4 toy drives in Birmingham + how to support local children this season

The most wonderful time of the year. Photo via Thandy Yung on Unsplash

Dr. Seuss said it best: “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” Even though we can all agree the holiday season is about more than material things, bringing a little magic into a child’s life is a wonderful way to celebrate. Here’s how to do it in Birmingham.

1. Santa’s Workshop

presents
Brown paper packages tied up with string… Photo via Samuel Holt on Unsplash
  • Host: YWCA Central Alabama
  • Website
  • Event date: Saturday, December 12

How it works:

Each year, YWCA Central Alabama hosts Santa’s Workshop to help families in need have a happy holiday season. On the day of the event, children get to meet Santa and make gifts and crafts that they can give to parents, teachers, friends and other loved ones.

Meanwhile, caregivers get to “shop” (everything is free) for toys and other gifts to give to their little ones.

How to participate:

2. Toys for Tots

toys
Santa needs all the helpers he can get this year! Photo via Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash
  • Host: Jefferson County Toys for Tots
  • Website
  • Event dates: December 14, 15 and 16

How it works:

In 2019, Toys for Tots supported 12,468 children in Jefferson County, distributing more than 31,233 toys.

This year, the distribution location will be at the Old Earth Fare grocery store at 3230 Galleria Circle, Hoover, AL 35244.

How to participate:

Here at Bham Now, we love supporting Birmingham’s nonprofits and small businesses. When 2020 hit hard, we wanted to make it easier for everyone to do the same. Check out our local nonprofit directory and get info on more than 140 organizations with all kinds of missions.

Want your favorite local nonprofit to be featured in guides like this one? Be sure to send them this form so they can sign up for free.

3. Santa Shoppe

Santa
Bring a little magic to a local child. Photo via @__drz__ on Unsplash
  • Host: The Lovelady Center
  • Website
  • Event dates: Accepting donations now

How it works:

Every year, The Lovelady Center collects new, unwrapped toys/gifts for the women in their program to give to their children for Christmas. Last year, they were able to provide toys to almost 1,000 local children, and this year they hope to serve even more.

How to participate:

4. Sugar Plum Shop

All the festive thing. Photo via @jeshoots on Unsplash
  • Host: Children’s of Alabama
  • Website
  • Event Dates: Now through Monday, Dec. 14

How it works:

Showing a little extra love to the kiddos at Children’s of Alabama is one of our favorite things to do year-round. Staff will not be able to accept in-person gift donations this year at the hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions, but don’t fret—they’re suggesting other options.

How to participate:

  • Shop online at their registry.
  • Make a monetary donation.
  • Want to shop in person? Check out their wish list, then mail gifts to Family Services – SPS, 1201 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL, 35233.
  • You can also drop gifts off at the above location beginning Dec. 1. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-3PM. Shoppers can send an email to SugarPlumShop@childrensal.org to make an appointment for a specific drop-off time.

Bonus: One More Way to Support

Christmas
Photo via Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham is hosting a brand new event this year, and you’re invited. The best part? You don’t have to leave your house.

Grab some takeout and a bottle of wine and join Big Brothers Big Sisters from your couch for the Big Night In. “Littles” in the program will virtually take the stage and perform a one-of-a-kind-show. 

They’ll have can’t-miss live and silent auction packages, and every dollar raised helps Big Brothers Big Sisters continue their mission of creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Do you know of more Birmingham nonprofits in need of support? Be sure to send them this form so we can help get the word out.


  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.