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Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota free holiday and Christmas assistance.

Churches as well as charities across the Minneapolis region and nearby counties provide assistance, including free Christmas gifts, to low income families around the holidays. There may be everything from free Thanksgiving meals and food baskets at Christmas to toys, gifts, electronics, or clothing. Most of the programs, including Toys for Tots and Angel Tree, 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. Any free items, toys, or meals 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.

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)
Dial 651-746-3595
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. They also provide free Christmas toys, meal services, as well as the Angel Tree and Adopt a Family program. Most of the assistance is for seniors and youth under the age of 14. More on Salvation Army Minnesota holiday assistance.




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.

  • 1115 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul 55106, call 651-776-8708
  • 2445 Prior Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113, (651)746-3541

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
(952) 888-9616
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.

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly
1845 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407
Main phone: (612)721-6215
The agency hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

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. The charity has a free Christmas dinner in Anoka County. Meats, ham, toppings, and other items may be served for families.

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.

  • Community Emergency Assistance Programs - 7051 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, 55429, Hennepin County residents dial 763-450-3666.
  • Spiritual Rock Outreach Ministries - 6010 65th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, 55429, dial 763-316-8051.
  • Rise Inc. - 3708 Nicollet Ave South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 554409, telephone 651-403-1885.
  • Christmas Committee Inc. - PO Box 755, Anoka, Minnesota, 55303, phone 763-323-4982.
  • Grace and Mercy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ - 14501 Nowthen Boulevard NW, Ramsey, Minnesota, 55303, phone 763-427-4392. They serve Anoka County.
  • Red Lake Nation Embassy- 2929 Bloomington Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55406, 612-874-9588.
  • Southern Anoka Community Assistance is at 627 38th Ave NE, Columbia Heaights, Minnesota, 55421. For hours, call 612-532-1914.
  • The father's house of Carver County. Addresss is 2940 N Chestnut St, Chaska, Minnesota, 55318. Phone 651-243-8687.
  • The CHAP Storeis at 2020 E. HWY 13, Burnsville , Minnesota, 55337. They are in Dakota County, and dial 952-890-8222 for information on Toys for Tots.
  • The Father's House - Burnsville high school, Burnsville, Minnesota, 55337. Phone 651-216-2241.
  • Real Believers Faith Center of Hennepin County is at 2010 Fremont Ave, Minneapolis Minnesota, 55411. For information on free hristmas help, call 763-438-6335.
  • Tabernacle Faith church - 921 Downs Road, Champlin, Minnesota, 55316. Call 763-300-6547.
  • CROSS Toys for Tots is at 12915 Weinand Circle, Rogers, Minnesota, 55374. Dial 763-425-1050.
  • Good in the 'Hood - 2101 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55404. Low income families in Hennepin County can dial 612-217-4003.
  • Grace Apostolic Church - The charity is at 3805 3rd Ave South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55409. The Hennepin County agency can be reached at 612-961-9132.
  • Harvest For Youth Ministries - Phone 952-428-8063.
  • West African Family and Community Services helps people of all faiths. Location is 7200 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, 55429. Telephone number is 612-276-1527.
  • Minneapolis Urban League provides free toys, coats, and more in Hennepin County. Address is 2100 Plymouth Ave North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411. Phone 612-302-3114.
  • New Millennium Academy. Address is 2620 Russell Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411. For information on holiday applications, call 612-377-6260.
  • The Purpose Church - 3001 Russel Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411. Phone 612-968-5197.







St. Stephens Church
2123 Clinton Avenue South
Volunteers may have goods and items.

Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP)
Address is 1605 County Road 101 N
Plymouth, MN, 55447-2708
Call (763) 489-7500
Free Christmas toys and gifts, including at Hanukkah, Christmas, and Eid al-Fitr seasons. They also pass out birth gifts to kids, small toys, and free food boxes.

Southern Anoka Community Assistance
Address is 627 38th Ave NE
Columbia Heights, MN, 55421-3806
(763) 789-2444
The charity gives away freee Christmas toys each year. Kids from low income or families in poverty, single mother run homes, and immigrants often get help. There are also free frozen meals, including turkey dinners, given out during the holidays based on donations.

Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People - VEAP
Another center is at 9600 Aldrich Avenue South,
Bloomington, MN 55420
Programs include holiday, birthday celebrations, some small Christmas toys or gifts, and free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, including Turkeys and the like.

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.

Waconia United Food Shelf
11 Elm St S
Waconia, MN, 55387
(952) 442-3878

Messiah Lutheran Church - Minneapolis
Location is 2400 Park Ave
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55404-3713
(612) 871-8831
Gift cards, games, books, trucks, dolls, clothes, bags, gift-certificates, and many other free Christmas toys or items may be passed out.

Centennial Community Food Shelf
200 Civic Heights Cir
Circle Pines, MN 55014-1788
For information on Holiday Program, call (763) 784-2013





North-Suburban Emergency Assistance Response (NEAR)
Location is 5209 W Broadway Ave
Crystal, Minnesota, 55429-3101
Main number is (763) 533-2836
A few free holiday programs are run. They serve Christmas meals to the needy and low income. Children can get toys or gifts such as mittens, books, bikes, electronics, video games and more. Some Easter baskets too.

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.

By Jon McNamara

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