Give Back this Holiday Season at Urban Youth Impact’s Annual Christmas Store
Photo courtesy of Urban Youth Impact

Looking for ways to give back or volunteer this holiday season? With so much to be thankful for, it’s important that all of us take a step back and make it a priority to help those who are less fortunate, especially around the holidays. When we have plenty, let us share; when we have time, let us invest it in improving the world around us.

This holiday season, consider lending a hand to Urban Youth Impact, an organization on a mission “to love, equip and empower inner-city youth to fulfill their God-given purpose.” Urban Youth Impact is dedicated to providing “educational enrichment, resources, safe environments, personal mentorship, and job-readiness programs to facilitate the growth and development of Palm Beach County’s underserved youth.”

The organization has a variety of programs in order to accomplish these goals, including a leadership academy, entrepreneurial academy, summer camps, a family empowerment program, opportunities to participate in the arts and sciences, and much more. They also host a number of events throughout the year, from a 5K run/walk to a golf classic and charity auction. Urban Youth Impact’s vision is to have eight campuses in the highest at-risk cities in Palm Beach County by the year 2020.

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Of course, Urban Youth Impact operates to make a difference all year long, but one of the more festive ways you can plug in with their mission is to volunteer at their annual Christmas store. This year, Urban Youth Impact is collecting over 7,000 toys to serve approximately 500 families in their programs and families from the Tamarind Avenue community that they serve. Each parent is able to “shop” for gifts for each of their children for free in Urban Youth Impact’s Christmas Store tent.

Volunteers are needed in several different areas: gift wrappers and carriers, hospitality, parent registration, groceries, clean-up team, assistants in the Christmas store itself, and both booths and buddies in the Christmas village. In addition, Urban Youth Impact needs people to donate toys and businesses to become a toy collection site. All toys are needed by November 30. Of course, if you are not able to help in the described capacities, financial donations toward the event are always welcome as well. Your donation can be directed toward helping to purchase gifts or groceries or helping to purchase a tablet to improve a child’s literacy.

It takes over 400 volunteers to pull the event off—why not be one of them? You can sign up to volunteer using this online form. The event is scheduled for December 15th from 7 am to 2 pm. and will be the organization’s 17th annual Christmas store. Volunteering will occur in two shifts: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Help local parents “shop for free” for gifts for their children this Christmas to allow them the dignity of ensuring that Santa doesn’t pass by their home.

If you’re interested in donating toys instead of time, great gift ideas include educational toys that are aimed at all ages, such as Leap Frog, Baby Einstein, Legos, etc.; gifts geared toward teens, such as jewelry, bath and body products, fishing poles, and sports equipment; ethnically appropriate and diverse dolls (African American and Latino); and gift cards in $10 increments. Urban Youth Impact requests that you do not donate board games. You should make sure to donate only new, non-wrapped gifts aimed at youth aged from 3 months to 17 years.

Give Back this Holiday Season at Urban Youth Impact’s Annual Christmas Store