Ideas for Holiday Volunteering and Giving in Des Moines


The holidays are a great time to give back and pay your good fortune forward. 2021 has continued to bring challenges for many and the holidays aren’t an easy time. Learn about opportunities for holiday giving in Des Moines for your family to participate in. 

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

Holiday Giving in Des Moines

Anawim Housing: Home is Everything

For more than 20 years, Anawim Housing has met the needs of Polk County’s most vulnerable citizens through Permanent Supportive Housing programs. Today, more than 220 units are leased across the county making them the largest provider of permanent supportive housing in Iowa. You can make a financial gift directly to Anawim Housing here. Check their Facebook page for more opportunities to get involved during the holidays. 

Orchard Place 2021 Holiday Drive

Sign up to shop for a child or children. Sponsoring a child consists of purchasing 3 items from their wish list then wrapping and delivering them to the Orchard Place Branch. Don’t want to do the shopping, but want to help? Make a monetary donation and they’ll go shopping! Learn more 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. Each year, hundreds of people help them spread holiday cheer with their Cheer Box program! If you would like to help us wrap boxes or deliver boxes this November, sign up by contacting Megan at [email protected] 

EveryStep has a great list of resources if you are in need of a helping hand this holiday season. See their complete list of where to apply for assistance with holiday meals, toys and gifts, and other winter assistance programs here

holiday giving

Children & Families of Iowa

Children & Families of Iowa (CFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families throughout Iowa. CFI provides services, such as domestic violence prevention and intervention, teen programs, family support, early childhood development, mental health, and substance abuse. During the holiday season, CFI hosts Adopt A Family programs, a Holiday Shop, and Toy Drives. Check out all of the detail here, as well as learn how you can volunteer your time!

Hope Ministries

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

Saint Vincent dePaul: Operation Santa Claus

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 2020 Toys for Tots distributed more than 28,000 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

Iowa Homeless Youth Center

Adopt a youth/family, provide a care package, donate a meal, or volunteer. Help spread joy for over 170 homeless and at-risk youth in Des Moines. Visit for more details.

Adopt a youth/family:

Single Parent Provision

Single Parent Provision is hosting its 10th annual Single Parent Moms Christmas Dinner on December 11 as a way to say, “We see you!”.

Tickets are $15 per individual (mother only) or $25 per family (mother and children). Scholarships are gladly provided and easily requested by simply emailing [email protected] to receive a discount code.

Registration closes Friday, December 3. A pick-up option is provided for those who’d prefer not to gather. Please select a preferred pick-up time slot to view additional details.

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

United Way of Central Iowa

United Way of Central Iowa is United to Thrive. They are committed to bringing together donors, volunteers, advocates, nonprofits, leaders, and more to take on central Iowa’s toughest challenges. They have created an online Helping Hand Guide for volunteer opportunities around the Des Moines metro area this holiday season.

Animal Rescue Organizations

In addition to people helping people, the Des Moines metro area is fortunate to have several wonderful animal rescue organizations. They include AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & TransportAnimal Lifeline of Iowa, Animal Rescue League, Furry Friends Refuge, and Hope Animal Rescue. These organizations 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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