‘Tis the season for giving and receiving


The holiday season is a time of joy, excitement, connecting and giving. For families and individuals living in poverty, it can also be a time of increased stress and distress.

The colder weather brings increased costs for both utilities and warm clothing. The excitement, anticipation and expectations that often accompany the holiday season can ramp up the pressure and accentuate feelings of disconnection. Perhaps it is not in fact “the most wonderful time of the year” for many.

Ways you are needed

As the holidays approach, there is both an identified need for community assistance and community members who are willing to give of their time and resources.

The Fort Collins community is fortunate to have several organizations that coordinate and provide support to those in need. Non-profits, faith-based organizations and local services gear up to meet the increased requests for aid, food, warmth, support and comfort over the holidays.

There are seniors and families in need of holiday food boxes, children expecting a visit from Santa and holiday meals that require volunteer preparation and serving. Helping can involve donating your time and energy, adopting a family for the holidays by including “wish list” items on your holiday shopping list and making monetary contributions toward events, efforts and drives that you wish to support.

Ways to give and make a difference

The School of Social Work contacted local organizations involved with their Field Education program in Northern Colorado to ask about their holiday needs.

Here are some ways you can help people in your community this holiday season:

  • If you enjoy baking, cooking, and serving up a special meal for the holidays, Catholic Charities, Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Touchstone Health Partners and Matthews House are in need of volunteers and food donations.
  • Food boxes for families and older adults are greatly needed. House of Neighborly Service, Lutheran Family Services and Disabled Resource Services are some of the organizations assembling and distributing food boxes.
  • Gift cards for stocking stuffers, gifts and food are needed by CASA/Harmony House, Matthews House, Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Wings and Boulder County Housing and Human Services.
  • Adopting a family for the holidays is a generous and much appreciated way to be involved. The Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County, Project Self-Sufficiency and Serve 6.8 at Timberline Church are among those seeking family adopters.
  • Many organizations welcome donations of gifts for children, warm clothing and cold weather gear, including Homeless Gear, Jacob Center, Catholic Charities Larimer County, Matthews House, Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, Wings and Harmony House.

To learn more about how and where your generosity is needed and opportunities that fit with your means and interests, see this list of resources compiled by the School of Social Work.

The local United Way of Larimer County also has giving opportunities.

If you are in need of assistance, the United Way 2-1-1 is an excellent resource. To reach them, dial 2-1-1 or (970) 407-7066 from a home or office phone, via email: connect211@uwaylc.org, or online.

Content provided by Sue Tungate, director of field education, and Mary Carrahar, distance learning field education coordinator, CSU School of Social Work