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UNITED WAY HOLIDAY PROJECT

The goal of the United Way Holiday Project is to ensure every child has a toy underneath the tree.

For more than 30 years, United Way of Martin County (formerly known as White Doves Holiday Project) has spread holiday cheer by providing toys and holiday meals to more than 1,000 local families and 3,000 children each year--but we can't do it alone.  This huge undertaking is only possible by pooling the resources of hundreds of volunteers, community groups, agencies, families, businesses and faith-based and civic organizations. Can you be a hero this holiday?

Whether you give a toy, give your time or give your treasure, you can play a huge role in making the holidays special for local families who are struggling to make ends meet.

  • GIVE A TOY: Drop off a new, unwrapped toy to any Toys for Tots Collection Site in Martin County by Thursday, Dec. 12. Or you can drop off a toy directly to the Martin County Fairgrounds Monday through Friday between 9am-Noon.
  • GIVE YOUR TIME: We're always looking for a few good elves to sort and categorize toys so that parents can "shop" for toys specific to their children's interest. This is the perfect activity for a civic group or family! We also need hundreds of volunteer elves to assist during the two-day distribution event. Volunteers are needed to serve as personal shoppers, direct traffic, distribute food, and more.
  • GIVE YOUR TREASURE: Financial resources are also critical to making the holiday dreams come true for local families in need. Can you give the gift of a bike, a holiday meal or a gift card for local teens?

HOW IT WORKS

  • REFRERRAL PROCESS: Families are referred to the United Way Holiday Project by social service agencies, schools and faith-based groups – organizations who know the families intimately and understand their needs. The names of the families are then matched with other holiday providers to avoid the duplication of services.  
  • TOY COLLECTION: As the official local coordinating organization for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive, United Way of Martin County works with hundreds of local businesses who serve as Toys for Tots Collection Sites. Any toys donated to Toys for Tots in Martin County goes toward this community-wide effort.
  • DISTRIBUTION: One of the things that makes this project special is that it offers clients the chance to go shopping -- at no cost to families. With help from hundreds of volunteer "elves" the Martin County Fairgrounds is transformed into Santa's Workshop. The gifts that are collected from Toys for Tots Collection Sites are sorted and categorized so that parents “shop” for toys specific to their children’s interest during a two-day distribution event.  After selecting gifts for the children and possibly "winning" a bike for one of their children, families also receive a turkey and bag of groceries to make a traditional holiday meal.