Holiday Programs

Holiday Programs

During the holiday season, Heartland United Way provides necessities and gift items to individuals experiencing extraordinary needs through two programs – Toys for Tots and Adopt a Family. Individuals who need holiday assistance must get a referral (for Adopt A Family) and complete the online only application (for Toys for Tots) to be considered for either program. The online application process will open online only for Toys for Tots on October 1st. The Heartland United Way works closely with local school social workers and the United Way community partners. Many area churches also help refer individuals to the programs. If you do not have an existing relationship with a local church or social worker at one of the qualified referral locations, call the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675 for assistance.

Each year, our organization is able to serve the referred individuals and families because of the generosity of our community members and the assistance of local businesses.


Toys for Tots

Heartland United Way works in partnership with the US Marine Corp each year to offer the Toys for Tots program which serves Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties. Locally, the Toys for Tots program provides holiday gift assistance for children age 12 and under whose parents are not financial able to provide gifts for them during the holidays. This program is not meant for providing additional toys.


Click here to apply for Toys for Tots.


Parents whose children are accepted into the program will receive a letter/voucher to “shop” for their child’s gift from the donated items. The goal is to collect enough items so each child will receive one toy, a stuffed animal, and a book or game. The Heartland United Way served over 2,128 local children through this program in 2020. 

Donations of new, unwrapped toys and gently-used books or stuffed animals are collected starting in November. Please drop off donations of new, un-wrapped toys at the Heartland United Way office (1441 N Webb Road, Grand Island). Not sure what toys to purchase? Click here to see our most needed items.

To sign your business up as a toy collection site, contact the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675 starting in October.
Please visit for volunteer needs starting in November.

Adopt A Family

The Adopt a Family program allows businesses, community members and organizations to provide local families with food, necessity items and gifts during the holidays. Families accepted into this program are experiencing extraordinary needs due to job loss, health issues, a house fire or other major circumstances. Adopters donate gifts to an assigned family anonymously based on a description of the family’s biggest needs. In 2020, Heartland United Way connected 51 local families with adopters through the program.

To adopt a family or provide monetary support for this program, contact the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675. *Adopters must be located in Hall, Hamilton, Howard or Merrick Counties in Nebraska.

All families must be referred or nominated by a social worker, church or other agency. 


Click Here to see 2020 recap of our Holiday Programs.