Five Ways to Give Back in Madison this Month

As 2020 comes to a close, I think we are all a bit relieved to see a new year ahead of us. It’s been a long, tough year, and devastating for many who have lost loved ones, closed a business or lost their income due to Covid. Locally, demand for support has increased as many struggle to afford basic food or necessities. For those that are able, it’s a great time to give back to your local community. 

Here are just a few local options for giving back this month:


SwimWest | Toys for Tots

SwimWest is hosting its annual Toys for Tots toy drive, with a box available by each entrance for new, unwrapped toys. You can drop off at either location (Fitchburg or Deming way) or call from the parking lot for curbside drop-off. They are open 9am-7pm Monday through Friday and 8am-noon on Saturday. Normally the bins are overflowing with gifts, but this year donations are down just as need has increased. If you are able to donate a new toy, it would mean a great deal to families in our community! For more information, call 608.831.6829.

MOM | Winter Wishes Program

The Winter Wishes program has always been about bringing people together, but that is extra challenging this winter season. This year, to create the safest program for all, they are collecting donations for $50 gift cards for families and individuals in need. These gift cards will be given with special cards and messages of hope and joy. Last year, MOM served nearly 1400 individuals – and this year, they are expecting an even larger need. If you’re able to help donate to this program, click here.

Dane Buy Local | Soups On! 

Local businesses (particularly restaurants) have been devastated by the impact of Covid-19. Dane Buy Local has a creative way to help support local businesses AND give back to the local community. Their Soup’s On! Program is hosted twice in December (December 8 and 15) and is an opportunity to purchase soup from local restaurants or donate soup to FEED Kitchen’s Healthy Food For All program. This is a fun way to support local restaurants or share healthy food with our community. Soup can be picked up in a safe, easy drive-thru at FEED Kitchens. For more information, click here

American Family Children’s Hospital | Meal Train

You can brighten the day for a unit of frontline employees at University Hospital and UW Health at The American Center by providing a meal from a local restaurant. These staff members are working around the clock to protect and care for the health of our patients, community and hospital staff. Choose to donate a number of meals (25-50) or purchase a gift card for the workers from a local restaurant or food delivery service. For more information, click here or find a list of all the ways you can support AFCH this year here

Madison Reading Project | Wishlists

Did you know 2 out of 3 children from low-income homes have no books at home? Help share the joy of reading by donating a book to Madison Reading Project. Their wishlists are regularly updated with high quality books and programming supplies that help their organization support literacy in our community. For more information, click here.  


We hope this list helps inspire you to give back this month, and if you know of other organizations that need our support, please feel free to share them in the comments below. We are all hoping for a brighter 2021 and we know this community will do what it can to support those in need this season.