‘Tis the Season of Giving — Holiday Donation Drives

Monday, November 29, 2021

The holiday season should be the most wonderful time of the year for all families, regardless of their circumstances. Together, we can give back to our community and help make holiday wishes come true!

Valencia College has teamed up with community organizations to donate to local causes during the holiday season.

Student Development Drive

Student Development will host its annual virtual holiday toy/donation drive to support organizations focused on essential need assistance in our communities.

“Community is part of our DNA, and in these precarious times, Student Development would like to remain focused on our civic engagement mission by challenging our faculty and staff to donate to those organizations focused on providing support to our communities,” said Charles Ensminger, director, student development.

Rather than using drop-boxes to collect items on campus, we encourage our Valencia College staff and faculty to donate using the contactless and virtual donation options offered by each charitable organization listed below. The drive will take place between now and Saturday, January 1, 2022.

  • Second Harvest Food Bank – Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores. It distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia. Last year, with the help of numerous donors, volunteers, and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed enough food for 73 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, daycare centers and Kids Cafes. To donate, click here.
  • Resource Centers – Samaritan Resource Center and the Christian Help Employment and Resource Center lead individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures. To donate, visit https://samaritanresourcecenter.org/ or https://www.christianhelp.org/.
  • Central Florida Community Program – The Baby DJ program began more than 25 years ago when its founder “Johnny Magic” was inspired to assist families of economic disadvantage in the Central Florida area. To donate, visit https://www.babydj.org/donate.

Pooky’s Pantry East Campus Holiday Food Drive

The East Campus Pooky’s Pantry is collecting food donations through Friday, December 10, 2021. The following items are needed:

  • Protein canned meats
  • Canned vegetables
  • Cake mix/desserts
  • Stuffing
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Refrigerated items 

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Canned fruit
  • Condiments and spices
  • Canned beans
  • Carton milk 


    Please drop off your donations to East Campus, Building 4, Room 134 or the donation bins in Buildings 4 and 5.

    Engelwood Elementary Toy Drive

    For the past four years, Engelwood Elementary has hosted a successful Christmas Toy Drive to give toys to students from their school as well as their siblings from nearby schools. The Christmas Store will provide school parents with a wonderful opportunity to come to the school and select free toys for their children. The toys will then get gift wrapped and parents can take them home. If you have toys to donate, please drop them off at the school [front office] by Monday, December 13, 2021, at 3 p.m., in order to have the time to organize the store.

    Suggested donations:

    • New, unwrapped toys (ages 4-10 boys and girls) such as dolls, cars, Legos, board games (no guns), etc.
    • Older students (ages 11-17 years) are often overlooked. Consider donating books, gift cards, electronic gaming accessories, sporting equipment, etc., for this age group
    • Stuffed animals
    • Clothing items, pajamas, socks, underwear for ages 4-11 boys and girls

    Gift cards and checks can be donated. Contact Program Coordinator Natalia Giraldo at Engelwood Elementary, 407-249-6340, extension 3344-2250, if you wish to donate a gift card or check. One hundred percent of these donations will go directly to purchase toys for the toy store.

    All donations will be provided to all Title 1 families on Thursday, December 16, 2021.

    Winter Park Campus Toy Drive

    The East Region will be supporting the Eatonville Neighborhood Center for Families toy drive. A drive-thru toy giveaway will take place on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at Hungerford Elementary. As we look to support the families of this center, the Winter Park executive dean’s office (Room 244) will be accepting toy donations through Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 5 p.m. The toy donations will be dropped off at the Eatonville Neighborhood Center for Families on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. The following donations will be accepted:

    • Unwrapped Toys
    • Wrapping Paper

    Note: Teenagers typically do not receive enough gifts, so the emphasis is being placed on this group to ensure all age groups receive a gift. Ideas include makeup, sporting equipment, gaming accessories, books, pajamas, etc.

    West Campus Books and Clothes Drive

    West Campus is collecting books for children to foster literacy in our community. Any books donated will be distributed to Little Free Library boxes located at schools, doctor’s offices and other places for children to enjoy throughout the area. We are also collecting new or gently-used clothes to be distributed to Evans High School. Both casual and career apparel — especially female clothing — would be appreciated.

    Please drop off your donations to the West Campus President’s Office in Building 1, Room 211. Donations are accepted Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. through Friday, December 10, 2021.

    If you have any questions, contact Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology, at msexton7@valenciacollege.edu.

    Downtown Campus – The United States Marine Corps Annual Toys for Tots Drive 

    Downtown UCF Student Services, the College of Community Innovation and Education and the Veterans Academic Resource Center (VARC), in cooperation with UCF Staff Council, are participating in the United States Marine Corps Annual Toys for Tots drive. The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children ages newborn to 13 years old in our Central Florida community.

    Please drop off your donations to Union West, Room 226 by Thursday, December 9, 2021.

    OCPS ACE School Shirts Donation

    United to Promote Cultural Awareness  — a UCF Downtown initiative has partnered with the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence to support raising money for school shirts that will be distributed to the more than 1,000 students who attend the school. The T-shirts are long lasting reminders of the accomplishments and achievements of the year while promoting camaraderie and school spirit among students. To make a contribution to ACE to help purchase school shirts for students, click here.

    Orange County Mayor’s Toy Drive

    Now in its 11th year, the Orange County Mayor’s Toy Drive has collected more than 56,000 toys that directly benefit local youth to ensure a happy holiday season. Last year, the drive collected a record-breaking 11,000 toys and served over 500 families countywide.

    For safety and convenience, toy donations can be made online through Monday, December 6, 2021, or toys can be dropped off in person at 21 countywide collection sites through Monday, December 13, 2021.

    Residents are encouraged to purchase a new, unwrapped toy and either drop off in person or make an online donation. Children and youth are served — from infants to teens. Cash, gift cards and plush toys are not accepted. Please include extra items where appropriate. For example, please purchase batteries with electronic toys or crayons with a coloring book.

    Online shopping is available now through Monday, December 6, 2021, by simply visiting www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive. This option allows donors to purchase items for the Mayor’s Toy Drive from their phone or computer. Some donors may prefer to select their toys for donation and drop them off at a collection site. In-person donations will be accepted now through Monday, December 13, 2021. For a complete list of public drop-off locations throughout Orange County, visit www.ocfl.net/ToyDrive.

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