All I want for Christmas: 25 Pittsburgh non-profits share their holiday wish lists

The holiday season is the perfect time to support Pittsburgh area non-profit organizations. Their wish lists include items they need to continue to provide goods and services to families throughout the year. Shopping for specific items, rather than sending a generic check, can be a family project that helps even your youngest kids realize the importance of reaching out to others less fortunate.

Many of these groups participate in the Amazon Smile program, too, in which Amazon shoppers can choose the organization to support through their purchases with a 0.5-percent donation of every eligible purchase.

1. Angels’ Place

Wish list: Diapers in sizes 3-6, new bibs, sippy cups, child-size silverware, baby food Stage 1, cereal, 1-percent milk, non-perishable food items, kitchen supplies, non-toxic art supplies, healthy snacks, office supplies

With a mission to support a community of joy, learning and discovery for single parents and their kids, Angels’ Place has two early childhood development and learning centers in North Side and Swissvale. The organization provides quality early childhood education, child care and family support for kids from birth through pre-K. Items can be dropped off during business hours.

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2. A+ School

Wish list: Puzzles, board games, books, crayons, coloring books, DVDs, and craft kits.

As an advocate for improving public education in Pittsburgh, A+ Schools offers training, workshops, and community discussions for parents. Free childcare at these events helps eliminate the babysitting barrier. The organization’s wish items will keep kids busy as their parents learn at these sessions. Items can be donated at A+ Schools, Uptown, during office hours.


Wish list: Puzzles, board games, coloring books, building blocks and other tactile games, children’s books that center on kids of color and immigrant youth, handheld whiteboards, a projector, sports balls, ball pump, snack foods like crackers, breakfast bars and pretzels.

ARYSE , the Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education, promotes immigrant and refugee kids in Allegheny County to help provide a welcome and supportive environment. Founded in 2013, ARYSE has grown to four programs, which include a summer camp, an after-school series and a girls’ maker group.

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4. Beverly’s Birthdays

Wish list: Axe Body Spray/Body Wash gift sets, size 1 diapers, diverse baby dolls, Bath & Body Works gift sets, hair bows, gift cards (Subway, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts) for teens.

Beverly’s Birthdays provides birthday cheer to children experiencing homelessness and families in need. The nonprofit organization enriches the lives of the children it serves by making sure they are remembered on their special day. Donation coordination can be done by e-mailing or dropping off items at 9799 Laurel Ave., North Huntingdon, during business hours or in the drop-off box.

5. Books for Change

Wish list: Picture books from a select list of 90 books that promote equity and teach children how to stand up for social justice. You can buy a book from the list here or purchase one at White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield or City Books in the North Side.

Books for Change started after last year’s tragedy at Tree of Life synagogue. In response, the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development led an effort that culminated with 3,000 books that help children embrace diversity and process fear being donated to children in Squirrel Hill and throughout the Pittsburgh region.

6. The Bradley Center

Wish list: Headphones, earbuds, LEGOs, Matchbox cars, MP3 players, footballs, basketballs, puzzles, coloring books, toys, soft socks, pajamas, DVD movies, gift cards (Target, Walmart and Five Below).

The Bradley Center is committed to improving the lives of kids affected by trauma, mental illness and behavioral health challenges.

7. The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center

Wish list: Gift cards, baby and toddler toys, baby equipment (car seats, high chairs, bouncers), baby bottles, preemie and newborn onesies and clothing, diapers, baby wipes, infant activity tables, play kitchen items, arts-and-crafts sets.

Donations directly help children and families in the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh’s three programs: Adoption, Child’s Way, and the Pediatric Specialty Hospital. For health and safety reasons, all donations must be new and in original packaging. Donations can be dropped off at the front desk anytime, including evenings and weekends.

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8. The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

Wish list: New toys, games, book, activity supplies, equipment and newly purchased stuffed animals with tags attached.

With a history well over 100 years, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is nationally recognized. With outpatient physical and behavioral health services, educational services, and family services, The Children’s Institute is dedicated to its mission: To Heal. To Teach. To Empower. To Amaze.

9. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Neighborhood Sweater Drive

Wish list: New or gently used adult and child-sized sweaters needed for 19th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive through Dec. 17.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is holding its 19th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive to distribute to families in need. The museum has collected more than 40,000 sweaters over the past 19 years. Drop off sweaters in collection bins in the Children’s Museum lobby or one of two new donation points at One Oxford Center and Heinz Hall Courtyard during Holiday KidsPlay events.

10. The Education Partnership

Wish list: Hygiene items (toothbrushes, deodorant, cleaning wipes, hairbrushes, shampoo), notebooks, folders copy paper, erasers, scissors, dry erase markers, tape, crayons, glue, large pencils (preschool sized), clothing.

The Education Partnership provides school supplies for students and their teachers in low-income schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Every year, thousands of teachers in the region are eligible to receive hundreds of dollars’ worth of school supplies for use in their classrooms, all at no cost to them or their schools. The Education Partnership bridges the gap between what students have and what they need to succeed.

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11. Family House, Inc.

Wish list: Gift cards, food pantry supplies, such as breakfast bars, cake mixes, crackers, snack packs, non-perishable gluten-free items, canned soups and vegetables, microwaveable popcorn. Guest House needs include toiletries, pots and pans, umbrellas, to-go coffee cups,

Family House provides a home away from home for patients and families who must travel to Pittsburgh for treatment of serious illnesses, offering the small comforts of home help in stressful times. Additional Wish List items on Amazon can be shipped directly to the office.

