Holiday Volunteering

Accessibility Options

People volunteering during the holidays

Volunteering makes the winter holiday bright for so many in our community. We hope you'll take some time during this busy season to give back!

Visit for additional opportunities.

Updated 12-15-2020.

Adopt-a-Family Programs

Adopt-a-Family is a great way for your group, organization or family to make an impact. Each local group organizes their program a little bit differently. Please contact the organization directly to learn more about their program. 



Contact Person

Children’s Advocacy Center

201 Kenyon Rd. Suite #1
Champaign, IL 61820

Kari May


Developmental Services Center

1304 W. Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61821

Stephanie Davenport


Ph: 217-356-9176

Cunningham Children’s Home

1301 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802

Colleen Combes


Ph:  217-367-3728

Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County

520 E Wabash Ave
Rantoul, IL 61866

Andy Kulczycki


Ph: 217-893-1530

Salvation Army

2212 North Market
Champaign, IL 61821

Robin Mathis


Ph: 217-373-7832

Family Volunteering and Community Collection Drives

Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Virtual Collection Drive

If you are searching for a way to give back this Holiday season, consider the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation virtual donation drive. The drive will assist homeless and at risk students.

It's easy: visit the Amazon wish list, purchase items & have them shipped directly to the Regional Office of Education address provided on Amazon.

You can also purchase items and drop them off at the ROE office during regular business hours:

3358 Big Pine Trail, Champaign 61822.

Happiness for the Holidays

Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer. But for many, that cheer is few and far between. For people in nursing homes, retirement facilities, and long-term care, they may not get to see family members or friends due to the pandemic this holiday season.

That’s why Illini Radio Group is making it our mission to make sure that residents in local facilities get some holiday cheer this year. We need your kids to send them a card. We would like to get 2,000 cards or pictures to give to seniors.

You can buy a card or make your own. We also have ten different holiday coloring pages below for you to download and have your kids complete. When you’re done, mail them to us at:

Illini Radio Group
2603 W. Bradley Ave.
Champaign, IL, 61821

You can also drop them off and we will deliver them to local senior care facilities. Help us spread some holiday cheer to those who can feel most isolated this holiday season. Send a card to a senior today!

Learn More.

Donate a Car Seat to Head Start

Head Start is an Early Childhood program that serves low-income children and families. We are looking for car seats for the families we serve, or donations of gift cards to purchase car seats. Please click here to view our Wish List - thank you for helping keep children safe!

Toys for Tots

The Champaign County Toys for Tots program collects and purchases new and unwrapped toys to deliver to local underprivileged children. We gather these donations at collection sites, fundraising events, and generous local donations. Volunteers are needed! Learn more on their website.

Cunningham Children's Home

Donations – Fulfill a youth’s Christmas wish this year by shopping directly from their wish list. Contact Colleen Combes for specific wish list requests.

Gift Wrapping- Get into the holiday spirit this year by helping wrap gifts for the youth at Cunningham. To learn more about shifts schedules and wrapping details contact Colleen Combes.

Luminaries of Hope - Looking for a way to volunteer with proper social distancing? Help us set out luminaries outside, around Cunningham’s campus for our Luminaries of Hope event December 5th, 12th, and 19th. Contact Colleen Combes.

Courage Connection

Courage Connection's staff has put together a wish list of shelter and client needs for the holiday season and thought out the year. Please use our Amazon Wishlist, or visit our website for more information.

At this time, we are not taking volunteers to work in our facilities due to COVID-19. However, if you would like to discuss other ways to get involved, please contact Osajuli Cravens, Marketing and Communication Manager.

Salvation Army

We rely on volunteer bell ringers to help us raise money for the Champaign Kettle Campaign every year.  Can you or someone you know spare two hours to raise funds for our community?  It’s easy, fun, and something the whole family can enjoy doing together! Ring bells for two hours and make a difference in our community. Visit to register or call 217.373.7832. For more information, visit

Salt & Light

We are in need of individual volunteers and groups of up to 10 to help in our thrift stores with sorting, pricing, processing, stocking, and staging items, throughout the holiday shopping season. Opportunities are available Monday through Saturday from 9am-8pm and on Sundays from 11am-5pm. Interested parties can contact Lisa Sheltra to get started.

Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Due to COVID safety measures, there are limited opportunities for in-person volunteering this season. We are excited to share our new virtual food drive, providing community members a safe and impactful way to contribute to hunger relief. Interested in hosting your own virtual food drive to benefit EIF? Register here! If you’d like to stay informed on upcoming volunteer events, please sign up for our volunteer newsletter on our website.

Developmental Services Center

The DSC Holiday Wish List is a list comprised of holiday wishes from people in our DSC Residential Program who might not otherwise receive gifts during the holiday season. Gifts are selected from the list and dropped off at DSC’s office at 1304 W. Bradley Ave. Champaign, IL 61820, by December 15th. Please include a label with your unwrapped gift. Example: “Woman A-CLP.” Due to COVID-19, our office doors are locked at this time. Please contact us when you’re planning to drop off your gift and we’ll meet you at the door M-F between the hours of 8am-4:30pm. Contact: Stephanie Davenport (217) 356-9176.

Click for the wish list.

Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

This year we are planning a Knapsack Giveaway in mid-December.  We plan to buy knapsacks in two colors, one for men and one for women, and fill them with essential items including toiletries, hats, gloves, and scarves.  We will hand out the knapsacks from the front door just as we hand out hot meals every day.

Last year we gave away over 800 backpacks. We’re assuming that we will need that many or more knapsacks this year.  We are once again asking for your help to fill the knapsacks.

We are looking for donations of toiletries such as deodorant, hand lotion for hands chapped by the cold, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, chapstick, etc. Cold weather items such as gloves, hats, and scarves are needed. We would like to also include a small treat such as candy bars, chips, etc.  Since the backpacks are a Christmas gift, all items should be new.

Items can be dropped off at Daily Bread, 116 N. First Street, Champaign, from 9 a.m. to 12 P.M. every day. Please use the back door on the alley when dropping off items.  Donations can also be dropped off at Ellen Harms’ (705 S. Elm Blvd. 356-2551) at Pam Hagle’s (713 S. Elm Blvd. 359-3245) or at Ruthann Evans’ (4414 Crossgate Dr. 398-5687). Tax forms will be available.  And don’t forget to wear your mask

Full details can be found on their website.

C-U at Home

If the weather becomes extremely hot or extremely cold, The Phoenix opens for emergency warming or cooling hours. The Phoenix normally opens from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for these situations, but the hours may be different as it is decided on a case by case basis. 

As the winter season approaches, we welcome friends from the community to come and spend time with us before or after work hours. It is helpful to have friends that are willing to be "on call" for emergency warming hours. If this interests you, please contact us. We would love to have you join us!

More information on their website.

Holiday Meals

Emmanuel Sack Lunches

For over 30 years Emmanuel's Sack Lunch program has been feeding the hungry in Champaign-Urbana. Each weekday at 9am, two dozen nutritionally balanced lunches, packed to be portable, are given out from the Emmanuel office door to the homeless and working poor. We serve everyone who comes to us unconditionally, no questions asked. Learn more and find the wish list on the website. From the organization: We especially need the food items on the wish list, nuts and granola bars, right now.


Coat/Clothing Drives

Enoch Miller Sr. Clothes Drive

Donate at Cunningham Township Supervisor's Office, 205 W. Green St, Urbana during business hours.

Champaign Unit 4 Schools Warm A Kid

Once again, Unit 4's Center for Family and Community Engagement will sponsor its annual "Warm-A-Kid" program.

The primary goal of this program is to ensure that no student in Champaign Schools is without a coat, hat, or gloves during winter. The “Warm-A-Kid” program has been very effective in meeting the needs of children in Champaign Unit 4 Schools for over 21 years now, as meeting the basic needs of our students is a fundamental part of our educational system. We have served countless children and families from our community with the help of generous donors.

The number of low-income households and families in transition in our District continues to grow. We hope we are able to respond to all the calls joyfully, and that is our request to you. We need your help to put a coat on at least one child; the “Warm-A-Kid” program is solely funded through donations received from our local community. Your gift will make a difference however great or small and will be remembered for years to come.

You may forward your donations (new coats and/or monetary donations made payable to "Warm-A-Kid") to our office (Unit 4's Center for Family and Community Engagement), located at 703 S. New St., Champaign. All donations are tax-deductible.

The following are the most common coat sizes needed:

Boys - S, M, L, XL and Men's S and M

Girls - S, M, L, XL and Women's S, M, and L

Toddler Boys and Girls- 4T & 5T


Project Warmth - Promise Healthcare

Project Warmth was a project that was started last year to help our community stay a little warmer during the cold Illinois winter months. Volunteers have been collecting coats since October and would like to continue collecting through the holidays. We have been able to give out over 150 coats at Frances Nelson this year and would love to give more. Please consider dropping off gently used, clean coats at Promise Healthcare, 819 Bloomington Rd, Champaign, Illinois. Thank you for helping to keep our community warm through the winter months.


Other Opportunities

The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County is always seeking donations of plastic grocery sacks for their food pantry. This is a great no-cost way to give back. Please ensure sacks are clean and without holes. Drop off donations M-F, 8:30am - 5pm at CSCNCC, 520 E Wabash Ave, Rantoul, IL 61866.

Donate Blood

URGENT NEED FOR VOLUNTEER DONORS - Locally and nationally, blood centers have only 2-3 day supply of type O red blood cells. Supplies of AB plasma and Convalescent Plasma are depleted. We are calling for all healthy members of the public to step up now and support care for patients. Blood donation is safe and essential! Schedule an appointment today.

Project READ!

Nearly one in five Illinois residents struggle with basic math, reading, and English.  They are our parents, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.  Help us support the hundreds of adult learners we serve each year by joining our community of volunteers.  Anyone 17 years of age or older with a high school diploma or GED and knowledge of basic math, reading, and English can sign up to become a tutor.

Learn more on the website.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Give the gift of mentoring this holiday season! Spending time with a child can be the best gift of them all and right now mentors are needed more than ever. Mentoring is a rewarding experience that can truly make an impact on someone's life. Become a mentor today!

To add your opportunity to this list, email Mary Noel Stefan.

Faith-based opportunities may be listed here, if they meet the following:

-people of all faith backgrounds or no faith are served equally
-participation in religious services or programming is not required to volunteer or receive assistance