Holiday Project

With long-standing community support, the Department of Human Services (DHS) Holiday Project provides meaningful holiday gifts to children in families receiving DHS services related to child maltreatment and homelessness. Recipients of these gifts range from newborns to young adults. In every case, gifts from the Holiday Project provide an invaluable sense of normalcy for children and youth whose lives are shaped by daily challenges.

How to Participate in the Holiday Project

You can participate in the DHS Holiday Project by becoming a sponsor or donor.

Sponsors (individuals and groups) are given the wish list(s) of an individual child, sibling groups or as many children as desired to make shopping easier and more personal. Though it remains anonymous, many people prefer this option since they have the satisfaction of knowing they purchased a “wished-for” gift. Sponsors are asked to contact the Event and Donations Team via email or by phone at 412-350-3428 to request wish lists by mid-September.

Donors are invited to provide either new gifts or monetary donations that replenish the DHS Holiday Project Workshop where volunteers select an ideal gift for each non-sponsored child. Monetary donations are used to increase the pool of culturally diverse gifts as well as those in much-needed age ranges such as infants and teens.

Donors are encouraged to consider hosting an event to gather gifts for holiday giving. While we promote the collection of sports equipment, art supplies, winter accessories and board games, donors are also encouraged to be creative and design a drive that matches the interests of their workplace, faith-based organization, club or other group.

Holiday Project Brochure(PDF, 628KB)

Benefits of Group Participation

Groups, that through direct sponsorship or donations, provide gifts for 200 or more children or donate $5,000 or more may have

  • their name in the list of supporters on the Holiday Project web page
  • their name mentioned in the widely available DHS NEWS e-newsletter

Groups that donate gifts for 20 or more children and/or youth, may arrange for a one-time gift pick-up at a local location of choice.

Selecting Most Wished-for Gifts

Most Needed Gifts(PDF, 469KB)

Gifts from the Holiday Project Wish List are shipped automatically to the Holiday Project Workshop.

Choose Your Own Gifts

Gifts must be new and unwrapped, but gift bags are encouraged. As a guideline, we try to provide each child with a gift(s) valued at a minimum of $50.

Year-round donation requests
Donors are invited to host drives to gather our most sought-after new gifts

  • Sporting Equipment
    Help keep kids healthy and active with a donation of equipment for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey and others.
  • Winter-weather Accessories
    Help keep kids warm with a donation of scarves, gloves, mittens, earmuffs, hats or accessory sets for children, newborns to teens.
  • Board Games
    Help families bond during friendly, competitive play with a donation of a board game, your favorite classic or a newer, popular choice.
  • Toiletries for Teens
    Help young adults feel their best by donating shower gel, shampoo, body lotion, loofas and other hygiene products.
  • Baby Items
    Our youngest residents, under three, are always in need of sensory items, teething toys, developmental toys and board books.

Open donations
The Holiday Project is always in need of new toys, books and gifts that relate to children of all ages from diverse cultures.

  • Books with diverse cultural themes for children of all ages
  • Creative kits (e.g., art, science) for school-age children
  • Developmental toys for infants and toddlers
  • Dolls and action figures with a full range of skin tones
  • Hat, glove and scarf sets
  • Imaginative play toys for school-age children
  • Music-related electronics
  • Purses, jewelry, make-up
  • Remote control toys
  • Riding toys like bicycles, tricycles and skateboards (Please include a helmet)

Delivery of Gifts and Monetary Donations

Collection boxes are placed at various locations in the county between November 1 and December 1. View a list of collection locations(PDF, 85KB).

Checks should be made payable to: DHS Donations Fund with “Holiday Project” on the memo line and mailed to:

DHS Holiday Project/Event and Donations Team
Human Services Building
One Smithfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222