wsls logo

Looking to give? Here are the holiday meal and toy drives nearest you in Southwest, Central Virginia

Friendship House Roanoke and several other organizations need your donations this holiday season

ROANOKE, Va. – There are a variety of organizations across Southwest and Central Virginia making sure everyone gets a Thanksgiving meal and a gift this holiday season.

One of those is Friendship House Roanoke, a community center in Southwest Roanoke offering after-school programs, refugee family housing and provides weekly fresh groceries to families.

For Thanksgiving, its goal is to provide 150 food boxes to those in need and you can help fill them.

Before the pandemic, Friendship House was only packing food for about 40 families a week; however, since March, that number has skyrocketed to more than 120 families.

“They’ve been out of work or lacking suitable work, kids are home all day already as it is. This extra food isn’t just a holiday meal, but it’s going to get them through the next couple of weeks hopefully,” said executive director Aaron Dowdy.

Friendship House is asking the community to donate the fixings of a good holiday meal: canned vegetables, milk, butter, eggs, frozen turkeys, gravy, stuffing or a monetary donation. They give out similar food boxes in December too.

To set up an appointment to drop off your donations call 540-343-5437 or email

Here are additional food collections and distributions for the holidays.

Along with food, Friendship House Roanoke is also accepting toy donations for its Christmas Toy Store.

When you donate new unwrapped toys, kids art supplies, games, costumes and more Friendship House sells them to families in need of their program for 80% off.

Dowdy told 10 News it’s important to him and everyone that’s a part of the Christmas Toy Store that parents are able to shop for gifts with dignity.

“Being able to have a say in what your family gets and to be able to look at your child and say ‘Yes, I picked that out for you, do you like it?’ means all the world to us,” said Dowdy.

The toy store will be open for a week. Friendship House Roanoke is taking donations until Dec. 5.

Here are additional toy drives in the region:

If there’s a food drive or toy drive we missed, email and we can add it to the list.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.