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Find free holiday help in Winnebago County.

Low income families in Rockford can get help during the holidays. Whether it is free Christmas gifts (toys, clothes, games, etc.) for their kids, Christmas or Thanksgiving meals, or food from a Winnebago County pantry, assistance is available. The primary places to apply at, as well as the phone numbers and addresses, are listed below.

These services are meant to help parents (or single moms/dads) that are struggling financially. Maybe they can’t afford a gift or food for their family during the holiday. Or maybe the parent is sick or had an unexpected expense. In either case, charities, churches, and non-profits may provide free Christmas gifts.

Other support is arranged too. Some agencies may deliver meals to the elderly, serve a turkey dinner to the poor or homeless, and offer other support. When applying for help, bring photo I.D. for the head of the household, proof of birthday as well as address and information on all people in the household.

Rockford area Toys for Tots
This program generally only assists applicants from newborn to age 11. A once per year distribution occurs. There will be free Christmas toys, games, gifts, clothes, gift certificates, and other items given to struggling parents with young children. Apply or more information at

Salvation Army of Winnebago County
The faith based charity normally helps over 1000 families each year. There may be free Christmas gifts, food for a holiday meal, turkey dinners, and more. They also run the Angel Tree program with local businesses and employers, and give an uptick in the amount of financial aid paid out during the winter. Winnebago County Salvation Army Office is at 520 Hollister Avenue, Rockford, Illinois 61104. Call 815-962-7195. Or another option is Salvation Army Tabernacle at 210 North Kilburn Avenue. Continue with Salvation Army Winnebago County assistance programs.

PATH referrals
Residents can get the latest on who is serving a holiday meal, where the Adopt a Family or child Christmas assistance programs are open and more. Everything from free Christmas presents to winter attire, games, books, and more may be available to struggling residents. Dial (888) 865-9903.





Some referrals and holiday food, ingredients and the toppings may be offered from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockford (555 Colman Center Drive, Rockford, Illinois 61125 (phone (815) 399-4300 or 815-544-5434) or dial God’s Glory Food Pantry at 815-580-8184.

By Jon McNamara

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