How to help Northeast Ohio families this holiday season

Conversations around the office this month have focused on what we’re buying our children for the holidays. Some gifts mentioned, like the latest dollhouse or video game sets, cost $200 or more. If we have the means to buy these gifts, we also should consider how to give back to families in need. There are several ways to help a Northeast Ohio family (or families!) this holiday season.

Bellefaire JCB is a child services agency providing a “variety of behavioral health, substance abuse, education and prevention services.”

  • Shop a child’s holiday wish list and return the gifts (ranging from $20 to $35) no later than Dec. 8 to Bellefaire JCB, 22001 Fairmount Blvd., Building A, in Shaker Heights. The wish list should be attached to the gift. Don’t wrap the gift, but if you’d like, you may provide a gift bag.
  • Through mid-December, donate funds for the remaining wish lists.

Fostering Hope seeks to “enrich the lives of children living in foster care and residential treatment by providing unique experiences.”

  • Shop for a stocking filled with goodies totaling $25 for foster children across Cleveland. Deliver it no later than Dec. 9 to Fostering Hope.
  • Donate a Journey Bag so that foster children don’t have to move belongings in trash bags. Shop the wish list or provide monetary donations.
  • Volunteer at a Gift ‘n Greet event.
  • Full details about how to participate in the Holiday Gift ‘n Greet are here.

Providence House is a “crisis nursery committed to child abuse prevention and family preservation in the Cleveland area.”

  • The Parent Holiday Party on Dec. 13 allows parents to “shop” for presents for their children from items donated. Requested items include toys, games, books and art projects. All gifts for the party should be dropped off by Dec. 12.
  • Companies, organizations or families can host a gift drive by asking your group to purchase items from Providence House’s Holiday Wish List. To create a holiday giving tree, download, print and decorate ornament stencils; then, label the ornaments with items from the wish list. No deadline to receive the materials, as these are used all year long.
  • Full details about Providence House’s holiday giving options are here.

Urban Community School provides “individualized, innovative and challenging education to children living in Cleveland’s Near West Side neighborhoods, with a particular focus on serving primarily low-income children.” Adopt an Urban Community School family in need by contacting Maureen Doyle at or 216-939-8441, ext. 176. All gifts must be received by Dec. 14, so those interested in participating should connect with the school as soon as possible so you may receive a family’s wish list.

Adopt a Family Association offers a “short-term safety net and temporary caring support to Greater Cleveland area families in crisis.” The organization is collecting donations through Dec. 16 at Dollar Bank branches. For boys (1-18 years old), they are seeking Ninja Turtles and Star Wars items, race car sets, remote control cars or trucks, books, board games, clothes and so on. For girls (1-18 years old), the association hopes to collect “Frozen” items, dolls, crafts, learning toys, books, board games, clothes, etc. For foster teens, provide gift cards, small electronic items, personal hygiene products, etc. Monetary donations also are accepted at any Dollar Bank branch.

Know of other organizations helping families over the holidays? Share in the comments.

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