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Toys and Clothes for the Less Fortunate


The Holidays are usually a time of great joy and love. However, it can be hard for families that are having a tough time staying afloat to give their children a memorable, joyful Christmas.

These local organizations collect new toys and clothes to help make the holidays joyful in Little Rock. I've listed contacted information so you can also apply to receive toys for your child if you are in need. If you want to donate to local food banks or need food or assistance, check my list of local food banks and shelters.

1. The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program

The Salvation Army angel tree is one of my favorite ways to give every year at Christmastime. The Salvation Army asks screened families to fill out a "wish list" and you can fulfill it for a child in need. The kids request clothes, coats and normally a toy of some kind. For example, some kids ask for bikes, some for an mp3 player. You have a chance look at the lists before you choose a child, so you can pick items that meet a variety of price ranges.

If you want to donate: Part of the fun is going to the mall and choosing your angel. The angels are separated into age groups. The angels are available at many Wal-Mart locations and at Park Plaza and McCain Malls. You can also adopt online. You have to deliver the toys, unwrapped, to the Salvation Army or the site where you chose your angel.

If you need help: The Salvation Army requires you to apply for your child to be an angel in person, call 501-374-9296 for more details or visit 1505 N. 18th Street. Applications usually close in November, but call to be sure.

2. The United Way of Arkansas

For the past few years, the United Way has teamed up with the Peabody to do a big event for underprivileged kids where the kids get a meal, get to meet the ducks and a get a wrapped gift. Other than this event, the United Way provides holiday meals and toys to kids.

If you want to donate: Call the main office to find out what they need, 501-376-4567.

If you need help: Visit their website to find out about their services or call 501-376-4567.

3. Youth Home's Dove Tree

The Dove Tree is similar to the Angel Tree, but sponsored by Youth Home, a private, non‐profit psychiatric treatment center. Youth helps emotionally troubled adolescents and their families become healthier, contributing members of the community.

If you want to donate: A dove tree is a small Christmas tree decorated with gift tag ornaments that list specific Christmas wishes for the adolescents and teens at Youth Home. For more information, contact Youth Home at 501-821-5500.

If you need help: To participate, teens must already be admitted to the facility, but if your family has a troubled teen, call 501-821-5500 for information.

4. Stuff the Sleigh

Stuff the Sleigh, Inc. is a non-profit organization that reaches foster children of Central Arkansas. Many of foster children are unable to be at home with their family during the holidays, and wouldn't receive gifts otherwise.

If you want to donate: Every year, Stuff the Sleigh has a toy drive with local school and post wish lists online. You can check their website for the lists when they are available.

5. Toys for Tots

The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each and distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children.

If you want to donate: You can donate new unwrapped toys to any Toys R Us or Babies R Us location. They also have a weekend (Dec 7 - 9, 2012) where the Marines are at collecting toys, with a big parade at the KSSN Studios parking lot (info about the parade).

If you need help: This year toys for tots is not taking requests from individuals, but working with many organizations. They are taking requests for assistance until the middle of December. Requests for assistance

6. The Little Rock Compassion Center

The Compassion Center does more than toys, they also provide food, clothing and shelter if needed. In 2010, they fed more than seven hundred people a holiday meal at their shelter and gave away 350 food boxes.

If you want to donate: The Little Rock Compassion Center takes monetary donations online or they accept volunteers. They also take food, thrift store and toy donations. Call 501-296-9114

If you need help: Visit their website to find out about their services or call 501-296-9114.

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