As the holiday season comes, we often think about those less fortunate than ourselves, including children.

Last year, we launched United for the Holidays , our toy drive for children between 0 to 18 years old. When we first launched the toy drive, we planned to help 300 children receive toys and books. However, as the season progressed and as the news traveled through word of mouth, we ended up serving more than 600!

This year, our goal is to start with 600 children, and with your help as donors and volunteers, we can surpass expectations again!

This year, in addition to serving families who use services provided by our Community Partners, such as Catholic Charities, UF Healthy Families, and others, we are adding in some Alachua County Public Schools. Those schools are Metcalfe Elementary School, Rawlings Elementary School, Terwilliger Elementary School, Howard Bishop Middle School and Kanapaha Middle School.

But how can you help us this year for United for the Holidays? You can help through three ways:
  • Collecting and donating new, unwrapped, nonviolent toys, games and puzzles. Donate as an individual, or get your coworkers or employees to help by hosting a drive at your workplace.
  • Volunteering your time to help pack the toys. We pack gifts not only by age, but by gender and race. This is to ensure that the gifts are as special and relevant to the child as possible!
  • Donating funds to purchase gifts for infants and children ages 9 to 18. These age ranges are usually difficult to pack for due to less toys and gifts in these ages being donated.

If you're interested in helping the children in our community have toys to look forward to, please contact Norinda Yancey, Director of Community Impact, at