Ways to Give Back to Acadiana This Holiday Season

What better way to get into the Holiday Spirit than to get into the community spirit? Lafayette Mom is encouraging you to give back to Acadiana’s families by participating in one (or more) of the following activities this season. If you have more events or ideas please comment below and we will add them.

Foster The Love Louisiana 

Foster The Love Louisiana provides support and resources to the foster community throughout Southwest Louisiana, with 4,550 children in foster care in Louisiana alone. During the holidays, you have the opportunity to sponsor a child within the foster care system to help make their holiday wish come true. Simply fill out this form to begin! However, there are also ways to help throughout the year, such as: donating new or gently used clothing for the Community Closet, purchasing items for First Night Bags or donate your time.

How to sponsor a child in the foster system: Fill out this form, receive the wishlist of a child in need. Purchase one of their top 3 items and deliver it to 113 Jared Dr, Broussard, LA by Monday November 27th. You can also donate your time by signing up to volunteer as Santa’a helper for the annual Christmas Party.

United Way of Acadiana

United Way of Acadiana Early Head Start serves 103 children from birth to 3 years of age and pregnant people. The program operates two centers that are located in the city of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish, serving 28 children, and in the city of Lafayette in Lafayette Parish, serving 36 children. The remaining 39 slots serve families through the home-based option providing services for pregnant people, infants, and toddlers in either parish.

They are hosting a Thanksgiving Food Drive from October 16 – November 13 for their children and families. Drop off any of the non-perishable food items listed at one of the three drop off sites.

The United Way of Acadiana has made it easy to find volunteer opportunities not just with their organization but with any organization that is signed up on their platform. For a list of volunteer opportunities please visit: The Volunteer Center. 

Second Harvest Food Bank

Did you know that one in five households in Louisiana struggles with hunger? Unfortunately, hunger in South Louisiana is a very real problem facing many families. But the good news is that with every $1 donated, Second Harvest can provide the equivalent of four meals. $0.97 of every $1 donated goes directly to programs that feed the hungry. If you are short on time, it is quite simple to donate to this cause, though we’d recommend asking your children to each save towards this goal or somehow be intentional so that they recognize the cause your family has chosen and why. It would also be easy to take the children on a shopping trip to the store and then visit one of their warehouses to deliver the items in person. Second Harvest also has many volunteer shifts available, which could be a great way to engage your older children in this important cause.

Operation Christmas Lights

Operation Christmas Lights is a project sponsored by The Vital Foundation to help deserving families in our community, who have fallen on hard times, to be able to provide their family with gifts for the holidays. This year, there are 150 kids registered that need sponsors for Christmas. There is no required dollar amount to spend on each child, with that decision left up to the sponsors themselves. Deadlines to turn in gifts is December 1st, address to be given upon signing up. Click the following links to sign up to sponsor a child or donate directly to the foundation.

Lafayette Council on Aging

The Lafayette Council on Aging, Inc. acts in an advocacy capacity on behalf of the elderly population of the Parish of Lafayette. The Mission of the Council is to enhance the well-being of the elderly by providing an expanding and innovative range of services delivered with respect, care and compassion; upholding the dignity and independence of the individual. More details on the Winter Drive to come. Individual nursing home are also accepting donations for Angel Trees. 

The Hub Lafayette – Urban Ministries 

The Lovewell Center is a membership based resource center that gives members the opportunity to earn the physical resources they need by attending classes and programs designed to help them move out of poverty and homelessness and into a restored life. Earned credits can be used in The Lovewell stores.

Volunteers are used to run the stores inside of The Lovewell Center, helping individuals shop and spend the credits they have earned through attending Lovewell classes and serve meals to members.

Donations of new toys can be dropped off in Toy Tubs at drop off sites, such as at Thrive Therapy at 107 Global Circle, Suite 205, Lafayette.

Lafayette Community Fridge

Lafayette Community Fridge is a mutual aid project which aims to reduce food insecurity, while also mitigating food waste. You can drop off food to the following locations. Check out these links for more information High Demand Items and Donation Guidelines


  • 2905 E Simcoe, Lafayette, LA
  • 620 Charity St, Abbeville, LA

They are also looking for volunteers! They need to keep the fridges clean in order to continue operating- which means daily maintenance of the space and cleaning checks. If you need volunteer or community service hours- or if you just want to give back to your community in an easy and fun way check this link.

Food Net Food Bank 

The 37th Annual KLFY Food For Families Food Drive will be held on Tuesday December 12th at the locations listed here. Thank you for supporting the work of FoodNet Food Bank and our partner food pantries throughout Acadiana during this holiday season. Volunteers are also needed at both the Cajundome for the Food Drive event as well as at the warehouse to organize the donations. Volunteers must be 10+ years of age. Volunteers are also needed for weekly food bag assembly.

St. Joseph Diner

St. Joseph Diner serves free breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, to those experiencing hunger. Dinner is served to those who are receiving services in our extensive sheltering program. Volunteers must 7+ years of age. Sign up to volunteer at one of these daily shifts here!

Gifting Grace Project 

Did you know that by the end of the 2022-2023 school year there was a combined total of over 2000 children enrolled in the Homeless Education Departments of Acadia Parish, Iberia Parish, St. Martin Parish, Lafayette Parish and Vermilion Parish? Lafayette Parish alone had a total of 1261 homeless students! These children and unaccompanied youth are living in cars, shelters, motels, store parking lots, doubled-up in other families’ homes, couch-to-couch, etc. Most of these children do not have adequate clothing, food or hygiene necessities. This is a shocking and sobering reality for our community and our organization addresses this head on.

The mission of our Christmas project is two-fold. We aim to engage the community at large and encourage them to Sponsor a Homeless Child for Christmas from November 1 – December 6 and provide them with a meaningful gift wrapped in love. We also partner with businesses, civic clubs, churches and others to provide every child with what we call a Student Care Kit. This kit is filled with personal hygiene products, a beanie and gloves, grab-n-go snacks, socks, a book, puzzle or another activity and a free meal coupon to a local accessible restaurant.

To see how you can get involved with the Gifting Grace Project, both for physical donations or anyone ages 13+ to volunteer your time, please visit their website to read further information.

Faith House

The Holidays are often a difficult time for the families who have come to Faith House.  Their lives have been dramatically changed as they escape their abusers and with those changes, often loneliness, homelessness and a lack of resources make it difficult for families to celebrate the Holidays.

“However, our community continues to reach out to these families who are building lives free of violence.  The generosity of the Acadiana community last year provided gifts to more than 100 families during the Holiday Season, along with your help again this year; we can bring bright and cheerful Holidays to all the families who need our support through the season. You can adopt a family this holiday season by filling out this form.

If you know of any other opportunities please comment below and I will add them to the list.

Marissa Winters
Marissa has lived in Lafayette since 2014 and quickly fell in love with Louisiana culture, community spirit and the amazing food!! Marissa is the Director of Healthy Acadiana at the United Way of Acadiana and loves to be the helper. Marissa has a 5 year old named Jackson and absolutely loves being his Mama. Follow along with them as they navigate the waters of school, co-parenting, and so much more.