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Ways to serve, volunteer and donate to help your community

There are plenty of ways to serve your community in Maryland coming up: food drives, collections of donations for nonprofits, toy and gift drives, and serving or delivering holiday dinners for those less fortunate.

Help the homeless and needy by volunteering at some of the events or donation drives listed below.

Ways to help the needy, seniors and animals are organized by type of activity or assistance needed:

  • Preparing, serving, delivering meals
  • Food drives or clothing drives
  • Toy drives and children’s hospital donations
  • Shelters and adopting a family
  • Pet shelter needs

Updated 2021

Preparing, serving, delivering food

Help to feed those who cannot afford or are unable to make a meal.

The United Way of Central Maryland – Harvest of Plenty

Through the United Way of Central Maryland, families can help assemble and distribute complete Thanksgiving meals for the needy at dozens of convenient locations throughout the state. Each year, the United Way donates more than 3,000 complete Thanksgiving dinners to families in need, and many local churches and community centers help with this process. If you are unable to volunteer, monetary donations are accepted.
100 S Charles St., Baltimore. 410-547-8000

Catholic Charities of Baltimore

Catholic Charities programs now has in-person, inside volunteer opportunities and in-person outside opportunities. They also have remote and virtual volunteer opportunities. Email volunteer@cc-md.org on how to get involved. If you’d like to help donate money, food or supplies, please see cc-md.org/covid19 or email helpnow@cc-md.org to offer a donation or ask a question about where to deliver a donation.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels, an organization that provides meals to homebound seniors and disabled individuals, needs volunteers to help deliver meals during the holiday season and beyond. Volunteers (ages 14 and up) can serve as many times a month as they like with opportunities in meal delivery, packaging, grocery assistance, donating and pet food delivery. 410-558-0827

Light House Shelter

There are off-site volunteer opportunities including donations of food and supplies, providing a meal through the Light House Bistro, fundraising, and bagged lunches. For questions about volunteering, please email volunteers@annapolislighthouse.org.

We Care and Friends

We Care and Friends, a non-profit organization in Annapolis, is dedicated to creating strong families and communities in areas affected by drugs, poverty, and crime in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. We Care and Friends is a grass-roots organization who depends on volunteers to support outdoor lunch programs, fundraisers, mentoring,  or our reentry program. Check the website for open opportunities and events or email larry@wecareandfriends.org. 410-263-2874

Beans and Bread

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore has multiple ways to deliver meals to those in need, including making volunteer-bagged lunches to deliver to the homeless, serving hot meals for holiday dinners and adopting families for the holidays. For volunteering opportunities, please email volunteer@vincentbaltimore.org.

Happy Helpers for the Homeless

Happy Helpers for the Homeless engages young people, their parents, and community organizations in preparing food and goods for the needy, bringing love and necessities directly to homeless people every weekend, no matter the weather and including holidays. This year, the Thanksgiving Day Distribution will be on Thurs. Nov. 25 from 10:30am-1pm. For more information, please email happyhelpersforthehomeless1@yahoo.com.

Food Drives

Food drives are an easy way to provide nourishment to those who need it most.

Maryland Food Bank

Maryland Food Bank operates facilities in Baltimore, Hagerstown and Salisbury that distribute more than 120,000 meals per day. Donate food, volunteer for pantry organization or begin an online campaign to provide hungry families with a holiday meal this season. Volunteer families can also schedule appointments to help load, pack and sort food at a local branch, or help with administrative work or fundraising efforts. Call the branch nearest to you for specific food needs, or go online to create a food donation campaign for your family.

Feed Anne Arundel
Donate money or volunteer time to Feed Anne Arundel, which originated in the spring of 2020 and has brought together numerous restaurants and donations to keep those in Anne Arundel from going hungry. For more information and ways to help support Feed Anne Arundel, please email feedannearundel@gmail.com.

Anne Arundel Food Bank
Donate food, volunteer for pantry organization or begin an online campaign to provide hungry families with a holiday meal this season. The Anne Arundel Food Bank collects food and goods to distribute through local pantries and on-site feeding agencies that receive food to distribute to those in need in our county.

