Ways to Give Back


Photo of Round Hill Baptist Church participating in giving back during the 2020 holiday season. Photo taken by Ainsleigh Shipp.

Written by Ainsleigh Shipp, Megan Dunster, Sarah Burns, and Teagan Russell

The holidays are a time for people to give back to their communities, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, finding ways to donate is a little harder this year. Many organizations are still working hard this holiday season to ensure that families have food, supplies, and gifts to celebrate to the fullest.

One organization that focuses on toys for children is the Loudoun County Toys for Tots. During the regular season, roughly 300 volunteers work to get donated toys ready for distribution to children throughout the county. This year, only a small group in the Marine Corps League of Loudoun County ensures that children in need receive their toys.

Toys cannot be donated this year due to the pandemic, but monetary donations in the form of checks, made out to Toys for Tots, or cash, are being accepted. Anyone can make donations online, or by mailing to the Marine Corps League P. O. box at Toys for Tots, c/o Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 162, Purcellville, VA 20134. In addition, donations can be dropped off at one of the three locations in Leesburg: Leesburg airport, Ida Lee Park, or the Leesburg town hall. 

While the pandemic has hindered how Toys for Tots works, it does not take away from the organization’s purpose. Assistant coordinator Rita Sartori says, “It’s a little bit different, but as long as the bottom line is the same, and that we can provide toys to children for Christmas.”

To learn more about Loudoun County Toys for Tots, visit their website at https://loudoun-va.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx?nPageID=100&nPreviewInd=200&nRedirectInd=3

Another organization that provides help and support to families through different means is Loudoun Hunger Relief. 

Loudoun Hunger Relief provides balanced meals and emergency food supplies for people in need throughout the county. They are a nonprofit organization that has been helping Loudoun families since 1991. Their goal is to provide a community where everyone has access to sufficient, nutritious food. 

Because of COVID-19, traditional volunteering is not possible, but there are other ways you can help. Donations are always needed and appreciated. According to Volunteer Manager Carla Fortenberry, “Presorting the food for us ahead of time, or collecting one item would make our lives easier.”

The best items to donate are nonperishable foods and hygiene products. Full-sized items would be appreciated for all of the products. 

As well as individual items, three different kits can be donated. The first kit contains laundry products, including laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and stain sticks. The second kit is for personal hygiene and contains body soap, hand soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. The third kit you can donate contains kid-friendly food: cereal, peanut butter, jelly, snacks, and mac and cheese. 

Loudoun Hunger Relief is located at 750 Miller Drive, Suite A-1, Leesburg, 20175. “During the pandemic, we are doing a contactless donation drop off,” says Fortenberry.

To drop off your donations, park at the back of the building and place them on the tables or in the large bay door’s hampers. Donations are accepted Monday-Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. 

For more information about Loudoun Hunger Relief and donations, visit their website at https://www.loudounhunger.org/

While Loudoun Hunger Relief is contactless, Planet Aid, a nonprofit organization that collects donations to support people of all kinds, is also contact free. Clothes and other items are donated to projects such as Child Aid, Teacher Training, and Farmers’ Club in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to support their communities. 

 “We make it easy for you to recycle your textiles, which helps you protect the environment,” says Planet Aid Organization. Planet Aid doesn’t only support people in need, but they also help the environment. The donated clothes and shoes reduce the amount of CO2 and other gases that contribute to global warming. Clothes that decay in landfills release greenhouse gases, making donating a better way to save resources and better our environment.

Donation bins are located all over The United States. In Loudoun County, bins are located in the Dicks Sporting Goods parking lot at 1079 Edwards Ferry Rd NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 and the Lowe’s parking lot at 1390 Russell Branch Pkwy S.E., Leesburg, VA 20176. 

To learn more about Planet Aid and their organizations, visit their website at https://www.planetaid.org/ .

This holiday season, give back to people in need by donating to Toys for Tots, Loudoun Hunger, or Planet Aid.