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Help for the Holidays

The best way to help for the holidays is to make a financial donation to Urban Ministries of Durham. You'll enable neighbors to receive the ultimate gifts of food, shelter and a future.

If you want to help make the holidays a special time, please take a moment to learn how best to help (and when it is most helpful to deliver items). The community’s generosity through UMD is amazing between Thanksgiving and the New Year, but sometimes, well-intentioned people want to donate items that aren't what neighbors in poverty really need and can use. Please only contribute the items that are listed, as we can't distribute other "presents" and don’t have the time or resources to store or redirect them during our busiest time of year!

Buy an adult gift

Read the top gift requests from adult clients. Clothing and other practical things. We try and give each adult the CHOICE of several gifts. There are about 150 people staying in our shelter. If we can obtain 150 of each item on our list, then adult clients can pick out one from each category! Thank you for making it a truly special holiday for our residents.

Buy a child a toy

What about toys for the kids? Read how you can contribute to the UMD “toy shop” so parents have the opportunity to shop for their own children’s holiday gifts. After the parents in families staying at UMD shop, we let our adult clients come and pick out a toy for a special child in their life and then we have times for community clients to come “shop.” If you want to help in this way, please refer to and carefully follow the Guidelines for Holiday Giving for Children attached.

Do you need wrapping paper and ribbon?

Yes! And gift bags and scotch tape and gift tags—all appropriate for the season. 

Help with the holiday parties for shelter families and adults 

We hope to again have refreshments, a Santa and elves. And do you have a creative idea—such as a hot cocoa station, pin the carrot nose on the snowman, decorating cookies? Or do you know someone with a good voice who can help with leading a sing-a-long? We are looking for a total of 6 to 8 fun ideas to make the party interactive and give our supporters and clients time to enjoy each other and share some holiday spirit. The party is Saturday, Dec. 15 at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, right around the corner from UMD. Exact times for the parties are still to be determined. Signups are on a first-come basis so be sure to reach out soon to vbaker@umdurham.org if you want to host an activity, volunteer or provide any refreshments. Thank you!

Do you need any food items?

Yes! For the partiesit would be great to have things like veggie tray with dips, fruit salad or fruit kabobs, pizza, sub sandwiches in one inch pieces, chicken wings or tenders, holiday treats, etc. For the Food Pantry, we would LOVE to offer clients eggs, coffee in small quantities, baking items (flour, sugar, cake and muffin mixes, etc.), canned fruit, cranberry sauce, stovetop stuffing, hamburger helper type meals, scalloped or instant mashed potatoes, rice, cookies, crackers, canned hams, "miscellaneous" vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, mixed veggies, collards, spinach.

Do you need me to tell you in advance what I am donating or doing?

Yes! In order to plan, and let others know if a need has been filled and what else they can help with, PLEASE email Viki Baker in advance and let her know what you are planning to do and when!

When should items be dropped off?

Due to the high volume of donations we receive at this time of year, we ask you to try and follow this preferred schedule:

1.    Deliver “regular" donations between 11am and 5pm Monday through Friday or Saturday between 10am and 1pm.

2.    Deliver SPECIAL holiday requested items:

a.    Between Nov. 19 and 30 during the times listed above.

b.    Let Viki Baker know in advance what and how much you are planning to deliver.

Ask for Gin, Angela or Penny when you arrive OR tell the receptionist what you have brought is specifically for the holidays!

Questions? Coordinating a delivery? PLEASE CONTACT: Viki Baker, vbaker@umdurham.org; 919-682-0538 ext. 125

Thank you for helping to make this holiday season one that is fun and full of joy to those in need!