Feed it Forward at Bread and Butter Kitchen
At Bread and Butter Kitchen, you can purchase gift cards for $15, (which would cover the cost of a full meal & drink), & gift cards would be distributed to those in need, distributed to several local organizations including, Eastport Elementary School, St. Luke’s Food Pantry, the Office of Emergency Management, Homeless Outreach Coordinators, and the local police department. The best part of the program is that it supports the community and the small business.

Clothing Drives

During these cold months, donate your warm winter clothes to those who consider a coat a luxury.

Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy

GBLL is an all volunteer, 501(C)3 non-profit based in Anne Arundel County, Maryland whose Christmas Drive to Help the Homeless delivers over 20 truck loads of clothing annually to homeless shelters in the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, DC on Christmas Eve. GBLL will be collecting coats, hats, gloves, new/gently used warm clothing all ages/both genders, sleeping bags, blankets, toys, travel size toiletries, new underwear and baby items such as diapers, baby seats, clothes and formula, and non-perishable food items.

One Warm Coat

Ask your family to round up their old, gently-worn coats to donate to needy and homeless children, women, and men who cannot afford them all across Maryland. For some of those in poverty, a winter spent without a coat is a harsh reality. Visit the website to find the closest donation center near you. Monetary donations are also accepted—just $1 provides two coats. 877-663-9276

Call for Coats

Admiral Cleaners collects coats every October and November for those in need. Our team then cleans these coats and donates them to numerous local charitable organizations. Over the last three decades, we have donated over 100,000 coats. To donate a coat, or coordinate a pickup, call 410-267-8381, email customerservice@admiralcleaners.com  or visit admiralcleaners.com for a list of locations.

Toy Drives

Be the Santa for a needy child who otherwise might not receive a gift this holiday season.

Toy Drive Box

Toys for Tots

The mission of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and to distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver these new toys at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children, that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. Contact baltimore.md@toysfortots.org for more information on where to donate or to start a donation site.

The Children’s Home Holiday Gift Drive

For a child away from home, the holidays can be an especially tough time. The Children’s Home in Catonsville, MD asks for your help to make this a season of delight and celebration. This year’s Holiday Gift Drive will provide gifts and activities for the many kids who rely upon The Children’s Home for safety and care. Please visit our website and consider donating an item or two from our residents’ wish lists during one of our drop-off days. Drop off Days/Times: Saturday, December 4: 10am-2pm. Saturday, December 11: 10am-2pm. Wednesday, December 15: 3pm-7pm. Saturday, December 18: 9am-5pm. Sunday, December 19: 10am-2pm. Wednesday, December 22: 3pm-7pm. The Children’s Home, 205 Bloomsbury Ave, Catonsville, MD.

Donations to Children’s Hospitals

Help to brighten a young patient’s day through a charitable donation.

Child’s Play 

Child’s Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the donation of toys, books and games. Families can send a financial donation to be used for purchasing gaming devices for children’s hospital wings or go online and search the Amazon wish list of more than 70 hospitals nationwide. In Maryland, Child’s Play has partnered with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. View Johns Hopkins Amazon Wish List at Amazon.com

St. Jude’s

At the St. Jude’s Gift Shop, families can choose to donate any monetary amount to help children with cancer, but the St. Jude’s Gift shop also allows donors to choose how they want to help through specific events or materials for a patient. Sponsor a No Mo’ Chemo party for a patient for $25, purchase a wagon to transport a patient to treatments for $75, or share the cost of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a bone marrow treatment. 800-746-1539

Supporting Shelters, Adopting a Family and other Collections

Improve the welfare of needy families through donations.

Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services

You can deliver gifts, food and clothing directly to a needy family or senior through the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services Holiday Sharing program. Families can specify what kind of family and how many people they would like to give to. Donors may even choose the geographical area that is convenient for them. Families can sign up online or contact the program directly to choose a specific giving opportunity. 80 West St., Annapolis; 410-269-4462.

