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Get FREE Christmas Toys & Food in Illinois!

Get FREE Christmas Toys & Food in Illinois!

If you want to apply for free Christmas gifts in Illinois this year, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve found so many different organizations that can help you with everything from gifts to food! Let’s review all the places you can turn for Christmas help this holiday season.


Apply for Free Christmas Gifts

If you want to get free Christmas gifts in Illinois, it’s a good idea to start early. Many places that give out gifts need you to sign up first. You can often do this online or in person at certain locations. Remember, the sooner you apply, the better your chances are of getting help.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army helps families in Illinois at Christmas time. They give gifts to kids who need them through their Angel Tree program. Families may also get to enjoy a big Christmas meal with help from this organization!

They help in other ways too. If you need warm clothes for the winter or help paying your heating bill, the Salvation Army might be able to help.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Anyone in need can usually get help with food. However, gifts are typically limited to children or seniors who meet certain age requirements.


HOW TO APPLY: Find your local Salvation Army chapter by using the Location Search on the Salvation Army website. You’ll need to contact your nearest location for application instructions and details.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is there for families in Illinois during Christmas. Run by the Marine Corps, they collect new, unwrapped toys and give them out to children who might not get much for Christmas. This way, lots of kids can have something special to open on Christmas Day.

To get a toy from Toys for Tots, families usually need to sign up in advance. You can find out how to do this by looking online or checking in your community. Places like stores, schools, or churches might have sign-up sheets or information.

It appears that Toys for Tots is available in most areas of the state. Of Illinois 102 counties, only 38 are not covered by Toys for Tots.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Children from low income families may be eligible, but the age limits may vary by location.

HOW TO APPLY: You can click the Request a Toy button on the Marine Toys for Tots website to start your application.

Walter & Connie Payton Foundation

The Walter & Connie Payton Foundation makes Christmas special for kids and veterans who need a little help in Illinois. They serve people throughout the state of Illinois.


The foundation knows that a simple gift can mean so much. It can help a child feel valued and boost their confidence. They want every child to feel important and respected. Giving gifts at Christmas might seem small, but for these kids, it can make a big difference.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Veterans and low income, disabled or abused children in the state of Illinois may be eligible.

HOW TO APPLY: You can reach the organization’s event coordinator over email for more information. The email address can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Other Christmas Help

There are many nationwide organizations that can help you apply for free Christmas gifts, food, and even free Christmas trees! You may be able to get help from them if you live in Illinois. You’ll need to check our Nationwide Christmas Resource Directory for even more ways to get help with the holidays!

Local Christmas Assistance Programs

Local assistance programs may include toy drives, food pantries, and holiday events designed just for the community. These programs are often organized by neighborhood charities, churches, and civic groups. They aim to ensure that every family has the chance to experience the joy of the season.

Cook County

Catholic Charities in Chicago provides Christmas assistance through two different programs. They serve more than 20,000 children from Cook and Lane Counties each year.


Grant a Wish in Chicago hosts an annual holiday program that provides gifts to low income, disabled or abused children. You have to register on their website before the end of September in order to get assistance.

Greater Chicago Food Depository may be able to help you find extra food for your holiday celebration. They can help you connect with food pantries and other programs throughout the Cook County area.

Hillside Food Pantry in Evanston provides food to low income people in their service area. It appears taht you can get help up to once per week.

ReVive Center in Chicago gave away more than 3,000 Christmas baskets to people in their community last year. Their organization is dedicating to help people escape homelessness. It is not clear how to apply for help, so you’ll need to contact their organization for details.

St. Edna Catholic Parish in Chicago offers food to low income people who live within their parish boundaries. They serve over 150 people every month!

Dekalb County

Goodfellows in Sycamore provides free Christmas gifts for students who attend either the Dekalb or Sycamore School Districts. Your child must be under age 18 or a senior in high school in order to qualify. Applications are distributed in August through their network of community partners, which include the school districts, WIC, head start and the Family Service Agency. You’ll need to contact one of those partner agencies to request an application.

Hinckley Area Food Pantry in Waterman may be able to help you with food during the holiday season. You’ll need to prove your address and ID in order to get assistance.

DuPage County

Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet offers a Gift of Christmas Program, which specifically serves people who are already being served by Catholic Charities programs. There are different levels of holiday assistance depending on what program you participate in, so you’ll need to contact them for details.

Bloomingdale Township provides free Christmas help. They have a Holiday Food Program that can provide meals to those in need. They also have a Toy Shop program that delivers free gifts to over 750 children every year! The Toy Shop is usually open the week before Christmas, and you need to bring some documentation with you to be able to get toys. You can call the Township office at 630-529-9993 for details.

Special Kids Day in Elmhurst provides a special holiday celebration for children with special needs. The party includes free Christmas gifts, as well as Santa photos, face-painting and other activities.

LaSalle County

A Servants Heart in Ottawa helps the homeless and those in need, providing things like housing aid, clothing, and furniture without charge. They also offer free meals through a soup kitchen and plan to introduce life skills and computer training, supported by donations and fundraising events. They may be able to help you with food during the holidays.

Illinois Valley Food Pantry in La Salle provides free food to low income people in the LaSalle County area all year. They offer special holiday boxes for Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas when donations allow. You just need to reach out to them to find the distribution dates.

Ogle County

Rochelle Christian Food Pantry in Rochelle may be able to help low income families in Ogle County get food for their Christmas meal. They also over Thanksgiving meals, assist with school supplies and more!

Peoria County

Bradley Epworth United Methodist Church in Peoria provides a food pantry on the first Friday of each month. This resource may be able to help you get food for the holidays if you need it.

Madison Avenue Neighborhood Ministries in Peoria serves the entire North Valley area. They provide hot meals, food pantry, and other services. It is not clear if they offer a designated holiday program.

Mt. Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peoria provides food every month on the first Tuesday. If you need help with your holiday meals, this food bank may be able to supplement your grocery budget with some basic staples.

Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peoria has a food pantry that is open twice a week. They also provide limited financial assistance and counseling referrals.

South Side Mission in Peoria has a Holiday Meal Ministry. This program provides Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for low income people in the community. You need to click the “sign up” button on their website in order to reserve your meal.

Westmark Food Pantry in Peoria provides a food pantry every Monday morning. It is closed on Christmas day but may be able to help you supplement your holiday meal with other food staples.

Sangamon County

Grace Food Pantry in Springfield provides food for those in the community who need help. The First Presbyterian Church also has a social services desk that can help you with transportation, referrals and other forms of assistance. They may be able to help you find holiday assistance if you need it.

Holy Cross Parish in Deerfield has a Christmas Basket program that provides help for low income families in the area. This program provides Jewel gift cards and reasonably priced gifts to families who participate. In order to get help, you need to be referred by Catholic Charities of Lake County or West Deerfield Township.

Woodford County

Heartline and Heart House in Eureka operates a Christmas assistance program called Tree of Hearts. This program provides free Christmas gifts for children in Woodford County. In order to be eligible, your child must be high school age or under.


In Illinois, families in need can find hope and help during the holiday season. Groups like the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Catholic Charities give free gifts to kids and families who don’t have much money. You can find help in your own area too. To get this help, you usually need to apply early. Don’t forget to check out our nationwide Christmas resource list for even more help!


Monday 28th of November 2022

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