Each year around the holidays, nonprofits, faith-based communities and community partners come together to contribute to holiday joy for the most needy in our community. Programs range from holiday meals (like yesterday’s Feast of Sharing, put on by H-E-B) and food boxes to holiday gifts for children. And whether you’re in need of these resources or you’d like to contribute, you can just call 2-1-1, a service of our Navigation Center, to connect to up-to-date information about these holiday assistance programs.
In Travis County, holiday gift programs are provided by The Salvation Army Social Service Center, Operation Blue Santa, which is operated by the Austin Police Department, and Brown Santa, run by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. The programs match individuals and families in need with organizations and individual sponsors who provide holiday meals, toys and gifts. For many area children, these are the only toys they will receive all year.
In addition to providing holiday assistance information through 2-1-1, the United Way Navigation Center publishes calendars each year that include free or low-cost Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in Central Texas. The calendars are used by area nonprofits, like the Capital Area Food Bank. 2-1-1 also provides information on holiday volunteer opportunities each year. Just last week, 2-1-1 received a call from a woman who had received assistance from the Christmas Bureau in the past and said that because she is in a better place in her life this year, she wanted information on how to volunteer to help others in need.
For information on how to volunteer during the holidays or receive holiday assistance, dial 2-1-1 and select option 1.
Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.