YWCA of Anne Arundel County

Support women and children fleeing from domestic abuse. Visit the organization’s headquarters in Arnold to adopt a family or an individual rebuilding a life after the tragedy of abuse. 1517 Ritchie Highway, Suite 201, Arnold, 410-626-7800.

House of Ruth

House of Ruth is an organization located in Maryland that provides shelter, food, counseling, and more for women and children. Item donations help clothe, feed and nourish those seeking help and support. Clothing, hygiene supplies, books, toys, craft supplies and linens are some of the items that are needed. There is a wish list on the organization’s website, with highly desired items listed in bold. 2201 Argonne Dr., Baltimore, 410-889-0840.

Walk of Christmas

The Walk the Walk Foundation needs sponsors to purchase gifts for families in need. Volunteers can also help deliver the gifts to the families, giving it a personal touch. Purchase a bike, bike helmet or gift cards as well.

Pet Shelter Drives

Aid local shelters by donating supplies, food, and toys for unadopted animals.

Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control

From providing food, toys and blankets to the shelter, to offering emergency assistance for injured shelter animals, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control is there. Donations of cash, gift certificates, dog and cat food and toys are especially needed during the holidays and the rate of surrenders tends to go up.

Maryland SPCA for Pets

Animal lovers can donate treats and new cat and dog toys for homeless animals at the Maryland SPCA Adoption Center in Baltimore or at the Anne Arundel County SPCA. Families can also donate gently used towels and blankets or empty toilet and paper towel rolls to be used to create cat toys.

Small Miracles Cat & Dog Shelter

Help to keep this shelter properly stocked during the holiday season by shopping from its Amazon wish list, where you and your family can choose what kind of gifts to give to the animals of the shelter. Pedigree wet dog food is a high priority. Monetary donations are also accepted.
10236 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 410-461-0516.

Maryland Animal Sanctuary and Rescue 

Monetary donations and goods donations are accepted. Take your kids to the pet store to shop for gifts for the animals at the rescue. Some gift ideas include cat and dog food (high quality, both dry/wet), dog crates, cat litter and cleaning spray. They often hold fundraising auctions as well, so if you’d like to donate an item, feel free to contact them.

Food Banks by County

Click the name of the county for a list of food banks serving that area.

Anne Arundel County Food Bank

For three-and-a-half decades, the Anne Arundel Food Bank has fought hunger in the local community.

120 Marbury Drive, Crownsville

Elkridge Food Pantry

5646 Furnace Avenue, Elkridge

New Life Food Pantry

New Life Pantry has distributed more than a million pounds of food in the last two years.

2401 East North Avenue, Baltimore

Food With a Focus

The Food With a Focus Fund was created to increase personal safety and decrease the spread of COVID-19 by finding a faster, more efficient method for food distribution. The joint effort of Thread, Baltimore Corps, and Wes and Dawn Moore is building a partnership among religious and community organizations to an increasing number of food distribution sites in West Baltimore.

Sarah Hemminger – Sarah.Hemminger@thread.org
Allison Buchalter – Allison.Buchalter@thread.org
Arshia Sethi – Arshia.Seth@thread.org

New Psalmist Baptist Church

Rev. Al Bailey, 410-984-4959 Abailey@newpsalmist.org

Agape Christian Church Food Pantry

100 E. Timonium Rd., Timonium


6045 Solomons Island Rd, Huntingtown


100 Jibsail Dr, Prince Frederick


6201 Solomons Island Rd, Huntingtown

Aarons Place/Living Waters Assembly
Cheryl Beulah, Food Ministry Coordinator, 410-479-0585

Martin’s House & Barn
Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, Executive Director, 410-634-2537

Carroll County Food Sunday

Carroll County’s principal food bank, based in Westminster, also has distribution points in Eldersburg and Taneytown.

To Get Help: https://ccfoodsunday.org/services-2/

Capital Area Food Bank

The Capital Area Food Bank leads the Washington D.C region’s efforts to provide good, healthy food to people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. Each year, it sources and distributes the food for more than 45 million meals.

To Get Help: www.capitalareafoodbank.org/find-food-assistance/

Mid-Shore Meals til Monday

Meals Til Monday works to end childhood hunger by sending home healthy, nutritious, and easy food options during times when children may not have access to consistent meals.