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12. Foster Love Project

Wish list:  Car seats and booster seats, bikes, strollers, helmets, tennis shoes, Alimentum formula, packs of socks and underwear for ages 3-18, pillows, crib mattresses, crib and twin sheets, twin bed-in-a-bag sets.

In 2018, Foster Love Project served more than 3,000 local kids in foster care, helping to ease the transition for kids moving in and out of home placements by providing travel filled with pajamas, a blanket, stuffed animal, socks, soap, toothbrush, and a book.

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13. Homewood Children’s Village

Wish list: Hats, gloves and socks for kids.

The mission of Homewood Children’s Village is to improve the lives of kids in Homewood and change their odds on the future. Programs cover kids from “cradle to career” with the idea that mom and dad are the first teachers, collaborating with them, and working with organizations throughout the community through every stage of a child’s life.

14. Jeremiah’s Place

Wish list: Giant Eagle and Target gift cards, new clothes for ages 0-5, canned and non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, snacks, arts and craft supplies, children’s costumes. Additional wish lists can be found through Amazon Smiles and Target.

Jeremiah’s Place is the only crisis nursery in the region, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and nearly 365 days a year.

15. Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center

Wish list: Hats, gloves, chapstick, hand lotion and pocket tissues.

Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center, a community-based outgrowth of Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, operates with the mission to encourage the development of healthy families. Programming includes family engagement services, truancy intervention, and support for families in crisis.

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16. Northside Food Pantry

Wish list: Bulk packages of non-perishable food (a case of soup, for example, rather than a can) and household items, such as paper towels and cleaning products.

Northside Food Pantry helps nearly 1,000 of its neighbors stretch their grocery budgets each month. Donations of food and household items are welcome from 9:30 a.m.-noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

17. Open Field

Wish list: Soccer balls, replica soccer jerseys, athletic ball caps, sports watches, backpack or drawstring sports bags.

Open Field’s mission is to improve the lives and futures of youth through sport. Items on our wishlist support kids from ages 8-18 in low-resources neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Kids participate in learning life skills and mentoring through educational soccer programming.

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18. Providence Connections

Wish list: Gift cards, diapers and wipes, including training pants; new backpacks and school supplies; new cold-weather accessories for children; new or gently used children’s clothing, all seasons and all sizes, especially shoes; and home cleaning products, including laundry detergent, dish soap and paper towels.

Providence Connections helps at-risk kids and families by establishing the support network they need, working with families to secure necessary resources, gain skills through adult enrichment courses, grow through family programming, and access high-quality early childhood programs.

19. The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute

Wish list: Chess sets and pieces, digital chess clocks, notation pads and chess books at any level).

Since The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute began in 2014, the chess school has partnered with 50 organizations to expand game knowledge with Pittsburgh kids. By playing chess, kids develop forward-thinking, relationship-building and considering multiple outcomes.

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20. Ronald McDonald House Charities

Wish list: Gift cards for grocery stores, tickets for athletic, theater and family events; G-rated DVD movies, new toy and gift items; pantry staples, such as cereal, popcorn, juice boxes, single-serving snacks; personal care items, including soap and shampoo.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh gives families a place to stay as they travel to Pittsburgh to get life-saving medical care for their kids. Check the organization’s Amazon wish list for one-stop donation shopping or call ahead to drop off items.

21. Sarah Heinz House

Wish list: Sensory kits for kids, volleyballs, basketballs, board games, and XBOX One controllers.

Sarah Heinz House has been a safe and welcoming place for Pittsburgh kids since 1901. Programs and social activities advance learning and creativity and nurture physical and emotional development. As kids grow into leadership roles in Sarah Heinz House and engage in philanthropic activities, they are prepared to become community leaders as adults.

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22. South Hills Interfaith Movement

Wish list: Personal care items, such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes, soap, diapers,  baby food, non-perishable food and gently used clothing.

South Hills Interfaith Movement is celebrating more than 50 years of neighbors helping neighbors by providing food, clothing and services to people in need in Pittsburgh’s southern suburban neighborhoods. Food pantries at three sites serve people residing in Baldwin-Whitehall, Bethel Park, South Park, Keystone Oaks, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair school districts.

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23. Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank

Wish list: Diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6 are most requested), baby wipes.

The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank collects and supplies diapers to families through social service agencies in four counties (Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland, and Somerset). By partnering with other non-profit agencies, faith-based institutions, and childcare providers, the diaper bank aims to increase the distribution of needed diapers to families and individuals in need.

24. Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

Wish list: Gift cards (VISA, Target, Walmart), journals and notebooks, new hairbrushes and combs, Diaper Genie refill bags, bath towels, full-size toiletries, new pajamas, robes, slippers, underwear for women and kids, baby pacifiers, bibs, bottles and wipes.

Donations will help the Women’s Center & Shelter provide survivors of intimate partner violence and their children with basic needs while seeking a place of safety. Also requested are Smartphones and cellphones (no chargers or accessories) – donations will result in a monetary donation to Women’s Center & Shelter through Shelter Alliance.

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25. YWCA Pittsburgh 

Wish list: Coats, scarves, socks, gloves and hats for kids and adults, plus baby diapers, for housing client families; crayons, colored pencils, coloring books and markers for kids’ activities and projects.

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, with a service record of 150 years, provides safe affordable housing to homeless and low-income families, child care and pre-K education, along with community health and wellness programs. Items can be dropped off during business hours Mondays through Fridays at the Downtown or Homewood YWCA locations.