stephanie-rokichby Stephanie Rokich
Community Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

The first time I participated in a Sub4Santa program was in high school. Each grade level sponsored a group of families who didn’t have a lot of money for food and gifts that holiday season. We had competitions in our homeroom classes to see who could collect the most items, and then we were invited to wrap the gifts and deliver them to families that winter.

One year, I remember having a lot of fun with my friends wrapping gifts during the week and delivering the gifts and food to a family that weekend. It was a cold, snowy day, and the apartment my group visited was in a cramped complex. We knocked on the door, and as it opened, a woman inside lit up when she saw our shivering group carrying the load of items. We were invited inside and greeted by the whole family – adults and children, cousins and grandparents. Everyone was happy to see us, and, as we talked with the family, I soon realized that it wasn’t just about the gifts or the food. The family truly appreciated that someone cared enough about a bunch of strangers to donate and hand deliver gifts to them. I also realized that day how much I got out of that experience. It was fun, it felt good, and it made me appreciate what I had even more than before.

Holiday Giving Back

The beauty of an experience like this is that it’s so often mutual; both the giver and the recipient feel a connection and a sense of community. Everyone can share in that sense of community, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to do that. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, United Way of Salt Lake encourages you to find a way to share in the spirit of the season.

Holiday Giving

Wondering where to start? Check out United Way of Salt Lake’s 2015 Holiday Opportunity List and find more than 40 ways to get involved this November and December throughout Salt Lake, Summit, and Davis counties. With all kinds of volunteer and in-kind donation needs at various agencies, you’re sure to find a fit for you and your family. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! Here are some of the many opportunities:


Agency: United Way of Salt Lake

Contact: Stephanie Rokich, 801-746-2566,

Date/Time: Now – Dec. 1

Location: 257 East 200 South, Ste. 300, SLC 84111

Donations: Keep kids warm this winter by donating clothing! All donations will be given to students at various community schools and neighborhood centers. Donate winter clothing now through Dec. 1, Mon. – Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. We need NEW items: socks, gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, beanies, boots, and coats. Clothing should be for girls and boys ages 4-18.


Agency: Saint Andrew Food Pantry

Contact: Tinisha Turner, 801-871-5080,

Volunteer: We need 30 volunteers to distribute holiday boxes. Carry food boxes to recipients’ vehicles. Volunteers under 13 need an adult present. Older teens need guardian permission. Background check and online safe environment course for all adults required.

Date/Time: 11/19

Donations: creamy soups, fruit cocktail, pineapple, green beans, condensed/sweetened milk, broth, yams/sweet potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, potato flakes, gravy, pie fillings and crusts, jell-o, rolls (powdered or frozen), butter/margarine, turkeys.


Agency: Granite Education Foundation

Contact: Deb Coffey, 801-541-6240,

Date/Time: Now – Nov. 16

Donations: The holidays can present financial challenges for many families. The Santa Sacks program provides giftss to 2,000 under-served children. You can help by donating sacks with one each of the following NEW items: fleece blanket, crayons, colored pencils, coloring book, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, book, socks, winter hat, mittens or gloves, and a toy.


Agency: Bicycle Collective

Contact: Sharah Yaddaw, 801-328-2453,

Volunteer: Help fix hundreds of children’s bicycles before the end of the year! No experience necessary. Consider bringing a water bottle, snacks, clothes that you don’t mind working in, and rubber gloves.

Date/Time: Now – Dec. 15, Mon. – Fri., 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Mon. 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: 2312 South West Temple, Salt Lake City 84115

Donations: bicycles of any type and quality, and bike accessories.


Agency: Davis County Health Dept. Senior Services

Contact: Jessica Hardcastle, 801-525-5087,

Donations: Davis County Health Department’s Senior Services is holding a gift drive to help make the holidays a little brighter for senior citizens. Call for details. Gift request will not exceed $50.


Agency: Fourth Street Clinic

Contact: Celeste Rich, 385-234-5730,

Donations: new hats, gloves, and socks.


Agency: Murray City Heritage Center

Contact: Susan Gregory, 801-284-4237,

Volunteer: Decorate the Center by putting up trees, hanging garland and other decorations, etc.

Date/Time: Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, between 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: 10 East 6150 South, Murray 84107

Donations: barber chair, conference table and chairs, large screen tv or a ceiling mounted LCD projector.


Agency: Wasatch Back Trees

Contact: Jason Barto, 435-503-8968,

Volunteer: We will be planting trees to provide shade for parts of the Rail Trail in Coalville as part of Coalville’s Arbor Day Celebration. Please bring a shovel or rake, appropriate footwear, gloves, and a water bottle. Training will be provided by an ISA Certified Arborist. Volunteers should be 13 or older.

Date/Time: November 9, 3:00 p.m.

Location: Coalville

Donations: landscaping tools-wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, orchard ladders.