Leslie Bishop, Executive Director, 443-225-6789

Delmarva Community Services
Rosetta Brown, Director, 410-901-2991 rbrown@dcsdct.org

City of Frederick Maryland Food Bank

The Foodbank Program operated by the Frederick Community Action Agency provides a three- to five-day supply of food to families and individuals who are facing an economic crisis and cannot afford to buy their groceries. The FCAA Foodbank serves 600 to 800 households each month.

100 S. Market St., Frederick

Glade Valley Community Services

Walkersville Town Hall, 21 West Frederick St., Walkersville

Harford Community Action Agency Food Pantry and Food Bank

The Community Action Food Pantry and Food Bank is an emergency and / or supplemental food source that is available once every 30 days to eligible clients in need of nourishment. Families receive enough wholesome fresh / canned fruits, vegetable, meats, milk products, and/or breads and pastries for 3-4 days, based on household size. The current income eligibility is 200% of poverty guidelines.

1321-B Woodbridge Station Way, Edgewood


9385 Gerwig Ln J, Columbia


This organization works to educate, inspire and engage the community about the necessity for gluten-free and allergy-friendly food and provide that safe food to those in need.

9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia

Kent County has six food pantries, with options in Chestertown, Millington, Ridgely, Rock Hall and Worton.

More info at:

Manna Food Center

Manna works to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education and advocacy.

9311 Gaither Rd., Gaithersburg

Nourish Now

Nourish Now is a nonprofit food bank, specializing in food recovery and providing donations from grocers, caterers, restaurants, bakeries, and other food donors for the benefit of children, families, and the elderly, as well as shelters, food pantries, and other organizations working to end hunger.

1111 Taft St., Rockville

Takoma Park Food Pantry

7001 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park

Bowie Interfaith Pantry and Emergency Aid Fund

Food assistance is available to all qualifying Prince George’s County residents.

2614 Kenhill Drive, Suite 134, Bowie

Oxon Hill Food Pantry

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 4915 Saint Barnabas Road, Temple Hills

Haven Ministries Food Pantry

206 Del Rhodes Ave., Queenstown
Krista Pettit, Executive Director, 410-739-4363


28291 Old Village Rd, Mechanicsville

Catholic Charities – Seton Center

Seton Center is a multi-purpose neighborhood community center located in Princess Anne where staff members work to identify and respond to the needs of local residents, the Hispanic community, and the area’s migrant farm workers. It operates three distinct food distribution programs and a variety of other services.

30632 Hampden Avenue, Princess Anne
Nicole Kurtz/Charlotte Phillips

Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Kathy Weaver, Food Pantry Director, 410-770-4505

Washington County Community Action Council Food Pantry

117 Summit Avenue, Hagerstown

Maryland Food Bank, Western Branch

220 McRand Court, Hagerstown

Raven House Food Pantry

32 East Avenue, Hagerstown

The Salvation Army
407 Oak Street, Salisbury
Latoya Ward, 410-749-7771

Emmanuel Wesleyan Church
Mark Thompson, Adopt-a-Block Coordinator, 443-783-4711

Samaritan Ministries

814 Fourth Street, Pocomoke City
Shelly Daniels, Director, 410-957-4310

Food Banks by Region

Maryland Food Bank, Eastern Shore Branch

The Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore Branch distributes food to eight counties: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester. In FY19, the branch distributed more than 5.5 million meals to food-insecure Marylanders.

Jennifer Small, 443.210.3008, small@mdfoodbank.org

Southern Maryland Food Bank and Outreach Services

Organization maintains a full listing of food pantries in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

22 Irongate Dr., Waldorf

Western Maryland Food Bank

The Western Maryland Food Bank has worked since 1983 to enhance the food rescue and food distribution systems locally, addressing the invisible hunger in the tri-state community. It distributes food to local organizations, such a church pantries, day care centers, on-site feeding programs, emergency assistance organizations, etc.

816 Frederick Street, Cumberland
Amy Moyer, Executive Director, amymoyer@atlanticbb.net

Updated Oct. 2021

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