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Free holiday and Christmas programs Escambia and Santa Rosa County.

There are only a few agencies in the Escambia and Santa Rosa County region that offer assistance at Christmas. They provide free toys, presents, and gifts, with most of the aid going to families with children. However there are a few other holiday programs, and they serve meals at Thanksgiving, give out holiday food boxes as well as groceries, and provide other support to the low income or families in a crisis.

While the charities and non-profits support both counties, most of them are based in Pensacola. Applications are accepted anytime from October to as late as December, depending on the organization. However the free gift cards for Christmas, all the toys and gifts, and even food boxes are generally first come – served to those that qualify. Once a holiday assistance program ends no one else can get help. So apply early for Christmas or Thanksgiving support.

Salvation Army of Escambia County
Address is 1501 North Q Street
Pensacola, FL 32505
Phone 850-432-1501 x16
They run the regional Angel Tree program. Applicants need to complete a checklist to register for this free Christmas toy program. Kids can request gifts, games, and more, with the public buying new items for the child. Other holiday programs include free meals at Christmas and Thanksgiving, gift cards, and assistance to seniors. Residents can also shop at the thrift store for low cost goods.

Catholic Charities
Location: 1815 North Sixth Avenue
Pensacola, FL 32503
Call 850-436-6425
They run the ESC Christmas Assistance Program in the area, including Santa Rosa and Escambia County. A limited number of families are approved each week. Donations of clothing, toys, and other Christmas presents are given to free for those that qualify, as resources allow.

USMC Toys for Tots
The service is for kids under the age of 14. New, unwrapped toys are given to families, including Spanish speakers, in Escambia and Santa Rosa County. There may be games, toy trucks, electronics, shoes, clothing and more for a parent to put under the Christmas tree. For information on dates and application sites, dial 211 for details.





Free holiday food and meals programs

Most of the charities below provide food only and/or serve hot meals. They focus on Thanksgiving, but some also operate during Easter or Christmas. Either referrals can be given to Christmas gift programs, or some of the agencies may have small presents for clients…namely children from working poor households in the community.

  • Santa Rosa County Senior Luncheon is held at 5629 Byrom Street, Milton, Florida, 32583, call 850-983-5466. The elderly, homebound, and their spouses are served holiday meals, or volunteers may deliver some.
  • St Joseph Catholic Church – Address: 140 West Government Street, Pensacola, FL, 32501. A food pantry and soup kitchen are on site. Call 850-436-6461.
  • Epps Christian Center – Location is 2202 North Pace Boulevard, Pensacola, FL, 32500. Phone 850-438-3858.
  • Grace Presbyterian Church Food Pantry - 1415 Airport Road, Panama City, FL, 32405. Phone: 850-769-4000.
  • Panama City Fellowship Church of Praise is at 2511 E. 3rd Street, Panama City, Florida, 32401. Call 850-769-5442.

By Jon McNamara

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