Ideas for Holiday Volunteering and Giving in Des Moines


The holidays are a great time to give back and pay your good fortune forward. 2020 has been a hard year for many and the holidays aren’t an easy time. 

Whether you have extra time or resources to give or need a little help, here are some of the programs you can partner with to give back and volunteer in Des Moines this holiday season.

Holiday Giving in Des Moines

Anawim Housing: Home is Everything

Donate high-need household items for those moving into Anawim who are coming from homelessness and have very little.
Requested donations include the following NEW (non-used) household items:
– Blankets and sheet sets (Twin, Full, Queen)
– Standard bed pillows
– Pans, pots, skillets, cookie sheets
– Small appliances: toaster, crockpot, coffee maker
– Vacuums
– Silverware
– Towels: kitchen and bath
– Broom/Dustpan, Cleaning supplies
Donations can be dropped off at three area locations on December 15th between 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
– Anawim Housing Office: 1535 Linden Street. Des Moines, IA 50309
– Trixies Salon (Uptown): 4118 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311
– Trixies Salon (Southside): 6209 SE 14th St. Des Moines, IA 50320
You can make a financial gift directly to Anawim Housing here
If you are unable to drop-off your items on the scheduled date, please contact the main office at 515-244-8308 to schedule. 


Orchard Place 2020 Holiday Drive

Sign up to sponsor a child or children. Sponsoring a child consists of purchasing 3 items from their wish list, wrapping and delivering them to the Orchard Place Branch. Register here.

West Des Moines Human Services Holiday Assistance

Bring joy to families this holiday season. There are many options including adopting a family, purchasing grocery gift cards, or making a monetary donation. Learn more here.  


EveryStep is the name behind services like HCI Hospice Care Services, Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Amanda the Panda and more than 30 programs and services with a shared mission.  

Make a difference in the lives of those served by EveryStep through their Adopt-A-Family program; team up with your friends, family, or co-workers this year to adopt a family. By collecting items on a family’s wish list, you can help make their season brighter. To learn more about adopting a family, call 515-371-0912.

holiday giving

Hope Ministries

Help deliver thousands of meals around the Des Moines area to individuals and families in need. Most of the Thanksgiving positions are full, but there are plenty of opportunities to help for Christmas. Learn more here

Saint Vincent dePaul

Saint Vincent dePaul is doing a giving tree in 2020. They will pass out the Angel Tree gift tags to provide for families in need, in front of Our Lady of Fatima School. Call 409-594-9301 for more information.

Saint Vincent dePaul in partnership with Toys for Tots is excited to bring back Operation Santa Claus! Operation Santa Claus provided 12,000 toys to over 3,000 kids who needed them most. Various sponsorship opportunities are available to help.

  • Providing toys for one child in need: $20
  • Providing a family with Christmas Dinner: $50
  • Sponsor an entire family’s Christmas presents: $100
  • Sponsor an entire family’s Christmas (dinner and presents) $150

To learn more about donating to or signing-up for Operation Santa Claus and Hope of the Holidays click here.

Toys for Tots

In 201 Toys for Tots distributed more than 39,000 toys in Des Moines. Families can request toys, sign up to donate, or volunteer. Learn more here

Food Bank of Iowa Combat Hunger

Raise money to provide meals to feed hungry families in Iowa. More details here

Single Parent Provision

Single Parent Provision will host its 9th annual Single Parent Moms Christmas Dinner on December 12 as a way to say, “We see you!”.

This event is free, but registration is required and closes Wednesday, December 4.

If you would like to learn more about this special evening, watch this short news segment WHO-TV did in 2018. Ways to help with the dinner include various levels of sponsorship, to learn more click here or to volunteer click here.

Holiday Helping Hands with Urbandale Community Action Network

The Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN) is a 501(c)3 citizen group providing leadership and ongoing support for comprehensive community-based action to improve the quality of life in Urbandale. UCAN works collaboratively with local government, churches, civic, and community organizations, not for profits, citizens and the business community to accomplish common goals and to help make a difference in the lives of Urbandale residents.

UCAN Holiday Helping Hands Programs include Thanksgiving Needs Baskets, Adopt-A-Family, Santa for Seniors, Christmas Food Assistance, and At-Risk Teen Outreach. To sign up to help please contact UCAN at [email protected] or call 515-278-3936.

holiday give back

Animal Rescue Organizations

In addition to people helping people, the Des Moines metro area is fortunate to have several wonderful animal rescue organizations including, but not limited to: AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & TransportAnimal Lifeline of Iowa, Animal Rescue League, Furry Friends Refuge, and Hope Animal Rescue who work year-round rescuing animals and giving them second chances. Most rescues host various supply drives and “adopt a shelter pet” programs during the holiday season. Often these donated supplies will help stock a rescue for months meaning more dollars to spend saving animals.

Did we miss your favorite holiday giving in Des Moines program? Tell us the details below!


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