As the economy continues to fight to right itself, many North Central families are still struggling to make ends meet. The added burden of providing even one gift for a child this holiday season may be more than they can afford.

North Central residents who want to help these struggling neighbors have several ways to do so, right in your own back yard.

Desert Mission
Through the Adopt-A-Family program, community members purchase toys and a holiday meal for struggling neighbors; adopters can choose the size of the family they wish to serve. Adopters can then deliver the gifts to them directly or bring them to the Food Bank for the family to pick up. If you can’t do the shopping yourself, you can mail a check to: Desert Mission HAAF, c/o John C. Lincoln Health Foundation, 9100 N. 2nd St., Suite 301, Phoenix, AZ 85020. Contact Mallory Lebovitz at the Foundation office to learn more: 602-331-7856 or For more information about the program itself, visit

Duet: Partners in Health & Aging
Duet is hosting a holiday party on Monday, Dec. 5 for families who participate in its various kinship programs and support groups. These families are comprised primarily of grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren. Duet hopes to find community volunteers to provide one gift to each of the 125 children at the holiday party. Gifts are especially needed for those ages 12-18, and suggested items include movie passes, retail gift cards, bath & shower products, jewelry, and small electronics. Donated gifts can be dropped off at the Duet office, 555 W. Glendale Ave., at the southeast end of the parking lot. Unwrapped gifts should be dropped off no later than Monday, Nov. 24. For more information, call Patricia Dominguez at 602-274-5022, ext. 31 or e-mail

Esperança’s Christmas Angel Program will assist 100 families at the Christown YMCA who are participating in Esperança’s preventive health programming; families have already been pre-selected. Sponsors will receive a “wish list” from the family they are partnered with and can purchase new gifts or make a cash contribution and Esperança staff will do the shopping for the family. Previous sponsors have included companies, churches, clubs, professional organizations and individuals. Gifts will be collected at the Esperança office, 1911 W. Earll Drive, through Dec. 8. For more information, contact Maria Valenzuela at 602-252-7772, ext. 108 or

Phoenix Rescue Mission
For poor and homeless families struggling to make ends meet, Phoenix Rescue Mission hosts an event on Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Shelter Campus, 1801 S. 35th Ave., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public is asked to purchase new, unwrapped toys for children ages birth to 14, as well as small household items and personal gifts for mothers. The gifts will be placed in a “shopping” area, where the children and mothers will “shop” for each other. Other needs included bottled water, blankets and sleeping bags for wintering outdoors. Donations can be dropping off starting Nov. 1 at its donation center, 1468 N. 26th Ave. Sponsors also can drop off gifts from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Shelter Campus. Visit for details or call 602-233-3000.

Other ways to help
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance will hold its sixth-annual Super Saturday Turkey Drive on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Food Bank is anticipating requests for tens of thousands of holiday food boxes. In addition to the goal of 7,000 turkeys St. Mary’s hopes to receive through donations, all other non-perishable food items as well as monetary donations will gladly be accepted. Drop-off locations near Central Phoenix include St. Mary’s Food Bank Stardust Campus, 2831 N. 31st Ave., and Albertson’s, located at 8035 N. 19th Ave. Donors who fill out a form will have the chance to win one of two $500 US Airways vouchers. For more information, visit or call 602-242-FOOD.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission offers two ways to help this month. On Sunday, Nov. 9, drop off a frozen turkey and tour Phoenix Rescue Mission’s shelter at 1801 S. 35th Ave. (south of Buckeye). The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a barbecue lunch. Then on Saturday, Nov. 22, take part in the “Fill-a-Box Feed a Family Turkey Delivery” event, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., also at the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s shelter. Build a Thanksgiving Food Box and then deliver it to a family in need. For more information, call 602-233-3000 or visit


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