Helping Hands for the Holidays

Helping Hands for the Holidays

Every year, we put together a list of great local charities just ahead of the holiday season — in the spirit of giving thanks and giving back — but this year, the situation is more dire.

Between Covid-19 and the hurricanes, even more people in Louisiana are in need of assistance — and many charitable organizations are struggling with their fundraising efforts. So, whether you want to lend a helping hand, or are in need of assistance, please check out the list below.

Though many organizations have been unable to host their big annual fundraising events or accept volunteer assistance, due to the pandemic, financial support is always accepted!

*Noteworthy Resource: NOLA Ready has gathered together in one place multiple agencies and non-profits that can help residents who are in need of access to food/meal distribution, legal advice, rent/mortgage assistance, homeless shelter information, and more, in the wake of covid and the hurricanes. It’s an excellent resource for those who want to help, as well as those in need. 





Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank leads the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response — and their services have been more vital than ever in the wake of the multiple hurricanes and the pandemic. They provide food and support to 700+ community partners and programs across 23 parishes. While food donations are always welcome, the most efficient way to give is a financial donation. With every dollar donated, you help provide FOUR meals for a family in need. Plus, $0.97 of every dollar donated goes directly to programs that feed the hungry. There are also volunteer and food drive opportunities for those who want to support them in other ways.


United Way of Southeast Louisiana

This organization identifies, assesses, and monitors the most pressing needs in our region. Then, they fund programs, support collaborations, convene experts, advocate for change, and foster new and needed community services to address the issues based on best practices. People can support this endeavor to provide quality health and human services for our community by donating funds or contacting the HandsOn Volunteer Center to discover the many programs, projects, and resources that need the time and efforts of individuals.



ACCESS, which stands for adapting and changing children’s environment with successful solutions, raises funds to provide financial grants to families of children Southeastern Louisiana and the Gulf South Region with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and autism.These grants are used to purchase adaptive equipment, assistive devices, home/car/van modifications, and other interventions that are not covered by private insurance and/or Medicaid. The organization hosts its annual fundraiser BooFest at Halloween, but they also accept individual donations and sponsorships.


Families Helping Families

Families Helping Families works to provide the individualized services, information, resources, and support needed to positively enhance the independence, productivity, and inclusion of local individuals with disabilities. To maintain their endeavors, like their lending library, adult program, education, and health services, they are dependent on the commitment and support of community members who can choose from a broad array of volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. New Orleans: Northshore:





Boys Hope Girls Hope

Boys Hope Girls Hope is a nonprofit agency that helps children-in-need realize their full potential through education. It is the goal of this organization to help children and young people in their care to complete a college education, then put their education to work for the benefit of others, including their families and communities. This 100% privately funded organization’s annual fundraising events are critical to maintaining the housing and care that their scholars depend on for future success. While the pandemic forced them to cancel their Fall 2020 Tennis Tournament fundraiser, they hope to host a condensed version in early 2021. They also welcome cash donations via their website.


Bridge House / Grace House 

This organization provides long-term residential treatment to help individuals who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol lead sober and productive lives. Priority is given to pregnant women. They typically host multiple fundraising events — including a fall golf tournament and a March for Recovery — throughout the year, but the pandemic has pushed most of them back to 2021. To support this group, individuals can volunteer for their fundraising events, or in the meantime, donate cash, vehicles, or thrift items.


Children’s Hospital of New Orleans

Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit pediatric medical center offering a complete range of healthcare services for children from birth to 21 years, is the only free-standing full-service hospital exclusively for children in Louisiana and the Gulf South. The hospital is happy to receive in-kind or non-monetary donations throughout the year, and toys, clothing, toiletries and other appropriate items are greatly appreciated, as well. Due to infection control policies, all donated items should be brand new and in original packaging. Information on donations and Amazon wish lists is available on the website.


Covenant House

Covenant House is on the front lines of the pandemic, serving as the last line of defense for our community’s most vulnerable young people. They are now caring for over 220 youth and children – the most in their history. There are multiple ways to contribute to this organization, which provides food, clothing, shelter, and comprehensive services to youth, most of whom are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic and/or street violence, and the resulting trauma that often leads to substance abuse, mental health issues, and more. In addition to their need for volunteers and monetary donations, Covenant House has an online Gift Catalog that allows you to choose items you’d like to purchase for homeless kids. Their annual Sleep Out fundraising event is taking place on November 19, and they’re offering a “sleep in” virtual option, due to the pandemic.


Delivering Hope

The main service provided by this organization is the delivery of specially created care packages to families of newborns in neonatal care at hospitals in the New Orleans area. These packages contain items that are particularly useful to these families to aid in family bonding, care for parents or siblings, and to provide a sense of normalcy during this hectic time. Packages are delivered to 10 hospitals in May in celebration of Parents of Preemie day, in December to celebrate the holiday season, and throughout the year, upon request. Those who wish to support this organizations can choose to donate online, become a member, or join a committee. 


