
Salvation Army Angel Tree Program
Salvation Army is an organization that aids families struggling with addiction, poverty, and other economic hardships. They offer several services, many of them for free. One such program is the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.
This program donates free Christmas toys and clothes to kids who would normally not receive presents. The toys are usually donated by parents, but big-box retailers may also assist by either donating to the cause themselves or asking their customers for donations.
If you want to receive toys and clothes for your children, contact your local Salvation Army for more information.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps. They collect new, unwrapped toys, and give them to children in need. On average, the organization collects 18 million toys and distributes them to 7 million children each year.
Toys for Tots operates on a local basis. You can request toys by visiting their website.
United Way technically doesn’t supply Christmas toys for free, but they can connect you with charitable programs and organizations in your area. They can help anyone throughout the US and even in other parts of the world.
United Way also offers assistance with medical services, financial help, programs for veterans, project funding, and more.
USPS Operation Santa
Does your child write letters to Santa? Don’t worry, USPS doesn’t discard these letters. They use them toward their Operation Santa program. In this program, USPS posts the letter on their website. A generous person can find these letters, select a letter writer, and buy the gifts on their list.
Simply ask your child to write what they want and address it to Santa Claus at the North Pole. With a little luck, a kind individual may decide to become Santa for your child.
Amanda Manigault Ministries
While this is technically a location-based organization (which we will cover in the next section), they serve low-income families in three cities: Columbia, SC; Harrisburg, PA; and Atlanta, GA.
Amanda Manigault is a licensed ordained minister who aims to spread holiday cheer to low-income families and enhance the lives of single parents.
Every year, Manigault organizes an outdoor toy drive in her hometown of Harrisburg. Families can donate toys and families in need can pick out the donated toys for their kids. In 2020, 200 kids from 58 families received toys for Christmas.
Catholic Charities offer assistance to families in need during the holidays, which could include receiving gifts. However, the way they help is based on the needs of the whole community.
Catholic Charities operates in just about every state. To register, you’ll have to find your local chapter. You can search for your local chapter on their website.
If you or your spouse are in the military, Operation Homefront provides assistance to military families. Operation Homefront hosts their Toy Drive every year.
Operation Homefront offers other forms of assistance, such as financial help, and they host many events for military families. These include holiday meals, back-to-school events, and more. You can check for more events on your dashboard and the Operation Homefront website.
To sign up, you’ll first have to set up an account on their website. When you can register, the event will appear on your dashboard.
Santa’s Little Helper
Santa’s Little Helper is a community based on the online forum Reddit. Parents in need can make an Amazon wish list of the best Christmas toys and Redditors will shop for the gifts. Keep in mind, the items have to total less than $100.
To register, you’ll first need a Reddit account and you’ll have to fill out an application. Once you’re approved, you can make a post on the forum with your wishlist and your needs. Redditors will see your comment and will try and help the best they can.
Is your child facing a life-threatening condition? If you’re swamped with medical bills (even with health insurance) and are afraid you can’t afford Christmas presents, don’t worry. Make-A-Wish Foundation offers gifts for children under the age of 18 who are facing severe illnesses.
How do you enroll? You or your child can place a referral online. In addition, another family member or even the child’s doctor can place a referral in their name.
Free Toys by Location
As you can see, most of these organizations run on a local level — even if they’re a national program. However, there are some programs you can only find in certain states.
Georgia: The Empty Stocking Fund
The Empty Stocking Fund purchases gifts for children of all ages and genders and accepts donations to give to children in need.
In addition to gifts, this organization also collects school supplies and provides other necessities to aid the emotional, social, and even academic development of a child.
To receive gifts, you’ll have to register via their website. Keep in mind, submissions for Christmas 2021 aren’t available yet.
Arizona: Gifts of Love Holiday Program
If you live in Tucson, Arizona, you can participate in their Gifts of Love Holiday Program. Gifts of Love is a program founded by Interfaith Community Services, an organization that helps families during the holidays and back to school.
The program connects families with organizations, generous individuals, and faith partners to provide gifts and support. Their back to school program provides school supplies and other items such as course fees, musical instrument rentals, Science Fair supplies, lab fees, and even technology.
While they don’t have Gifts of Love events available yet, you’ll be able to find them on the events page.
Maine: Seacoast Mission Christmas Program
Maine Seacoast Mission is a nonprofit that helps the local Maine community. They offer a Christmas program where they distribute gifts to Maine families in need. They not only offer gifts for children but also for all members of the family, including nursing home residents.
Not sure what to give your child? Maine Seacoast Mission also hosts an Elves Workshop program, where people can choose gifts for their kids.
Illinois: The Holiday Giving Program
The Walter and Connie Payton Foundation aims to help less fortunate Illinois families while providing positive opportunities. They have an event called the Holiday Giving Program, where they provide gifts to children and veterans throughout Illinois.
Missouri: Crosslines Holiday Center
Missouri-based program Crosslines Holiday Center has a few different events for families in need. One of their programs, The Toystore, offers brand new toys for children. So far, they have provided 30,000 toys for children who may not have received anything for Christmas.
Crosslines Holiday Center also provides holiday meals, and they have served over 26,000 meals. To sign up, go to the Crosslines Holiday Center website and apply for assistance.
Many people can turn to their local church during the holidays for free or cheap toys. If you’re a member of a church, many churchgoers might be willing to help.
Sometimes Lion’s Club hosts holiday events and toy drives. You can search for a local chapter near you and see if they offer holiday events.
You can also search for other local charities in your area, even ones that don’t specialize in toys and gifts. For example, a food drive may provide a holiday event where your children can get free gifts.
Craigslist is a great place to find second-hand toys, many of which are free or very cheap. but you must always be very careful about meeting up with strangers. Only meet up in a safe public place like the police station and only meet during the daytime. Don’t bring your kids with you.
Receive Free Toys for Christmas 2021
No matter what the season, many people are struggling and can’t find employment. ortunately, there are many ways to receive free toys for Christmas 2021.
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