Seeking & Giving Help at the Holidays agencies aid families in need and offer volunteer opportunities

Barbara Arnold

Even months ahead of time, we are reminded that Christmas is coming when holiday décor and toylands begin to appear in stores both brick-and-mortar and online. At the same time, you’ll also see kind-hearted individuals in the Chippewa Valley start their missions for the children, families, and individuals in our area who have needs during the holiday season that may go unfulfilled if not for their neighbors’ generosity. At this time of year, many organizations are doing special things in addition to what they do every day for individuals, families, and children in need. Here are some of them:

Beacon House - Family Promise of the Chippewa Valley

309 E. Lake St., Eau Claire • (715) 834-4357 •

Advocate for and support families who are homeless in our community by providing temporary housing and support services, and by fostering independence.

Over the Holidays:
Low-income parents can choose toys, games, and books, among other gifts, while their children can choose gifts for their parents. Gift wrap, bows, ribbons, and gift cards, are provided, too.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Volunteers from UW-Eau Claire’s Newman Parish and the University Lutheran Church join together to provide gifts for children and their parents, as well as gift wrap, bows and ribbons, and gift cards.
  • NEED: Donations of gifts for children and adults as well as monetary donations for its mission.
  • NEED: People to provide evening meals during available weeks, which can be found at

Feed My People Food Bank

2610 Alpine Road, Eau Claire • (715) 835-9415 •

Partners with more than 125 hunger relief partners to provide food for children, families, and seniors.

Over the Holidays:
Continue to do the work they do every day, in partnership with agencies, volunteers, and donors, including Weekend Kids’ Meals for children in local school districts.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: Feed My People depends on volunteers – 23,000 hours of volunteer work last year. Learn more at (click on “Volunteer) or email nick at fmpfoodbank dot org.
  • Donations of food and money are appreciated to fulfill its mission.

Salvation Army

2211 South Hastings Way, Eau Claire • (715) 834-1224 •

The Salvation Army is an international movement whose mission is to meet human needs without discrimination.

October through December:
Collaborates with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. SA provides large collection boxes and “Angel Tree Tags” with specific children and their wants/needs listed on the tags.

The Toys for Tots program’s mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December and to distribute them as Christmas or other holiday gifts to less fortunate children in our community. (Learn more at

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: Sort, organize, and pack toys for Toys for Tots. Call (715) 834-1224 to volunteer.
  • You also may make a tax-deductible monetary donation for toys. Call for information.
  • The Salvation Army also can use bell ringers at its red kettles during the Christmas season.

Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County

P.O. Box 831, Chippewa Falls • (715) 944-4272 •

October through December only

Over the Holidays:
Serves people residing in Chippewa County who need assistance during the Christmas season. Main focus is children from infants through age 17. Gift wishes are filled as best as possible. Gifts are distributed to families prior to Christmas.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: One-hundred percent volunteer-staffed. Call (715) 944-4272 or read “How You Can Help” on webpage for specifics.
  • You also may make a tax-deductible monetary donation for toys.

The Community Table

320 Putnam St., Eau Claire • (715) 835-4977 •

Since 1993, the Community Table has been serving one meal each day, 365 days a year, on a no-questions-asked basis.

Over the Holidays:
Special meals provided on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: Teams of six to 12 volunteers who will prepare and serve the meal as well as clean the kitchen and dining area after the meal. On-site manager helps coordinate the team’s efforts.
  • Food and monetary donations are also needed.

Hope Gospel Mission

8 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire • (715) 552-5566 •

To help homeless individuals, children, and families in the Chippewa Valley.

Over the Holidays:
Free Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day meals, first-come, first-served.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: Volunteers for the meal events, set-up, serving, clean-up, and break-down.
  • A wide range of volunteer opportunities are listing online at
  • Monetary donations are also appreciated.

Trinity Lutheran Church

1314 E. Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire • (715) 832-6601 •

An in-house food pantry serves more than 800 families monthly (

Over the Holidays:
Free Thanksgiving Day meal for community members, includes kids craft corner and fleece blankets made by teenagers for people in need.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • NEED: Thanksgiving Day Dinner is 100 percent volunteer-driven. Call (715) 832-6601.
  • Food and monetary donations also appreciated.


We know that we have just scratched the surface of resources available for less fortunate families and places to volunteer during the holidays and at other times.

Click here to see a more complete list of Volunteer Opportunities & Charities.


If you are short on time to volunteer to these organizations, consider making a tax-deductible donation to your local community foundations, your local public or private schools, or other charitable organizations, before Dec. 31!

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