Holiday Giving: Support Iowa City Nonprofits and Organizations

It’s the season of giving! Now is the time to get involved with a local charity or nonprofit. Giving back can be a great way for your whole family to have fun together, and it’s never too soon to teach our kids they can make a big difference in the lives of others. Read this post to learn how you can support Iowa City area nonprofits and organizations.

We hope you’ll find something that inspires you during this season of giving! Special thanks to The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate for making this guide possible.

A graphic promoting nonprofits and organizations to support during the holidays.Food

Being hungry is one of the needs that kids understand best. Your family can get involved in helping make sure no one in our community goes hungry this holiday season.

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

CommUnity Crisis Serves and Food Bank, formerly known as the Johnson County Crisis Center, offers Project Holiday and donates free holiday meals to families who are struggling this season. Contact the organization to learn how you can help amid the pandemic or donate online.

Coralville Community Food Pantry

Visit the Coralville Community Food Pantry website to learn about the foods most needed now or donate online.

Elder Services

Supporting our seniors feels especially important in 2020 as this age group has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Support Elder Services as it works to deliver food to Meals on Wheels clients. Call 319-338-0515 for more information or make a donation online.

North Liberty Food Pantry:

Visit the North Liberty Food Pantry website to learn about the foods most needed now and to donate online.

Table 2 Table:

Iowa City’s “Christmas Light Street”, aka Sugar Plum Lane, aka Rita Lyn Court, has teamed up with Table to Table this year to help raise money to serve the hungry, homeless and at-risk populations – at a time when it’s needed more than ever. Take a drive down Rita Lyn Court, check out the Christmas lights, and look for the Table to Table signs on how to Venmo donations to this great organization! Venmo @Table2table


This is another important need — for both people and pets!

Shelter House

The need for emergency services doesn’t stop during a pandemic. Shelter House needs both monetary and esential item donations. Visit the Shelter House website to learn how to make a contribution today.

Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center

Don’t forget our furry friends! The Iowa City animal shelter provides emergency care and shelter for homeless animals in the Iowa City area. You can help by donating to the center’s fundraising nonprofit, Friends of the Animal Center Foundation.

Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP)

Cases of domestic abuse are up due to the ongoing pandemic. Many victims and survivors are unable to stay with family and friends due to COVID-19 and are instead seeking shelter services, this includes Iowa City’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP).

DVIP says it has spent about 75 percent more on emergency shelter funds in 2020 compared to 2019. You can help by making a monetary donation, or by providing essential items.

Holiday Gifts for Children in Need

Help make the holidays special for children in our community — no matter their income.

Johnson County Toys for Tots

Learn how you can help both virtually and in-person this holiday season through toy drives and fundraising initiatives.

IC Holiday Toy Redistribution

Donate gently used toys to make the holidays brighter for children in the Iowa City community. The mission of this organization is two fold — helping children in need, while also keeping toys out of the landfill. Learn how to donate by visiting the project’s website.

Hospitals and Healthcare

Iowa City area hospitals and health systems are overwhelmed due to COVID-19. Consider making a donation to support them and their staffs this holiday season.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC)

You can make a monetary donation to the hospital or give gift cards to doctors, nurses, and other essential staff. Please note all items must be bought new. There are restrictions because of the pandemic. View all of the donation options.

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

You can help by making a donation to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The hospital says a financial contribution is the most direct and impactful way to help. However, you can also purchase new toys from its Amazon child life wish list. No handmade or homemade items are being accepted currently due to the pandemic. View all of the donation options.

Ronald McDonald House

Sign up to make a meal, purchase and item off of the wish list, or make a financial donation. Extra precautions are in place due to COVID-19.

Military and Veterans

Our military service men and women have done so much for us — we can do a little for them and say thank you.

Operation Gratitude

You and your children can write letters of appreciation to new recruits, active military, or veterans. Holiday letters need to be sent a few month in advance, but letters of appreciation are accepted all year.

VA Hospital

Show your support for Iowa City area veterans by making a donation to the Iowa City VA.

Salvation Army 

Bell Ringers

The red kettles will see less activity this year due to increased online shopping amid the COVID-19 crisis. Consider making a donation to the Iowa City Online Red Kettle. If you still want to ring a bell, you can sign-up, but note the extra COVID-19 precautions.

Arts and Live Theater

The pandemic has been damaging to the local arts scene. You can help ensure the Iowa City area remains a vibrant, cultural hub by supporting our performing arts institutions. Several organizations are accepting donations.

The Englert and FilmScene

The Strength. Grow. Evolve. capital campaign is in its final stretch. Funds to the $6 million fundraising initiative support Iowa City’s historic Englert Theatre as well as the local, nonprofit movie theater, FilmScene. These organizations have had to pause shows and performances and instead offer limited virtual programming due to COVID-19.

Hancher Auditorium

Hancher, the University of Iowa’s premier performance venue, is also feeling the impact of the pandemic. The Iowa Board of Regents announced earlier this year Hancher would need to move to a self-sustaining funding model. This news comes as in-person performances have been stalled and moved to a virtual format. Learn how you can support Hancher this holiday season.

We hope supporting Iowa City area nonprofits and organizations is on your holiday to-do list. Do you know of another great Iowa City area service opportunity? Leave a comment and let us know!

This is a sponsored post. ICM was compensated for sharing this piece. However, we love connecting our readers with people and organizations that are doing good in our community, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!

About Our Sponsor

A photo of the Urban Acres Bails TeamHiring The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan, Matt VandeBerg, and Briley McAtee. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate.
If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them Iowa City Moms sent you!

More 2020 Holiday Cheer

Check out ICM’s Iowa City Area Guide to Family Holiday Activities for a jam-packed listing of virtual and in-person holiday events and celebrations in 2020.

Where to see or Zoom with Santa in the Iowa City area

Don’t miss out on a visit with Santa in 2020! Visit ICM’s Santa Sightings guide to learn where you can see the big man in-person or schedule a visit over Zoom.

christmas lights displays in the Iowa City area2020 has been frightful, but taking a drive to see Christmas lights can be the perfect, cozy activity to do with your family during the dark evenings leading up to Christmas. Check out this list of Iowa City area Christmas lights displays.


Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


  1. Hello! I work with Antelope Lending Library and we would love to be included on any future lists like that.

    Antelope Lending Library is an independent, non-profit bookmobile library working to overcome barriers and provide full and equal access to information and ideas in our community. All materials are lent on a no-fees basis, so access is always free, no matter what.

    We have weekly summer services and travel all over Johnson County to bring books to communities that may not be able to make it to the downtown library. The remainder of the year we provide monthly services in these neighborhoods, and even bring our services right to the front doors of people who need it most.

    Thanks for considering us for a future list.

    Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions,



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