Give big, give local

Richmond in December is a festive, exciting place. To make sure that everyone in the city can find some comfort and joy this holiday season, learn more about a few local charities that support Richmond families, and find out how you can help.

Community of Caring — Mary Munford Elementary School

Mary Munford Elementary School’s Community of Caring, sponsored by the school’s PTA, provides support to students, staff, and their families, but also has an outreach program that works with homeless students at three Richmond Public Schools.

With help from the school and community sponsors, the program collects items for the students throughout the year (food, personal hygiene items) and collects donations to help with expenses including clothes, school fees, and shelter assistance.

This month, Community of Caring is providing gifts from a holiday wish list for several RPS students and their families.1

Anyone who is interested in assisting with the wish list needs can email Sarah Gobble at or Kirsta Millar at to receive details.

Gifts have to returned to the school on December 15th.

Food pantry and personal hygiene items are collected every week and can be brought to the school. Collection bins are in the main lobby. Cash donations are also accepted.

Mary Munford Elementary School is located at 211 Westmoreland Ave.

Change the World RVA

According to the Change the World RVA website, there were 1,400 students in the Richmond Public School system experiencing homelessness during the 2012-2013 school year. Change the World RVA supports students by helping them achieve success in school and prepare for college, and offers assistance with housing, food, and personal items.

On December 15th, the organization is throwing a Christmas party for ten high school students who participate in their after-school program, and five college students who have been helped by Change the World.

They will accept physical gifts for the students by December 11th. While there are some specific requests, gift cards (preferably in $25 increments to stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Gamestop,, and department stores) and financial contributions are also needed, and can be mailed to Change the World RVA, PO Box 3562, Richmond, 23235 or donated online.

Gifts can also be dropped off at Bon Air United Methodist Church, 1645 Buford Road, N. Chesterfield, 23235 (email Natalie at before making the drop-off).

YWCA Richmond

The YWCA supports women and their dependent children who are in need of emergency shelter from domestic violence situations. Supplies and financial support are needed year-round, especially during the winter months. Home supplies like bed sheets, pillows, towels, and non-perishable food items are accepted, as wells as bus tickets and gift cards (gas stations, grocery stores). Donations are accepted at the YWCA’s Downtown location from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at 6 N. 5th Street. Donations can also be made online.

Feed More (Central Virginia Food Bank)

One of the many programs run by Feed More is the BackPack Program, which provides meals to children over weekends and holiday breaks. The kids are provided a bookbag filled with easy-to-assemble and nutritious food to ensure that they won’t have to go without any balanced meals while away from school. Fourteen Richmond schools participate in the program. Donations can be made online.

Communities in Schools

The Richmond chapter of Communities in Schools, which works with students who are at-risk of dropping out of school by offering academic and community resources for K-12, is collecting hats, gloves, and coats for students at Wilder Middle School. Before December 18th, drop off winter wear suitable for a 6th through 8th graders with Ms. Klein at Wilder Middle School (6900 Wilkinson Road) or at CIS’s main office at 2922 W. Marshall Street.

CIS also accepts financial donations online and is open to volunteers.

Other ways to give

Photo by: aka Jens Rost

  1. The gift drive is run by the McKinney-Vento Regional Education Program, which offers assistance–in and out of school–to students experiencing homelessness. The main holiday gift drive for RPS students ended earlier this month. 
  • error

    Report an error

Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

There are no reader comments. Add yours.