Holiday Outreach

Each Holiday season, we invite you to join with your colleagues at Princeton University to help make the season bright for local families, individuals and agencies who are in need during the holidays.

Whether you want to participate individually or as a group, there is someone who can use your help.

Below is a list of local agencies and special initiatives that will help you to connect with those in need during the holiday season.

If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Mercuro at (609) 258-5144 or send e-mail to

In addition to the office of Community and Regional Affairs partners with various departments to coordinate these events during the holiday season: Food DriveGrateful Greetings and Community Threads.   

Needed Items

Arm in Arm (formerly the Crisis Ministry)

Updated November 2021

Arm In Arm partners with low-income families and individuals each month to help them achieve stability in housing, food security, and work. Located at three service sites in Trenton and Princeton, Arm In Arm offers direct aid and resources for Hunger Prevention, Homelessness Prevention, and Workforce Development.


Most Needed Items: Non-perishable food items (no glass containers):

  • Maseca Corn Flour
  • canned low-fructose fruit
  • canned low-sodium vegetables
  • canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or chili
  • canned beans or 1 lb. bag dried beans
  • cold and hot cereals
  • shelf stable milk
  • olive and canola oil
  • herbs and spices
  • honey

Drop off items Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Arm In Arm office, which is located in the basement of Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau St. (behind Richardson Auditorium). Contact Arm in Arm to arrange drop-off other than the times listed above.

Volunteer: Arm in Arm needs volunteers to assist with its food pantries. On-site bag packing volunteers have no direct interaction with the general public, adhere to social distancing and mask requirements, and are limited to 4 people at a time. Contact Cecilia Avila at



Updated November 2021

HomeFront’s mission is to end homelessness in Mercer County by harnessing the caring, resources, and expertise of the community.  


Most needed items: Sponsor a child through the Holiday Wishes Drive. Sponsors are asked to purchase two of the child's desired gifts in addition to new clothing and shoes.



To sponsor a child contact Christina at (609) 854-6613 or before December 10, 2021, to receive a child’s wish list


One Simple Wish

Updated October 2021

One Simple Wish was founded by a foster/adoptive parent who wanted to empower more people to support children who've been victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment in very simple yet meaningful ways. Fulfill a wish by browsing though the organization's online listing of wishes posted on behalf of foster children and at-risk youth all over the United States. 


Most Needed items: gift cards from Target, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Applebee's, TGI Friday's, AMC Theatres, Regal/United Artists Theater, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. 

Gift cards can be mailed to: One Simple Wish Attn: Holiday Giving, 1977 Olden Avenue #292, Trenton, NJ  08618. 

Volunteer: To find opportunities visit

Contact One Simple Wish at (609) 883-8484 or

Princeton Human Services

Updated October 2021

Through advocacy, leadership, and collaboration, the Department of Human Services helps to improve the quality of life of individuals in the Municipality of Princeton who are vulnerable, economically disadvantaged, or otherwise in need. 


Most Needed Items: Over 300 economically disadvantaged children in Princeton, up to the age of 12, will be filling out their holiday wish list for two gifts they need, or would like to receive, for the holidays, which are not to exceed $75 (total of both gifts).

In addition to sponsoring a child, donors can also donate a gift card in the amount of $50-$75 for parents/families of the children being sponsored. 

Please keep in mind these wishes are a true need and may be the only gift the child receives. 

 To sign up visit: 


The deadline to sign-up to be a donor is Friday, November 19, 2021.  


Princeton Nursery School

Updated October 2021

Princeton Nursery School is an educational preschool and child care facility for children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 years.  Located at 78 Leigh Avenue , PNS is nestled in the heart of the John Witherspoon community of Princeton. 


Most Needed items:

This year PNS needs your support more than ever to bring some holiday spirit to the children of PNS. With the school at capacity PNS needs more friends to help continue their tradition of a Secret Santa Drive. PNS has 84 children representing 43 families to support this holiday season.

Traditionally PNS has asked for friends of PNS to purchase at least one toy and clothing item for each child. For families most in need PNS also asks you to consider donating a grocery gift card as well. PNS will provide you with information about the child's interests and clothing sizes. PNS will then distribute these secret Santa gifts to the parents to put under the Christmas tree for all their children in the family.

If you would like to learn more and / or "adopt" a child or family this holiday season, please email


Volunteer: Be a classroom or office assistant. Volunteer one time or on a regular basis

Contact Rosanda Wong at
609-921-8606 or

Princeton Middle School Thanksgiving Drive

Updated November 2021

The PTO and Do Something Club are putting together Thanksgiving baskets to help families in need in our Princeton community. The Do Something Club will compile all the donations into beautiful baskets with cards and ribbon.

Most Needed:

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Cooking oils
  • Dry beans, pinto or black (no chick peas or lentils, please)
  • Dry pasta
  • White rice
  • Flour
  • Masa Harina - brands include Maseca, Masaria, Torti Masa (typically at Lupita Market or Shop Rite)
  • Spices/seasonings - cumin, cinnamon, achiote/annatto, salt, pepper, bay leaves
  • Knorr stock cubes or other bouillon stock cubes
  • Sugar
  • Gift cards

If you would like to donate, please sign up using the following link before November 19:

Drop off location: The Giving box by the main entrance of Princeton Middle School

217 Walnut Lane 

Princeton, NJ 08549


Princeton Public Schools Winter Coat & Clothing Drive

Updated November 2021

Princeton Public Schools is collecting gently used items for distribution to the community. 

