Every year ThriftyFun gets numerous requests from people looking for help for their families for Christmas. Since we do not have the resources to offer direct help, we have set up this guide to help people find charities in each state. This is a guide about finding Christmas charities in Illinois.
How can I get 3 little boys signed up for Christmas help? Their dad works but doesn't make enough for any extras and their mom is a stay at home mom. Their ages are 10 months, 2 year old, and a 3 year old autistic boy. Anything would be greatly appreciated.
By Lucinda Sentlinger
You can't tell me that this family can't afford to go to a dollar store and buy each kid a small toy. Each kid only needs one gift. As far as that goes they are young enough yet that being they don't go to daycare or anything, if certain adults didn't talk about Christmas they wouldn't know about it. It could be just another day.
That being said I know they can get toys at dollar stores, and if the family is that hard up clothing items might be more practical and you can go to WalMart and get t-shirts for no more than $5.00 each. Also thrift stores have nice used and new items. Call 211 it is a nationwide helpline number that has ideas of different help organizations. At this time it might even be too late to apply for Christmas help. Low income families have to start planning ahead. Start their Christmas shopping in January, buy one gift a month and by Christmas time they should have 2-3 gifts for each kid. Put a drastic price limit on the amount spent on the gifts. Kids don't need any of the items that are seen on TV.
Do you have a local Buy and Sell group in your area? If you're not sure, search for it on Facebook.
If you post your problem on one of these community oriented groups, perhaps some parents will be willing to pick up an extra toy or blanket to donate while shopping for their own kids.
You can coordinate it yourself. You don't really need an organization.
If you'd prefer to go through an organization, call up your local food pantry and ask if they have the number for the local kids' Christmas toy drive.
We have moved to the Bloomington/Normal area. It is now just my 5 year old daughter and myself. I am currently very ill and on disability, trying to get well to go back to work, but right now it is a terrible struggle. How can I find things and food for my child for the Xmas season. I have always paid it forward when I was so successful and when I could work. I am hoping to find some help now. I am so hoping I can start paying if forward once again in the future. Thank for your time.
Where I live the stores like WalMart, rotate between different non-profit organizations to have them turn in names of people that need a gift. One year it might be a nursing home, the next year it might be for a home for at risk boys, etc. Here you just can't go to the store and ask to be registered.
Besides the ideas already mentioned, contact Catholic Services in your area. They help anyone of any denomination and just because this charity is called Catholic Services doesn't mean it is strictly Catholic because assorted denominations and corporations volunteer and donate to them. I don't remember having to fill out any form when I first became disabled and they helped me and I only needed to talk to them and tell them my situation.
Not only did they help me with food and a few Christmas gifts (including food and a toy for my kitty cat) that year but a woman volunteered to help me with my heavy house cleaning - that was two and a half years ago and she still comes every other week to help me. If for some unforeseen reason they are not in the position to help you in your area this year they will help you find the people/agencies who can.
I encourage everyone to start a group like we have here in Az., ArizonansHelpingArizonans. We collect things to give to others who need them; you would be surprised how generous people are when they find you give things away.
Our group is like a cross between freecycle and networking, with a little support group thrown in. We have lists of resources such as food banks and one member has a donation room at her house. We help everyone we can, regardless of whether they are members. We have members who help the homeless, members who make quits for people in hospitals and the homeless, and many other endeavors. It's a fun and informative group.
I live in Bloomington, call Path at 827-4005, that is an info and referral line, they have a list of various agencies that give help. They also have a list of food pantries. Ask about Thanksgiving and Christmas help, and do it asap as it is getting close to the deadline for some of the helps.
I live in Champaign and need help with getting Christmas for my 3 yr old son. I am unable to work and draw a SSI check and can not afford much at all for my son.
By jenny73 from Champaign, IL
First a three year old is young enough that he shouldn't expect much. One or two small, inexpensive gifts should be enough. The Salvation Army does help with things like this, as well as some other charities. In a lot of the country, all of these organizations band together at Christmas time and form one large organization. Call 211 and ask which organizations provide Christmas help.
211 is a nationwide Helpline organization that keeps a list of various organizations that provide different types of help for people. The age your son is he should be satisfied with one or two gifts from a dollar store. Even a color book wrapped in one package and a 8-count box of crayons wrapped as another package. When my kids were young were weren't well-to-do by any means, but we knew how to budget, but still our girls only ever got one package each from us. When they were really little(newborn to maybe three years of age) they got the dress that they wore to candle light Christmas Eve services and then after they were in bed I wrapped the dresses and that is what they opened on Christmas Day.
Even now, with my daughters grown and four grandchildren that range in age from 15 to 25, I couldn't afford to buy them each a gift if I didn't start my shopping in January. I have been done for at least a month and I have a limit of $20.00 for each person. If I find a $20.00 item on sale for $10-15.00, I still count it as a $20.00 item. When the girls were young and we had more close family members they also received one gift each from each set of grandparents and aunts and uncles. You must have some family members that give gifts to you and your son. No matter the age of the kid, there isn't a kid alive that needs one or all of the expensive things that they see on TV.
3 year olds love crafts. Look up how to make homemade play dough, lots of fun. Cut pics from old magazines glue in a notebook for a scrap book. Download coloring pages on the back of junk mail. Staple together for a coloring book. Make sock puppets from old socks and pieces of old clothes. A theater could be made from a cardboard box. Make a fort from an old large box. Check appliance stores. The child will appreciate the love you put into each item and the time you spent playing with them.
I now but my son has been very spoiled up till a few months ago me and his father split up. and hes not getting everything like he was b4. It's horrible, cause I now there are a lot of children out there that have nothing at all. i just wanna be able to give him a half way decent Christmas. its been hard on him cause his daddy is in TX and I have not been around much been in and out of hospital a lot so hes been with his aunt and uncle a lot. thank you!
Feeding Illinois, formerly the Illinois Food Bank Association, may be able to provide assistance with food items for families in need during the holiday season.
The Walter & Connie Payton Foundation sponsors a Holiday Giving Program that helps provide holiday gifts the state's neediest children.
Catholic Charities provides services to a number of counties in the Chicago area. Programs include "Sponsor-A-Family" and a Holiday Outreach Program.
Charities that offer help during the holiday season in Illinois. Please post feedback about any charities you may know about.
Editor's Note: Do NOT post here if you need help. ThriftyFun does not have resources to give direct help to those in need.
CALL YOUR LOCAL UNITED WAY OFFICE. THEY HAVE A LIST OF CHARITABLE AGENCIES IN YOUR AREA WHO OFFER ASSISTANCE AT CHRISTMAS. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WELFARE OFFICE FOR FOOD STAMPS, MEDICAID AND CASH ASSISTANCE. CONTACT LOCAL COLLEGES AND MEET WITH A FINANCIAL AIDE OFFICER WHO CAN GIVE YOU THE PAPER WORK FOR PELL GRANTS AND STUDENT LOANS AND ADVISE ABOUT WHAT KIND OF SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMPLOYMENT OFFICE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION IF YOU HAVE WORKED MORE THAN 3 QUARTERS OUT OF THE LAST 4.