As the department stores in Madison are reminding us, it’s never too early to start thinking of the winter holidays. Retail aside, it’s even more important to get an early start on holiday volunteer opportunities.

Of course, Toys for Tots can always use a new, unwrapped toy to distribute to Dane County’s kids during the holidays. But there are other ways to give back to the community as well.


Operation Christmas Spirit

The annual holiday project of Operation Help a Hero, Operation Christmas Spirit is celebrating 15 years of helping military families during the holidays. And, they offer several ways you can help:

See Operation Christmas Spirit’s website for more ways to help.


Middleton Outreach Ministry

MOM’s holiday programs start now. Get involved with ensuring local families have a hot Thanksgiving meal by donating to the Thanksgiving Program.

The Sharing Christmas program is another that you may be interested in. It’s similar to the popular “Adopt a Family” holiday programs in which donors are matched with local families who can’t afford gifts at Christmas. There is a deadline to register as a donor (November 17), so jump on this one quickly if you’re interested.


Goodman Center

For the 29th year, the Goodman Center will be packing and delivering Thanksgiving Baskets to those in need. You can help by donating a frozen turkey, jars of gravy, canned vegetables and fruit and more. Learn more about their needs online ag



Porchlight’s goal is to decrease the homeless population in Dane County. They provide housing and services that help empower their residents. At the holidays, they need extra help and hope that you’ll consider becoming a Porchlight Angel and sponsoring an individual or family to receive the only gift they may receive during the season.

Get details by emailing the Porchlight Angel coordinator at


The Road Home Dane County

The Road Home also serves Dane County’s homeless, primarily families with children. Once the homeless family has found housing, they typically end up paying between 80 to 90 percent of their income toward rent. That leaves little leftover for life’s necessities. This is where you can help.

The Wish List items include:

  • Paper towels and toilet paper
  • Diapers
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Personal care items, such as body wash, deodorant, shampoo razors, feminine care products and more.

Get the entire list and learn more about how you can help at


Neighborhood House Community Center

Madison’s Neighborhood House Community Center sponsors a number of programs that need your help over winter.

  • Sponsor a family for a thanksgiving meal – learn more, here
  • Winter Wear Drive – Donate new winter coats, gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves.
  • Holiday Gift Drive

Learn about how you can help by calling 608-255-5337.


YWCA Madison

YWCA in Madison hopes that you will consider adopting a family this holiday season. If you can’t do that, please consider donating the goods they’ll need to wrap the gifts, such as wrapping paper, bows and tape. Learn more by calling Marcella Ziegler at 608-257-1436.


Badger Childhood Cancer Network

Every fall, the Badger Childhood Cancer Network kicks off their adopt-a-family program. It pairs generous Madison donors with families who have a child on intensive cancer treatment. The parents will give you ideas on what to get their child and then you do the shopping. Learn more online at



Posted by Jolenta Averill on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.