Most Needed items:

  • Children's clothing
  • Men's/Ladies' clothing
  • Winter coats
  • Shoes & boots
  • Bedding & blankets
  • Hats
  • Gloves & mittens

Drop off donations November 15-19 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at any Princeton Public School

Please pre-sort donations before dropping them off.

Contact Sarah Torian at

Princeton Young Achievers

Updated November 2021

The Princeton Young Achievers is Princeton’s only afterschool program that provides homework/enrichment help to children from lower income neighborhoods. PYA operates after school  for children grades K-5.

Most Needed items: PYA asked their students to create wish lists of 2-3 gifts under $20 through their Wishing Tree Project.

Stop by the front desk Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm by December 5 to collect an assigned gift, or call the office at 609-497-9622.

Princeton Family YMCA is located at:

59 Paul Robeson Place
Princeton, NJ 08540

Contact Virgen Perez at 787-710-4362 or with any questions.  

Rescue Mission of Trenton

Updated November 2020

The Rescue Mission operates an emergency shelter and provides addiction services and housing for those in need in Trenton.


Most Needed items: 

  • underclothes for men and women
  • washcloths
  • towels
  • deodorant 
  • razors

Items can be dropped off at the Rescue Mission care of Nikki Graham:

98 Carroll Street
Trenton, NJ, 08605

Call (609) 695-1436 x128 to have someone meet you at the door when delivering donations. 

Contact Niki Graham at (609) 695-1436 x 129 or


Updated October 2021

SAVE has been rescuing and sheltering abandoned, abused, and homeless dogs and cats in the greater Princeton area since 1941. SAVE provides life-saving medical treatment, food and training to hundreds of animals every year.


Most Needed items: 

New or gently used toys, canned food for cats and dogs (no dry food, linens, towels, comforters, crates, or carriers).

Items can be dropped off and left on the benches at 1010 Route 601, Skillman, NJ during the following times:

Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm Sunday/Monday 10 am-4 pm

Volunteer: Contact the volunteer coordinator at and complete an online application.

Contact Jill Van Tuyl at (609) 309-5214 or

Senior Care Services of Greater Princeton

Updated October 2021

Senior Care Services of Greater Princeton is a nonprofit organization located in Princeton dedicated to assisting the home-bound elderly in our community. The organization’s services include health-related transportation, food shopping, and friendly visiting.


Most Needed items: gift cards to ShopRite and McCaffrey's in denominations of $10 or $20


Mail gift cards to:

Senior Care Services of Greater Princeton
P.O. Box 1517
Princeton, NJ, 08542.

Volunteer: Help is needed year round to help with grocery shopping, driving clients to medical appointments and friendly visits. Volunteer opportunities are very flexible. 

Contact Adriana Morabito at (609) 921-8888 or

The Father Center (formerly UIH Family Partners)

Updated November 2021

The Father Center, Trenton's oldest non-profit, was established as an orphanage in 1859 by leading Trenton families. TFC focuses on protecting children in families where one parent, frequently the father, does not live with their children. TFC serves more than 1,500 fathers a year, helping them love, mentor, and support their children. 


Most Needed items: Outdoor work/heavy clothing for men. All size large or XL: 

  • workboots (size 9-13)
  • Dickies shirts and pants
  • socks, gloves, and hats
  • thermal underwear 
  • coats
  • Work bags (duffle bags)
  • Belts

Other gift ideas: Hand and footwarmers, travel coffee cups, toiletries

The Father Center is located at:

One West State Street, Fl 5
Trenton, NJ 08608

Contact Cynthia Wade at 609-695-3663 ext. 1010 or


Updated October 2020

Womanspace provides options and works to decrease the isolation and increase the safety for victims of domestic violence. They are a nonprofit agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for women in crisis. 

Most needed items: New items for women:

  • two-piece sleepwear
  • underwear (size medium)
  • footwear (no heels)

New items for girls:

  • new sneakers (size 4, 5, 6)
  • underwear (all sizes)
  • sleepwear (size 12-18)

New items for boys and girls:

  • toys for age 11-16
  • winter and spring coats
  • casual clothing

Other gift ideas: gifts cards to Target, Wal-Mart, grocery stores, and clothing stores

Drop off holiday donations on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm by December 14. Womanspace is located at:

1530 Brunswick Avenue 
Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648

Donors can call 609-394-0136 to have someone meet them at the door if they're not comfortable going into the building.  

Volunteer: Volunteers are needed for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault teams. More information is on the Womanspace website.

Contact Althea Jones at (609) 394-9000 or

YWCA Princeton “St Nicholas Project”

Updated November 2021

Participants in The St. Nicholas Project are matched with a Princeton family and purchase gifts and a supermarket gift certificate for food. The Project allows parents to create the magic of Christmas for their children. Having a gift given to a child by a stranger (however well-meaning) cannot compare to the feeling of waking up on Christmas Day to find that Santa came to their house. The magic of Christmas is an invaluable gift to these children and their parents. Thank you for keeping the magic alive!


Email Jill Jachera to be matched with a family. Provide her with the following information:

  1. Your current contact information (name, email, and phone)
  2. Size of family you wish to be matched with (small, medium, large)
  3. Gender preference of children, if you have one


If you do not wish to adopt an entire family, but still want to participate, you can donate books, pajamas, hats, gloves, or even money to cover tuition. All items will be distributed to St. Nicholas families.


All items must be dropped off by December 13, 2021, between 8 a.m.-12 noon, in the Bramwell House located next to the YWCA on the corner of Rt. 206 and Paul Robeson Place.

59 Paul Robeson Place
Princeton, NJ, 08540

Contact Jill Jachera for program guidelines and family assignments at