Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Request Holiday Gifts

Our program provides holiday toys and gifts for tens of thousands of children and teens at participating agencies.

Child receiving a New York Cares Winter Wishes package

Each year, children and teens from schools and nonprofits all over the city send New York Cares handwritten letters explaining their holiday wishes. Each wish is matched with a volunteer who will buy and send their gifts directly to the agency for distribution.

Application Process

All participating organizations in the Winter Wishes program must be a current New York Cares Community Partner and a public school, government agency, or 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As part of our strategy to deepen relationships with our existing Community Partners, any organization or school that participated in a New York Cares program within the past year will be invited to apply by email in mid-July.

This year, in line with our mission to meet community needs in the most meaningful way, the program will additionally focus on meeting the needs of low-income children and families. This means we will be prioritizing applications from family shelters, public housing facilities, and public schools with high economic need. Other eligible organizations are still welcome to apply but, due to limited capacity, we cannot guarantee any applicants a place in the program this year. These organizations will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

If your organization or school is not eligible to apply this year, we encourage you to refer to this New York City Holiday Drives and Resources document to connect with other gift drives happening in the city. New York Cares is not directly affiliated with these organizations, so please contact the organization listed directly for more information on their program.

If you have any additional questions about the Winter Wishes program, please contact us at