Churches and charities across the Minneapolis region and nearby counties provide assistance to low income families around the holidays. There may be everything from free Thanksgiving meals and food at Christmas to toys, gifts, and clothing. Most of the programs are focused on children as well as senior citizens in the area, but the terms change by agency.
The demand for any type of assistance is very high, and only a small number of requests will be fulfilled. Also, the application period for both Thanksgiving and the free Christmas programs are usually available during the early fall months and items are first come and served, so apply for help early.
What may be available in Hennepin or Ramsey County, as well as nearby areas, will vary. They rely heavily on donations and volunteers from the community as well, but it can be toys, winter coats, and even free Christmas meals brought to seniors in their home or a nursing site.
Family of Christ Lutheran Church
Address is 16345 Polk Street NE
Ham Lake, Minnesota 55304
The charity has a free Christmas dinner in Anoka County. Meats, ham, toppings, and other items may be served for families.
Franciscan Brothers of Peace
1289 Lafond Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota
Telephone – 651-646-8586
Hot meals, small toys for children (based on donation levels) and other holiday support is available in Ramsey County.
Salvation Army Clearinghouse (formerly Operation Joy)
This can be provided in multiple locations, ranging from Hennepin County to Dakota and other locations. The Salvation Army centers have a variety of social services and items for children, and most of the assistance is for seniors and youth under the age of 14.
The registration period is usually in late October throughout November, as supplies last. There may be items such as free toys, gifts, presents, and meals as well. Other resources include Back to School supplies, winter coats, and more.
WeCAN - Western Communities Action Network
5213 Shoreline Drive
Mound MN 55364
Main phone – 952-472-0742
Referrals may be provided to Adopt a Family and other programs.
Christmas Adopt a Family or Senior Programs, and Donations - Metro area
501 East Highway 13 Suite 102
Burnsville, MN 55337
This charity helps low income people in Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley, Farmington, Rosemount, Lakeville, and Randolph.
Holiday Meals on Wheels
Free food is for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It is for the homebound, elderly, and disabled that meet income and poverty guidelines. It operates in Bloomington, Edina, Richfield and part of south Minneapolis in both Ramsey and Hennepin County.
YMCA of The Greater Twin Cities
Location is 2125 East Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Meals, shelter, and help for the homeless.
Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People - VEAP
1845 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407
Programs include holiday, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly, birthday celebrations, and free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, including Turkeys and the like.
Another center is at 9600 Aldrich Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55420.
Christmas Committee and Toys for Joy
PO Box 755
Anoka, MN 55303
Phone Number – (763)323-4982
The non-profit charity has Christmas items and goods. Cities include Anoka, Bethel, Blaine, Wyoming, Burns, Cedar, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Andover, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Oak Grove, Ramsey, Saint Francis, and Stacey.
House of Charity
714 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
No applications are needed. A free Christmas meal is served on the 25th from 10:30 to 11:30. Anyone can stop by for holiday food, including Dakota or Hennepin County families. Kids may be given small toys or stockings with some candy as well.
Toys for Tots of Minneapolis area
There are donations of new, wrapped presents from the community. Businesses, individuals, and charities may provide free toys, winter clothing, gifts, bicycles, and more for children under the age of 13. The USMC is also a partner. Application sites include the following, and low income families can also apply online. Or get more referrals to holiday help.
St. Stephens Church
2123 Clinton Avenue South
Volunteers may have goods and items.
Union Gospel Mission
435 University Avenue
For holiday assistance, dial 651-292-1721.
Hot meals, referrals, and Thanksgiving or Christmas help for families in poverty.
Columbia Heights Police Department - Anoka County
Address is 825 41st Avenue NE
Columbia Heights, Minnesota 55421
Phone Number is (763)706-8113
Small gifts, toys, and presents for children and teens.
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