Getting Your Family Into the “Season of Giving”

It’s the season of giving! For kids, that can mean the season of receiving – getting lots and lots of new toys and games. And that’s wonderful! It’s fun to spoil our kids once a year and make it all seem so magical. But, for many of us at the Iowa City Mom’s Blog, we think it’s so important to teach our kids about giving too, not just getting. Getting involved in a local charity WITH your kids can be a great way have a lot of fun together as a family. And you’ll be teaching them the important lesson that no matter how little they are, they can make a big difference.

Here are a few local charities that really need your help at this time of year. We hope you’ll find something here that inspires you during this season of giving!

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Bringing Some Merry to the Mommies Campaign: Our friends at Iowa Medical Partners are putting together care packages for moms on bed rest due to high-risk pregnancy and mothers of infants in the NICU. Their goal is to bring a little hope and comfort to mamas going through this difficult time! They are looking for monetary donations and donations of items for the care packages. Click here to see what they are still in need of!

Crisis Center of Johnson County: Project Holiday gives free holiday meals to families who are struggling this holiday season. They need volunteers to package and distribute the meals and they need lots of $20 donations to cover the cost of each meal. Donate or sign up to volunteer here.

Domestic Violence Intervention Project: Check out this holiday wishlist for items that would make the holidays extra special for local families served by DVIP.  And, if you’ve got 3-4 hours to help sort items, they’d love to have some volunteers. Click here to learn more.

Elder Services: Give a special gift to seniors and other homebound adults in our community by donating items to the “Home for the Holidays” project. Contact Sandy at [email protected] for details.

Homeless Children’s Trust: This group holds an annual Christmas party for children while parents choose gifts for their children provided by funds from the Trust. Volunteers are needed to coordinate the gift-giving, provide transportation for parents, and act as companion shoppers for parents. Call Deb Oliver at Deb Oliver at (800) 391-1562 to get involved.


The Preemie Project: If your family enjoys crafting, you can make hats, booties, sleepers, and more for newborn babies at local hospitals. Click here to see what’s needed and where to donate.

Salvation Army: You can sign up here to be a bell ringer for Salvation Army in Iowa City. Just make sure you bundle up!

Shelter House: Help our local homeless shelter provide the essentials for people in need. Blankets, pillows, jackets, diapers, bus passes, and cold medicine are a few of the items most needed right now. Check out their list of greatest needs and click here to find out how to donate.

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital: Children’s has a wish list of items that help make hospital stays a little easier on the kids. You and your kids could do a little shopping together to donate and help kids going through a tough time this year.

University of Iowa Hospital: The hospital has many special projects that could use your help. From collecting food for the convenience area, doing a book drive, sending greeting cards or kids artwork, knitting, crocheting, and sewing projects – there are tons of things you can do together as a family or on your own.

VA: Send holiday greeting cards to the VA Hospital to thank local vets for their service. Find details here. Send your cards to Voluntary Service (135), 601 Highway 6 West, Iowa City, IA 52246.

Hopefully the idea of helping one of these great charities makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But, if none of these is quite the right fit for you, visit You can look up volunteer projects by interest area, type of project, zip code and lots more. It’s a great way to find a project that really touches your heart.

Do you know of another great service opportunity? Please leave a comment and let us know!

Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


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