New York City free Christmas assistance.

Families across New York City can find help at Christmas. There are a number of non-profit organizations that are involved in collecting toys from the public and then redistributing the free Christmas gifts to low income families, senior citizens, immigrants or those that are struggling. Charities operate across Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island as well as the Bronx. Based on resource levels they may offer free toys, presents, games, and more.

The focus of these agencies is on helping children from working poor families as well as the homeless. Other clients may be senior citizens or the homebound that live in New York City. However anyone can apply for assistance at Christmas and there is no discrimination based on age, race, or religion. What may be provided includes small presents. There may be toys for girls or boys, games, winter clothing attire, food baskets, and stockings full of goodies.

The Christmas programs normally have an application process that begins in late summer or the fall months. New York City income qualified families are assisted on a first come and served basis, as the charities do rely on volunteers and donations. While not everyone will qualify for help at the holidays, the goal is to assist as many people as possible.

Salvation Army centers
These are located across the New York City area and are in all boroughs, including the Bronx. The main holiday programs range from free toys from Adopt a Family or Angel Tree to Christmas meals. Volunteers will often visit seniors or the disabled in nursing homes as well to bring them some Christmas joy. Locate assistance from NYC Salvation Army.

Toys for Tots
This is offered across the city. Charities, churches, and also many Police and Fire Precincts in all boroughs including Manhattan and Queens, partner with the United States Marine Corps. The groups give new unwrapped toys and gifts, for free, to children from low income families including immigrants. There are also non-profits in the Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn that are part of the free Toys for Tots assistance program. They may have free toys, books, winter boots, food, and more during Christmas. Apply online at





Community Mayors
Call (908) 268-9016
A holiday program known as Operation Santa Claus can provide free items to children that are disabled or have a mental challenge.

Catholic Charities NYC
Several churches take part in this network. Various social services are available. There may be Thanksgiving or free Christmas meals or celebrations held at a soup kitchen. Children, including single moms with kids, may be given coats or small toys as well. The main Christmas assistance program is known as St. Nicholas Project. Read more New York City Catholic Charities.

New York Cares - Winter wishes programming
Donations are collected from businesses, individuals, and fund raisers. Requests for assistance are screened and a small gift may be provided to New York family. Clients include teenagers, infants, unemployed parents, and entire families.

Partnership for the Homeless
Phone - 212-645-3444
Only assists the homeless in New York City. There is a December party in which assistance, including a warm holiday meal, is available.

Food Bank of New York City
While the focus is on meals, including at Thanksgiving and Christmas, there may be referrals to other holiday resources, churches, or local charities.

Non-profit referral service
This may be the primary place to call for support. Residents across New York City can dial 311 to get information on various social services. This also includes Christmas food baskets, toy programs, places for meals or trees, and other support. There are databases on churches, soup kitchens, and various adopt a family Christmas type programs.

Queens Chronicle Toy Drive
Telephone - (718) 205-8000
Based on donation levels, there may be free Christmas goods for needy families.





New York City Clothing Bank
Main number is (718) 492-4015
Clothing, toys, and more is for low income families and those living in poverty. This includes free toys, gift cards, books and more during the Christmas holiday.

Coalition for Homeless
Phone: 212-776-2000
The non-profit may help thousands of homeless children each year during the Christmas season. There may be dolls for girls, trucks for boys, free winter hats, coats, or gloves for adults, and much more.


By Jon McNamara

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