2019 Holiday Helper Programs

  • Most agencies require families to bring the following information:

    1. Picture ID for all adults
    2. Social Security cards for each family member living in the household
    3. Official mail dated within the last 30 days (utility bill, phone bill, lease, etc.)
    4. Proof of income (MFIP statement, SSI statement, pay stub, etc.)

    Toys for Tots/Operation Joy

    Serving residents of the Twin Cities who are not registered with any other program. Children ages 0-16 are eligible to participate in Toys for Tots. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 15, 2019Families must contact an organization to register for toys. Toys for Tots does not distribute toys directly. For more information, call 612-713-4820.

    If you have trouble accessing the website, contact United Way at 2-1-1 or 651-291-0211 to learn which programs have toys for children if you can not access website.

    A child may only be registered through one charitable organization. Multiple registrations by different family members, at different locations, are not allowed. Only toy requests by family members with custodial responsibility are normally approved. Other requests are considered on a case by case basis. You will need the children’s birthdates and Social Security Numbers.

    The Salvation Army Emergency Toy Shop

    Serving residents of the 10 county metro area. Serves only children 0-14.

    The Salvation Army will be accepting applications for the 2019 Toy Shop program beginning Nov. 6, 2019 via online registration. Phone registration is also available by calling the Toy Shop hotline 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays at 651-746-3595.

    Required Documentation: Proof of address (bring a current piece of mail), picture ID for adult picking up toys, ID for each child in household (ex. medical card, birth certificate, school ID, Social Security card, etc.)

    The Salvation Army’s centers are a place for families in crisis to get help, including coats for their children. Visit any of their Twin Cities Worship & Service Centers to learn about meeting your child’s need for a coat.

    Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC) - Annual Gift Sale
    2210 Oliver Ave. N., Minneapolis

    Serving families in North Minneapolis with children Kindergarten through 8th grade.

    Families must purchase tickets in advance, $1 per child, at PCYC’s main building. 2018 ticket sale dates TBD. For more information, call 612-643-2026.

    Gift sale will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

    Children will shop for gifts for up to 5 family members. Parents will wait at a different location while their children shop. Children must be physically present and able to do their own shopping with the assistance of an adult volunteer.

    Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA)
    627 38th Ave. N.E., Columbia Heights

    Serving residents of Columbia Heights, Fridley, Spring Lake Park and Hilltop. SACA provides Christmas toys and holiday dinner distribution.

    Christmas Project applications will be accepted Nov. 4 through Dec. 4, 2019. Bring two pieces of mail, a picture ID and your birth certificate/medical card/Social Security card. To apply, call 763-706-3976.

    Christmas with Dignity – Hospitality House Youth Development
    1220 Logan Ave. N., Minneapolis

    Christmas with Dignity allows parents to have the pleasure of shopping and giving their children new gifts at prices they can afford. The holiday setting, personal shoppers and free gift wrapping give parents the chance to enjoy the experience, as well as getting the satisfaction of providing for their families. Gifts are priced at about one-tenth the original price.

    REQUIRED Pre-registration dates:

    • 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at Hospitality House, 1220 Logan Ave. N., Minneapolis
    • 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Hospitality House, 1220 Logan Ave. N., Minneapolis

    2019 Registration Requirements

    • Current, valid picture ID for the parent or guardian registering children. *If address has changed, bring a utility bill with new address when you register.
    • For natural children: Bring the child's original birth certificate listing parent & child (no copies).
    • For legal guardians/foster parents: Bring custody letter, name and phone number of social worker.

    At registration, you will receive a ticket with the time to come to the sale. For more information, call 612-524-5824.

    Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP)
    7051 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center

    Serving residents of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and East Champlain, with children under the age of 18. CEAP has its own Hope for the Holidays event and is participating in the Toys for Tots program and giving out holiday food baskets. Registration starts mid-November and lasts until early December. For more information, or to be screened and register, call 763-566-9600 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

    North Suburban Emergency Assistance Response (NEAR)
    5209 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis

    Serving residents of Crystal, Robbinsdale and northern New Hope.

    Holiday Food Boxes are given to people who are not registered clients. These boxes are given away starting 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26. Call ahead to make an appointment. Bring a piece of mail for proof of address.

    For more information, or to make an appointment, call 763-533-2836.

    Ralph Reeder Food Shelf – Mounds View Public Schools (Open to Community)
    Located in the Pike Lake Education Center (Rm. 22) at 2101-NW 14th St., New Brighton.

    Serving residents of New Brighton, Mounds View, Shoreview, Arden Hills, northern Roseville and Ramsey County St. Anthony.

    Thanksgiving Bags are given out Nov. 1-27, 2019. Call to make an appointment.

    Operation Joy is a holiday toy and gift program (birth through grade 12). Families must register in person 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 or during your daytime food shelf appointment Nov. 1-30.  

    Bring a picture ID for each adult in household, proof of residence (current piece of mail with names) and a birth certificate, Social Security card or medical ID for your children. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 651-621-7451 weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon.


    Serving residents of Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, New Hope and southern Crystal. PRISM's holiday toy shoppe provides holiday presents approximately 2 weeks before the holidays for children ages birth to 10. Wrapping paper and other supplies may also be available.

    To register, text 763-308-4890 or email prism.signup@gmail.com.

    Many local churches sponsor families for the holidays. Call your city's government offices to connect with a church in your area.

    Columbia Heights




    Brooklyn Center




    New Brighton



    *Please contact 211 if there are any needs that are not met by the following list of resources.

  • Columbia Heights Public Schools provides resources as informational only.
    The District cannot guarantee any certain outcome of any listed resource.

Seasonal Meal Resources

  • Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels
    Serves residents within 45 miles of St. Paul. Will deliver a traditional Thanksgiving meal 8 a.m.-noon on Thanksgiving Day. Recipients will have to warm the food.

    Families of any size can register 9 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning in November. Phone registration is required. For more information, or to register, call 651-699-5404.

    Emergency Food shelf Network: Baskets of Hope – Holiday Meals
    8501 54th Ave. N., New Hope

    Serving all Twin Cities residents. Connect with your local food shelf to learn about requirements and registration dates. Register individually, online at thefoodgroupmn.org. For more information, call 763-450-3860.

    Oak Hill Baptist Church
    4141 University Ave. N., Columbia Heights

    Thanksgiving meal on Sunday November 23, 2019. Lunch will be served following the service. Individuals do not need to be in attendance at the service to eat. For more information, call 763-789-4337.

    Emergency Foodshelf Network, Inc.
    The Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN) provides free holiday meal baskets for winter holidays to families facing hunger in Anoka Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties. The program provides holiday-specific food packages to Twin Cities residents living below the federal poverty guidelines, and each package provides enough food to feed a family of at least eight people. 

    Register online or call 763-450-3860.

    First Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights
    1555 40th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights

    Free community meal 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Sunday, September through May.

    After school programming with free meal for student, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call for more information.

    Saint Matthew Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights
    4101 Washington Street NE, Columbia Heights

    Free Thanksgiving meal 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 28.

    Community United Methodist Church
    950 Gould Ave. NE | 763-788-9009

    Community meals 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 23.

    The Sheridan Story
    4-5 pound bag of non-perishable food items provided over winter break, Dec. 21-Jan. 5. Visit their website for more information.

    View the flyer.