Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

As we enter mid-December and the fast-approaching holidays, things begin to slow down at work, school, and home and many begin to reflect on the past year and turn their minds toward gift-giving. For those who have a desire to give back to their communities during this time (and throughout the year!) we wanted to provide some information/needs from local organizations that are close to our hearts should you consider donating either time, money or resources.

Micah 6 of Austin

UCC is a founding supporter of Micah 6, the largest food pantry in Austin. As UCC’s biggest community commitment, the church collects food for the pantry, volunteers at the pantry every week, and collects monetary donations for the organization.

Current needs:

  • 2018 Matching-Gift Holiday Challenge – any monetary donations made to Micah 6 before the end of the year will be worth twice as much! Details here.
  • Volunteer at the food pantry. Many of Micah 6’s food pantry volunteers are UT students. As many students will be leaving town for the holidays, food pantry volunteers are in high need! Details here.
  • Donate food. In highest need are: canned meats like tuna, stew, and chili (pop-tops preferred), can vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce, beans, healthy cereals, peanut butter, packaged milk and juice that requires no refrigeration. Details, including delivery instructions here.
  • On December 20th at 7:30 p.m. — Amphion Choir Christmas benefit concert for Micah 6. UCC will be accepting monetary donations as well as canned food items for Micah 6 Austin’s pantry


Every year, LifeWorks provides a pathway to self-sufficiency for more than 4,000 youth and families, many of whom are facing life’s most difficult challenges, including homelessness, trauma, and abuse.

How to help:

The Outreach Council is placing the “Giving Tree” back in the UCC Narthex this Christmas season. The purpose of the giving tree is to help restock the room in UCC’s basement that serves as a “store” for (previously homeless) young LifeWorks clients who are moving from the street to their own apartments. For the last two years, UCC has been providing substantial support for the LifeWorks Street Outreach program, the most successful in the City for assisting homeless youth (up to age 26) transition from street dependency to self-sufficiency. Many are young women.

Items needed: coffee makers, microwave ovens, toaster ovens, sets of drinking glasses, dish sets, flatware sets, cutlery sets, cooking pan sets, kitchen gadget sets, queen size sheet sets, and comforters.

A small tree in the narthex will be decorated with cards, each listing a gift item. Please consider taking a card (or several), going to a discount store like Walmart or Target to purchase the item, and returning it to the tree or the wagon beneath it (in the original box). Some young person moving into her/his first apartment will be very appreciative this winter. The tree will remain in the Narthex through Epiphany, Sunday, January 6.


Casa Marianella

Casa Marianella is the only homeless shelter in Austin dedicated solely to immigrants.  65% of their shelter residents, including children, are asylum seekers, many coming from immigration detention.

Current Needs:

  • New or gently used goods such as men’s clothing, new toiletries, food, bicycles, and backpacks. See the full wish list here.
  • Volunteer at the Adult House by taking a food shift or assisting with administrative duties. More information here.
  • Volunteer at the Women’s House in a variety of capacities including as homework helper, clean-up volunteer, and childcare volunteer. More information here.

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Foundation for the Homeless

A faith-based organization dedicated to alleviating homelessness. UCC has made generous donations for their various programs centered around restoring hope for the homeless.

Current needs:

  • Volunteers for their Feed My People program. The program provides breakfast every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 – 7 a.m. at First UMC Family Life Center. More information here.
  • Monetary donations. Donate here.


Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries

A ministry dedicated to helping refugees and asylum-seekers in South Texas by addressing spiritual and material needs, including emergency shelter and food, clothing, transportation, legal aid, advocacy, and job referral through a cooperative effort with other agencies and religious organizations.

Current needs:

  • Monetary donations. $.85 of every dollar you donate will go directly to those most in need. Make a donation here.

For a full list of organizations UCC is proud to serve and support, check out our Get Involved page.