Holiday Giving 2021

Help bring hope and joy to kids for the holidays!

There are many ways to get involved and give back this holiday season.


Sponsor a local youth or family and complete their holiday wish lists. 

  • Visit our Adopt-a-Family site.
  • Select a profile to see wish list details, purchasing guidelines, and drop-off instructions.
  • Each profile name will include “Ames,” “Des Moines,” or “Mason City,” which refers to the drop-off location.
  • Click “Select this Profile” to adopt the youth/family. You will be prompted to create a Roonga account to complete the process.
  • Be sure to print the profile to attach to your gifts.
  • You are expected to spend $75 per sponsored individual.

Drop-off Instructions:

Place gifts unwrapped in large boxes or bags, stapling the profile to label each. For multiple family members, include age and gender on gifts (example: F/12 or M/4). Contactless pick up is available.

Ames: YSS Family Counseling & Clinic
123 S. 3rd Street, Ames, Iowa
Thursday, Dec. 9, 2-6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 10, 2-6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Park in the north or east parking lots and enter the lower-level doors on the east side of the building. Volunteers will be waiting to help transfer the gifts inside.

Des Moines: IHYC Youth Opportunity Center
612 Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa
Nov. 2-Dec. 10, Noon to 6 p.m or by appointment. 
Metered parking is available along Locust Street, or park in the free drop-off zone directly in front of IHYC. If you would like assistance, knock on the door or call 515-883-2379 when you arrive.

Mason City: YSS Francis Lauer
50 N Eisenhower Ave., Mason City, Iowa
Dec. 4-11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (By appointment only)
If you would like assistance, knock on the door or call 641-423-7362 when you arrive.

Giving Trees

Beginning Nov. 1, stop by local businesses to participate in YSS Giving Trees. All items will benefit local youth and families in YSS’s programs.

  • Take a tag from a giving tree.
  • Purchase the requested item.
  • Return the gift, unwrapped with the tag attached, to the giving tree by Jan. 1.

Giving Tree Locations:

  • Ames Fitness Center (North & South)
  • Barilla
  • Dentistry at Somerset
  • Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping 
  • Great Western Bank
  • Green Hills
  • Iowa Family Chiropractic
  • ISU Athletics (Jacobson)
  • Kingland Systems
  • Lockwood Cafe
  • North Grand Mall
  • Re/Max Real Estate Center
  • St. John’s by the Campus
  • Workiva
Clear Lake

  • Clear Lake Library
  • Dean Snyder Construction
Des Moines

  • Valley West Mall (guest services, second floor)

  • Allie’s Hair Care
  • Flynn Real Estate
Mason City

  • Hometown Cash Advance
  • Hy-Vee West
  • Mills Fleet Farm
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • YSS Francis Lauer
  • YMCA

  • The Learning Pod
Story City
  • Great Western Bank
  • Next Era Energy
  • Veterans Memorial Recreational Center

Additional Ways to Get Involved

Provide a holiday care package (IHYC)

Help provide basic essentials and personal fun items for our outreach youth, who are likely housing unstable. Holiday care packages consist of a backpack and gift bag with items costing about $75 total. All donations must be dropped off at the IHYC Youth Opportunity Center by Friday, Dec. 10. To sign up, contact Blake Willadsen at 515-238-4099 or

Provide a holiday meal (IHYC)

Donate a Thanksgiving or winter holiday feast for youth staying at IHYC, or prepare an at-home meal kit for our families to make in their own kitchen. Sign up here.

Little Wishes (Francis Lauer)

Every year, YSS Francis Lauer collects essential items for youth and families in our programs.
Check out their wish list and dropoff info here.

Give to YSS

Donate to YSS to support all our programs and services that help provide hope and opportunity to youth. Give now.