The holiday season is upon us and many people are looking for ways to give back and help others. Here are a few ways you can make a difference and help those who need it.

Donate to Candy Cane Corner

Candy Cane Corner helps clients who are experiencing homelessness, mental illness, or addiction that need assistance getting Christmas gifts for their children. Starting the first week of December, a case manager takes parents to the store and helps them select gifts for their kids and themselves.

This program represents a partnership between Volunteers of America, Utah and The Road Home. Each year it accepts donations of money and items from their wish list. The organization also needs volunteers to sort donations, wrap gifts and staff the shop.

In-kind donations go directly to clients. While monetary donations made online or by check give the organizations the flexibility to purchase needed items and cover low overhead expenses. Additionally, at the end of each Candy Cane Corner season, a small amount is reserved to start up the store the following year. 

Donate at the Giving Machine

Start a new tradition this year by visiting the Giving Machine located at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square. Rather than buying something for yourself from this vending machine, you can choose to donate something to someone else.

With the swipe of a credit card, you can donate whatever you choose — choices include textbooks, chickens, shoes, a dose of the polio vaccine, and even meals for a homeless shelter. The donation amounts range from $2 to $320, making it simple to choose something that fits into your budget.

In 2019, donations topped more than $6 million from 10 different machine locations around the globe. The website is updated daily with the amount raised.

Host a Virtual Food Drive 

Since 1904, the Utah Food Bank has been “Fighting Hunger Statewide.” They say 1 in 8 Utahns are at risk of missing a meal on any given day. Last year, the organization says they were able to distribute the equivalent of 70.2 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 58.5 million meals to people throughout the state.

You can help by donating food directly to the food bank or hosting a food drive. A new, innovative way of hosting a drive is by starting a Virtual Food Drive, which allows people to shop from a list of needed items online without having to drive to a store or to the food bank.

Attend the Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees is an annual holiday tradition celebrating children’s health in our community. We welcome you to experience four festive days dedicated to raising money for Primary Children’s Hospital from the comfort of your own home.Volunteers create and donate some of the most beautiful holiday decorations; decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, playhouses, centerpieces, quilts, gingerbread houses and more. Many of which are available via the Online Auction and Gift Boutique. Find your festive spirit and support children in need. All proceeds benefit the Primary Children’s Hospital.

Support the Chamber’s Leadership Utah Donation Drive

The Salt Lake Chamber’s 2022 Leadership Utah Class is collecting donations this holiday season for the Utah Food Bank and Catholic Community Services Migration & Refugee Program. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please see below for suggested donations.

  • Utah Food Bank: Dry/shelf stable foods, such as peanut butter, mac & cheese, canned meats (tuna, chicken or beef), chili, spaghettiOs/Ravioli, canned fruits and other boxed meals.
  • CCS Migration & Refugee Program: Household and hygiene items. For a complete list visit here.

Donations are to be dropped off at the Salt Lake Chamber by December 9, 2021.

Additional opportunities include:

  • Santa Selfies at the Real UP House Charity Event, December 4, 2021 – Learn more.
  • PBS Utah at Eccles Broadcast Center Winter Food and Clothing Drive, December 10, 2021 – Learn More.
  • EDGEhomes Coat Drive, December 11, 2021 – Learn More.
  • The Salvation Army Angel Tree, Donations Due December 11, 2021 – Learn More.
  • The Christmas Box International Project Elf, Donations Due December 23, 2021 – Learn More
  • Candy Cane Lane at YWCA Utah – Learn More.
  • Marine Toys for Tots Salt Lake City – Learn More.
  • International Rescue Committee Salt Lake City – Learn More.
  • Rescue Mission of Salt Lake – Learn More.
  • Utah Food Bank Holiday Food & Fund Drive  – Learn More.
  • United Way of Salt Lake Season of Service – Learn More.
  • Volunteers of America Utah – Learn More.

If you would like to have your charitable event, drive or program mentioned, please contact