Holiday Cheer brightens the holidays of children and seniors in need by matching them with community sponsors who provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals or gifts. This program provides an opportunity for a personal relationship between the sponsor and their Holiday Cheer family.
The annual project begins in late October when social workers will nominate eligible families and lasts until mid-December when gifts are distributed.
Request help through Holiday Cheer
Individual families are not permitted to sign themselves up for Holiday Cheer. All participants must be nominated to the project by their social worker or case manager during the last week in October.
Families who are eligible to be nominated by their social worker must:
- Have a child under the age of 12 living in the home full time; or
- Have a senior over age 60 living in the home full time; and
- Actively receive a service or benefit from Wake County Health & Human Services; and
- Have a household income at or near poverty level
Families who are chosen to participate will be contacted by their social worker by November 1. Families who are not chosen will not be contacted.
Families who are not chosen to participate in Holiday Cheer can seek assistance through the NC 211 Community Database.
Additional Resources for families
Pride for Parents
Pride for Parents is an annual toy and gift sale designed to benefit hard working families during the holidays. Through donations of new and gently used toys and gifts we offer quality merchandise to families at a deeply discounted price.
Salvation Army Angel Tree
The Salvation Army Angel Tree program helps provide Christmas presents to families who are in financial need with children up to 12 years old.
I was nominated to Holiday Cheer, but my information has changed.
If you were notified by your social worker that your family was chosen to participate, but now your contact information has changed, please let us know right away. Contact Aryn Banks at 919-231-5549 or Aryn.Banks@wakegov.com.
Participating families who cannot be located in a timely manner will be replaced with a family from our waiting list. We must do this for the benefit of families and sponsors to ensure that gift distribution happens on schedule.
I want to sponsor a family for the holidays
Individuals, families, faith groups, service organizations and business can all participate in sponsoring one or more families in need.
Once your sponsorship application is received, you will be matched with a family who most closely resembles your giving preferences.
There is no deadline to become a sponsor. However, an early application increases the chances that we can match your preferences more closely.
Sponsors will be responsible for contacting their Holiday Cheer family and making arrangements for a mutually convenient time to deliver the gifts you've purchased and wrapped.
While there is no minimum required to participate, we strongly encourage potential sponsors to consider their budget. Families can range in size from one adult to families with 10 children, and sponsors report spending an average of about $75 per person.
Children and seniors who were nominated to the project are the main priority, but you may also purchase gifts for other family members if your budget allows.
This year, we have urgent needs for sponsors who:
- speak Spanish,
- will sponsor families in rural Wake County, or
- will sponsor clients in our Adult Protective Services and Adult Guardianship programs (adults 18+ with cognitive disabilities and no family support).
I want to volunteer with Holiday Cheer
Since sponsors wrap and deliver their purchases to the match families, there is no need for regular volunteers. However, there are times when we may request the help of special volunteers to deliver gifts to client families whose anonymity must be protected.
We also welcome professionals who would like to donate their time or services to our Health & Human Services families, including hair stylists and cosmetologists, home and auto repair, housekeeping, child care and veterinary services. If you see a need for your professional services, please feel free to suggest an idea that isn’t listed.
I want to make a financial donation
We gratefully accept tax-deductible financial contributions that will be turned into practical items for needy families, such as gift cards for gas, groceries and household items.
We also accept gift cards for stores like Food Lion, Wal-Mart, Target and gas stations.
Financial contributions can be made online or mailed in.
Checks and other mailable gifts can be sent to:
Holiday Cheer Project
c/o Wake County Health & Human Services
P.O. Box 46833
Raleigh, NC 27620-6833
Project Timeline – Important Project Dates
Holiday Cheer 2021
More information for Holiday Cheer 2021 will be shared closer to the holidays.
- October 2021 - Sponsor applications open
- November/December 2021 - Gift or meal deliveries for Thanksgiving and Christmas