Although families certainly struggle at all times of the year, there's something about the holiday season that makes living paycheck to paycheck that much more stressful. Because it's difficult — for young children, especially — to understand why Santa is unable to bring them the gifts on their list. Parents who are straining to simply provide the basics, unfortunately, often don't have the wiggle room to make it happen. But there are ways to ensure kids do wake up on Christmas morning with something to unwrap. So here's how to find help for single mothers and families in need this holiday season.
With the holiday season just around the corner, families in need are likely feeling particularly stressed about finances. Because while seemingly everyone else is out holiday shopping, they might be wondering if they'll be able to pay the utility bill, or rent, or make it until the end of the month with enough food to eat. As much as parents in this situation don't want to disappoint their children, gifts are way down there on the priority list — and there probably isn't much hope in sight for their circumstances to change before the holidays arrive. However, there are organizations to which families and single moms can turn for help. Here are a few:
The Angel Tree Church Program
As the name suggests, this program is similar Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. However it happens to be organized by Prison Fellowship Organization, with the goal of helping churches serve the families of incarcerated parents. In short, Angel Tree provides Christmas gifts to children of incarcerated parents "from" the parents themselves — serving a double purpose of strengthening relationships with these children and their families. If you're a single parent and your child's other parent is incarcerated, you can visit their website here, to sign up for the Angel Tree program.
Toys for Tots
Every year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them to children in need at Christmas. (I'm willing to bet you've seen their signature donation boxes at stores or businesses in your community.) If you would like to request a toy for your child, visit the Toys for Tots website, and then locate your nearest local Toys for Tots campaign. From there, you should be able to find contact information for the local campaign coordinator, who can walk you through the request process.
If you're not sure where to turn, reaching out to local churches can be a good starting point, according to SingleMomsIncome.com. These churches will likely be able to point you in the right direction toward an organization that provides Christmas gifts to children (like the ones above). Some might even offer more assistance in the form of hosting free holiday dinners for families. Or, perhaps they hold their own, private toy drives. You never know until you reach out.
The bottom line: Although the holiday season can be particularly tough for families in need, there are organizations that can help. Because every child deserves to be open to open a gift with their name on during the holidays.
After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.