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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 through "traditional" gift giving, 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 are not aware that the items they want to donate are not the best fit for what neighbors in poverty really need and can use. To help clarify these questions, please read our Holiday FAQs. As you click on the links below to learn more about shopping for adults and children staying with us, please note the items that are listed for donation and purchase only those. Unfortunately, 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. Following these instructions will help you make the most of the season of giving at UMD!

Buy an adult gift

Read the top gift requests from adult clients.  We try and give each adult the choice of several gifts. There are about 150 people staying in our shelter. If you are able to mobilize a group or want to provide items in larger quantities, please contact Viki Baker ahead of your purchases so that we can monitor our progress in each gift category.

Buy a child a toy

What about toys for the kids? UMD hosts a toy shop for the nine families staying in our shelter. 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.

Do you need wrapping paper and ribbon?

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

Do you need any food items?

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?

Deliver special holiday gifts for adults and children between Nov. 15 and Dec. 3. (Monday-Friday 10am-5:30pm or Saturday between 10am and 1pm).

Ask for Viki or Angela 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!