Successfully Navigating The United Way Christmas Assistance Program

Planning for a happy Christmas for your family can be a very scary and anxious time if you lack the financial resources to properly celebrate with your children. Thankfully, not-for-profit agencies in cities and towns across the United States recognize this reality. In anticipation of this, many of these organizations come together during the holiday season to offer assistance to low-income families needing a bit of help to celebrate the holidays.

To access these programs, you must first understand the typical application process.


Step 1

Contact the local or regional office of the United Way. The national headquarters for the United Way provides this information and can be reached by going to to find your local chapter. Below are some local regional offices, but regardless where you reside in Riverside County, you can find your local United Way HERE.

Central County United Way (Hemet, San Jacinto, Moreno Valley)
418 E. Florida Avenue
Hemet, CA 92543
Phone: (951) 929-9691

United Way of the Inland Valleys (Temecula, Riverside, Perris, Lake Elsinore)
6215 River Crest Drive Ste. B
Riverside, CA 92507-0703
Phone: (951) 697-4700
Fax: (951) 656-8210

United Way of the Desert (Coachella, Palm Desert, Palm Springs)
PO Box 13210
Palm Desert, CA 92255
Phone: (760) 323-2731
Fax: (760) 565-6926

Step 2

Ask your local United Way representative about a “Christmas Bureau” or the availability of a community-based, low-income holiday assistance program.

Step 3

Obtain from the agency the dates and locations of where and when you and your family can sign up to participate in the program.

Step 4

Go to the application site provided on one of the dates of operation. Typically, applications are taken over the course of approximately a week about two to three weeks before the Christmas holiday.

Step 5

Complete the application provided at the site. The application asks for basic information about your family’s income, the ages of each member of your family and for an itemization of your basic needs. These programs usually provide a family with food as well as gifts for children.

Step 6

Submit the application at the site. You will be told whether your family qualifies for the program at that time.

Step 7

Ask for the date and time when you can pick up the food and other items for the holiday. Distributions normally occur the week of Christmas. Delivery to shut-ins usually is provided.

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