Hotel Hope

This organization’s mission is to keep homeless families together and move them from homelessness to self-sufficiency through a three stage service model that involves providing crisis intervention services, residential stability, and help in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Those wishing to support Hope House can either do so with a financial donation, by participating in one of the fundraising events hosted by their charity partners, or see their Amazon Wish List for items currently needed.


New Orleans Mission

The New Orleans Mission provides food, shelter, clothing and spiritual guidance to the city’s homeless, hurting and hungry. Their commitment is backed by the financial support of generous local residents, churches, organizations and corporate donors, but they are always looking for volunteers to help in their efforts. Groups, families and individuals can bring food to impoverished areas or serve breakfast, lunch or dinner at the mission. Coming up on November 20, they’re hosting a fundraising gala at their Lynhaven Retreat in Hammond.


New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter

The largest shelter for homeless families in the metro area, New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter has served more than 3000 women, men and children since 2007. In fact, two-thirds of the people we serve are children and their services go much deeper than shelter and meals. An average of 80-85% of the families they’ve helped have transitioned to sustainable, independent living. In addition to a financial donation, those who want to support them can volunteer, donate items, or make a planned gift.


NOLA Ready

This resource has gathered together in one place tons of agencies and non-profits that are offering help to residents who are in need of access to food/meal distribution, legal advice, rent/mortgage assistance, homeless shelter information, and more, in the wake of covid and the hurricanes.


Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Dept Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanks to the generous support of their sponsors, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office plans to deliver about 2,500 individually packaged meals to senior living facilities on Thanksgiving Day. Due to the pandemic, OPSO this year is foregoing the large in-person gathering at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in favor of safely delivering meals. Meal deliveries will be handled by a cadre of OPSO deputies, but they also need some volunteer help. A call for volunteers – along with clear COVID-19 guidelines for becoming an OPSO Thanksgiving Day Celebration volunteer — will be posted on the OPSO website. Updates will be provided as they become available. 


Raintree Children & Family Services 

This organization’s mission is to provide needed services to at-risk children and youth in New Orleans area parishes, encouraging hope and creating opportunities for growth and independent lives. Those wishing to contribute can volunteer individually or as a group, or donate money or an item from the online wishlist.


Saul’s Light Foundation

Saul’s Light is dedicated to providing support and community to bereaved families and those with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This support is provided in three ways: NICU support, bereavement support, ongoing connections to community. There are many ways you can make a difference to bereaved and NICU families in New Orleans by donating, volunteering, or partnering with their organization.


Volunteers of America 

VOA of Greater New Orleans has been serving the most vulnerable since the 1890s, when they started helping indigent women and children. Today, they sponsor a wide variety of programs that assist children, families, seniors, veterans and persons living with disabilities in 16 parishes in south Louisiana. Of course, they accept donations throughout the year, and there are always youth mentoring programs that are in need of volunteers, but they’re also currently gearing up for their annual Christmas Wish Project to spread some holiday cheer to those in need this season.





Child Advocacy Center – Hope House

This independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes by providing a path to recovery and a bridge to justice for victims of abuse. The CAC’s facility, Hope House, provides a warm, non-threatening environment for child victims to share their story, and receive professional support services to help with the healing process. The public can support this organization by donating funds, volunteering at events and fundraisers, or participating in the Men Who Cook fundraiser now through November 8. There’s also a raffle to win an antique car, now through December 31.


Slidell Community Thanksgiving Dinner 

Last year, this event fed over 800 people. This year, Aldersgate United Methodist Church will continue to offer Thanksgiving Day meal delivery and meal pickup for those who order ahead of time, but the dine-in option will not be available. There will be a great need for delivery drivers this year for those who want to help out. Call the church to sign up to distribute or receive meals. 985-641-5829


Northshore Food Bank 

Northshore Food Bank provides food assistance to more than 400 individuals and families each week who live at or below the federal poverty guidelines and have found themselves in need within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. In addition to distributing food, they also offer additional key ministries, including their Resale Shop. During Thanksgiving time, Northshore Food Bank provides to eligible participants during their regular distribution a special holiday food box filled with items needed to prepare a traditional holiday meal at home.


Our Daily Bread Food Bank of Tangipahoa Parish

Our Daily Bread is a local food bank that has faithfully served the disadvantaged of Tangipahoa Parish for the past 18 years, and has grown to assisting 2,000 families each month.  Their commercial kitchen and dining area provides over 600 hot meals to the community each week, and last year they distributed 1.5 million pounds of food. In addition to their traditional food bank role, they are committed to aiding in disaster relief efforts both local and nationally.


STARC of Louisiana

STARC provides individuals with disabilities in St. Tammany and four surrounding parishes, with a lifetime of Services, Training, Advocacy, Resources and Community Connections. Their programs and services in early intervention, day care, respite care, work training, vocational employment, home care and residential living help move individuals through a life-long process toward greater well-being and independence.