Six Omaha Christmas Donation DrivesNov 01, 2021 10:49AM ● By Hannah Heser
It’s the time of year when hearts fill with the spirit of giving—giving thanks and, of course, giving gifts.
Thousands around the metro and other places are impoverished or homeless, and thousands of children are in the care of foster or surrogate parents. The daily struggles of those in need leaves little, if any, room in budgets for Christmas presents. Omaha Magazine has compiled a list of six organizations from around the city that collect toys and other items to families who need support.
Angel Tree at The Salvation Army
10755 Burt St. | 402.898.6007
The Salvation Army Angel Tree program has been helping local low-income families and children since they began serving the Omaha community 130 years ago. This holiday program relies heavily on generous Omahans who purchase new toys and place the unwrapped gifts in the blue donation bins at any Jensen Tire location in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Fremont, or Lincoln. In 2020, they partnered with Walmart to expand the program and provided toys for thousands of children in the area.
Christmas Shopping Drive at The Hope Center for Kids
2201 Farnam St. | 402.342.8232
Each holiday season, members of the Hope Center for Kids have the opportunity to pick out new Christmas gifts for loved ones. Along with parents and caregivers asking for gifts for children, this is an event in which children themselves are looking to pick out gifts for loved ones, so donations of items such as skin care products or stationery are appreciated, along with donations of toys and gift cards. (Note: items need to be delivered by Dec. 7)
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
Toys for Tots began in fall 1947 with a handcrafted Raggedy Ann doll. The program now serves more than 600 local communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. New, unwrapped toys can be donated at collection sites around the Metro.
Project Elf at Nebraska Children’s Home Society
4939 S. 118th St. | 402.451.0787
Project Elf has been going on for more than 20 years. Through this donation program, NCHS provides the children and families served throughout its programs across the state with gifts under their tree. This successful program annually gives thousands of gifts to those in need.
Project Santa at Open Door Mission
2205 E. Locust St. | 402.422.1111
Project Santa is a drive-thru Christmas event held by the Open Door Mission organization. Those who participate in this charity event will put a smile on a child’s face by empowering parents to have gifts under the tree this holiday season. Volunteers are always needed to help bag toys and load the presents into the parents' cars. This is an outdoor event, so dress accordingly.
Toy Drive for Pine Ridge
This homegrown nonprofit helps people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, known to be one of the poorest areas in the country. The drive was started in 2003 by Omaha musician Larry Dunn when he arranged a benefit concert to collect toys. Each year more concerts are added, along with events in the city and outside of Omaha. They partner with multiple schools and early childhood centers for the toy giveaways in mid-December.
This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.