Ten Princeton area holiday drives you can support to help kids, families, the homeless, and shelter animals

Some of the holiday gifts collected by Rise in 2021. File photo.

Saint Nicholas Project

Get matched with a family in need through the Saint Nicholas Project, a program of the YWCA Princeton. Participating families in need create wish lists, including toys, food, and clothes. Residents, families, and businesses work to fulfill these wishes each year. Families are also provided gift cards to McCaffrey’s Food Market.  If you are interested in supporting the St. Nicholas Project, contact Jill Jachera at  jill.jachera@gmail.com to be matched with a family or coordinate other contributions. All donations will be delivered to YWCA Princeton on December 14.  

Holiday Jam and Toy Drive with Princeton University

Bring your toy donations to the Palmer Square Green between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday Dec. 2 and enjoy an evening of performances by Princeton University a cappella groups. Stay warm and merry with local food and beverage from your town favorites. The music event is free and open to all. Toy donations can be accepted during the event or in advance at 313 Morrison Hall at Princeton University.

Custom Ink Princeton Coat Drive

Custom Ink Princeton and Princeton Racing Electric are running a coat drive for the entire month of November.  Donate new or gently used coats, hats, and gloves.  Items collected will be donated to non-profit organizations in the Princeton area.

Donations are accepted at Custom Ink, 39 Palmer Square West, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (closed Sundays).

West Windsor Police Operation Bark Drop 2022

The West Windsor Police Department sponsors a yearly campaign to bring toys, food, and supplies to shelter pets throughout Mercer County. Police work with local businesses and residents who make donations and have supplies delivered to West Windsor Police Department headquarters at 20 Municipal Drive in West Windsor. Please drop all items off by December 10. Officers and volunteers deliver all the items to the local shelters on or around Dec. 13. The Bark Drop has an Amazon wishlist .

Police Chief Bob Garofalo also said the animal shelters currently need the following items: Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach With Oats Adult Dry Dog Food, Friskies or Fancy Feast Canned Cat Food Pate, Can Dog Food, Nylabone Edibles, Nylabone Chews, Dog Treats , Cat Treats, Milk Bones , Chuck it Balls, Ping Pong Balls, Pop Up Cat/Kitten Playpens, KMR Milk Replacement , Cat Toys, Cat Beds, Cat Hammocks, Paper Towels, Disinfectant Wipes, Trash Bags, Dog Waste Bags.

Trenton Area Soup Kitchen 2022 Holiday Wish List

Although the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) serves families and individuals in Mercer County all year, the holidays are one of their busiest seasons, especially as food prices have gone up, causing more families to struggle to make ends meet.

Items TASK is currently seeking include:

  • Sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, coats (M-XXL, must be new, dark colors, no logos)
  • Backpacks
  • Blankets
  • Gloves, hats, and socks
  • Puzzle books
  • Frozen turkeys
  • Boxed stuffing
  • Boxed mac and cheese
  • 100% juice

Donations can be dropped off at the soup kitchen at 72 Escher St., at the back door Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

HomeFront Holiday Wish Drive

Receive a child’s wishlist by calling (609) 468-3592 or emailing Bryant@HomefrontNJ.com. Gifts should be dropped off at HomeFront by Dec. 9.

2022 Rise Toy Drive

Fill the holiday gift wish of a child or struggling family. Drop off Holiday Gifts at the First United Methodist Church located at 187 Stockton Street in Hightstown between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 5 through Dec. 8. You can also make a donation online.

Mercer County Toy and Gift Drive

Accepting new and unwrapped toys and gifts through Tuesday, Dec. 6. Drop-off Locations during office hours:

McDade Admin. Building, 640 South Broad St., Trenton
Mercer County Park Commission, 197 Blackwell Rd., Hopewell Twp.
Mercer County Ice Skating, Tennis Ctr. & Park Ranger Hq., 334 So. Post Rd., West Windsor
Mercer County Stables,431B Federal City Rd., Pennington
Mercer County Wildlife Center., 1750 River Rd., Titusville
Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 725 Villiage Rd West, West Windsor
Mountain View Golf Course, 890 Bear Tavern Rd., Ewing
Princeton Country Club, 1 Wheeler Way, Princeton Junction
Hopewell Valley Golf Course, 114 Pennington Hopewell Rd., Hopewell
Howell Living History Farm, 70 Woodens Ln., Hopewell
Tulpehaking Nature Center, 157 Wescott Ave., Hamilton
Mercer County Improvement Authority, 80 Hamilton Ave., Trenton
Mercer County Connection, Route 33 at Paxson Ave., Hamilton
Mercer County Department of Transportation, 300 Scotch Rd., Ewing
Mercer County Office Park, 1440 Parkside Ave., Ewing
Mercer County One-Stop Career Ctr., 26 Yard Ave., Trenton
Mercer County Clerk, 209 South Broad St., Trenton

For more information call (609) 303-0700.

Dogtopia of Montgomery Canned Soup Drive

Dogtopia of Montgomery is putting on a canned soup drive until the end of November. The business is partnering with Harlingen Church to collect canned or boxed soups of all varieties. All soups collected will be donated to the Franklin Food Bank. Soups can be dropped off in the Dogtopia lobby from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Dogtopia is located at 2311 Route 206, Suite 11, in Belle Mead.

Somerset County Sheriff Toys for Tots Drive

Toy donations should be new and unwrapped, safe (non-choking hazard toys for infants and toddlers), and age-appropriate for both boys and girls. The ages of gift recipients range from newborn up to 14 years of age. Toy gun replicas and gift cards will not be accepted.

A collection box has been placed inside the vestibule at the entrance to the Somerset County Administration Building, located at 20 Grove St., Somerville. Toys can be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, until Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Somerset County Park Commission Drop-Off Locations: Colonial Park (Park Ranger Station) at 156 Mettlers Road, Somerset, NJ Duke Island Park (Visitor Center) at 191 Old York Road, Bridgewater.

For general information about donating to Toys for Tots, contact Toys for Tots Manager Sgt. Joe Bialiy at 908-231-7197, email Bialiy@co.somerset.nj.us, or visit www.toysfortots.org

The sign-up period for the Princeton Human Services Holiday Gift Drive has closed for 2022.

If you know of another local charity drive that should be on this list, please post your recommendation in the comments. Thank you.

Just some of the items the West Windsor Police Department collected for animals at areas shelters in 2021. File photo.

One Comment

  1. Another good option for a toy drive to support is Salvation Army’s drive in Trenton. They are connected with hundreds of local families in poorer neighborhoods of Trenton, and serve all equally.

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