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This year's dining issue of Desert Companion includes not only the 2022 Restaurant Awards, but also a special section called Street Eats, celebrating both fine dining and everyday eating out in Las Vegas.

Gift of Giving: The 2022 Desert Companion Holiday Charity and Volunteer Guide

Kids holding balloons and smiling for the camera.
The Garden Foundation

What's that old axiom? That's right: Giving is better than getting, especially around the holidays! Whatever your charity niche is (helping cute animals, increasing literacy, or serving those who served us), spread some cheer this year with these volunteer opportunities

All Vegas Horses/L.E.A.N.

Look into the eyes of a horse, and you’ll understand why this charity strives for “a forever home, not just any barn.” By becoming one of their monthly donor sentinels, you can sponsor a specific horse, or your donation can be used as needed to help other horses. The organization has wish lists on its social media page,
and sponsors can help deliver a holiday gift basket
to their adopted horse.


Sponsor Message


Assistance League of Las Vegas Thrift Shop

Jingle bells are ringing for this organization whose signature program, Operation School Bell, provides essentials for children (K-12) giving them incentive to remain in school. Shopping their thrift store for holiday needs helps to fund free school supplies, free grocery stamps (which can assist with holiday food purchases), Christmas toy programs, gift cards for low income or single moms (which can help with presents), and Meals on Wheels.



Sponsor Message

Dress For Success Southern Nevada

Dress for Success provides women with support services, give them professional attire, and assist them in growing personal and professional skills to help them thrive in and out of the workplace. It has stylists on staff, ready to curate closets with up to 10 free outfits per woman when they find employment. The organization also offers career coaches, résumé help, and practice interviews. It welcomes donations, as well as volunteers to sort and process clothing, year-round.



Families for Effective Autism Treatment (F.E.A.T.) of Southern Nevada

Sponsor Message

Add a little inclusion to your holidays by supporting this charity. F.E.A.T. will need both donations and volunteers to help host this year’s Christmas event, featuring a Christmas
movie for kids; toys for the younger ones and gift cards for the older teens; dinner; and family photos. 



Forgotten not Gone

This Black-owned organization inspires veterans to #GetOutTheDamnHouse to escape the isolation and loneliness that can come with returning home combat. The goal? Preventing veteran suicide and fostering community. Organizers host weekly bike rides for those struggling with PTSD (though all are welcome). Grab your bicycle and join them in Vegas’ MLK Day parade on January 16th.



Friends of Red Rock Canyon

This group keeps the park in good condition for its three million yearly visitors. Nature enthusiasts can spend their Christmas break volunteering at the Visitor Center’s information desk, helping with the tortoise habitat and hummingbird population, doing canyon cleanup and trail repair, removing graffiti, preserving Indigenous cultural sites, and maintaining trees and plants. The organization also welcomes monetary and gardening equipment donations.



Golden Rainbow

A concrete way to “love thy neighbor,” Golden Rainbow provides affordable and accessible housing for men, women, and children who are HIV/AIDS-infected or affected. Mark your calendars for December 4: Ticket sales from the organization’s Ribbon of Life Holiday Spectacular, which offers attendees a red carpet, silent auction, benefit show, and after-party, all go toward funding Golden Rainbow’s housing services.


Heaven can wait

For the 175,000-plus dogs and cats saved since this group was founded in 2000, heaven can wait but your generosity cannot. The Miracle on Eastern Avenue event, December 11-17, features an online fundraiser with auction items and more.



HELP of Southern Nevada

Stuff stockings with hope this year by supporting HELP’s work connecting unhoused clients with services, allowing Las Vegans to find and stay in housing since 1970. Donate bikes, unwrapped gifts, and gift cards to the organization’s 24th annual toy drive, which partners with local radio station 98.5 KLUC. 

Flamingo location:702-369-4357;Lake Mead


Henderson Equality Center

This charity offers volunteers and donors something to feel pride in this Christmas: helping to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. On December 18, the Center will be holding its Xmas Toy Drive, where participants get to help hand out toys. Corporate sponsorships and monetary donations are also encouraged both during the holidays and year-round.



Hope For Prisoners

This charity was established to transform the lives of imprisoned Nevadans, but you just may be the one transformed when you get involved. Their 100 Christmases program is always seeking volunteers and donations. You can help set up 100 separate living rooms in one location, each with their own Christmas tree, presents, and dinner, allowing prisoners to reunite with their families for the day.




This nonprofit focuses on Indigenous voices, culture, and identity through the arts. By raising and distributing funding around the community, IndigenousAF hopes to preserve Native American art and introduce it to the next generation. Visit its website to see all latest volunteer opportunities!


Leah Willis Dance Arts

Committed to bring performance arts education to both Black and low-income youth, this organization teaches dance as a creative outlet. Its goal is to help students improve academically, learn valuable social skills, and foster a lifelong love of the arts. Volunteer positions include assistants and instructors. Supporters can make a one-time or continued donation on Leah Willis Dance Arts’ website.



Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

The It’s a Wrap Holiday Block Party enlists volunteers to wrap gifts for youth listed on their holiday wish list, located on NPHY’s website and social media. The community is welcome to donate their time,money, and items. 


Project 150

Volunteers  and donors help pack and deliver 2,000 holiday meal boxes and throw a Secret Santa party, where needy families’ wish lists are fulfilled.


Serving Our Kids Foundation

No child should go hungry, especially over the holidays. This foundation, which serves 4,000 children at 105 schools each week, offers volunteers the chance to help pack and deliver food baskets for 100 families on Christmas Eve.


Spread The Word Nevada

This organization, which promises to “change lives one book at a time,” has distributed 6.7 million books since 2001. Donate one holiday book  (or a batch of them) to
give the gift of reading to local students.



Springs Preserve Christmas Tree Recycling Program

The Christmas Tree Recycling Committee has been a Southern Nevada institution for almost 30 years, helping Las Vegas avoid creating unnecessary waste by recycling old Christmas trees for free. Participate in this tradition by bringing your own tree to any of their many drop-off sites around the Valley or, for even greater convenience, you can get it hauled away and recycled for $25.

702-822-7700 or 702-895-3760


The Garden Foundation

What could be more personal than giving a gift made with love? Visit the Garden Foundation’s online store with Boxes of Sunshine, T-shirts, and handmade greeting cards to give back while also fulfilling your gift list, or stop by the Dig It! Coffee Company for a festive cup of joe and coffee stocking stuffers for loved ones.


U.S. Vets Las Vegas

An excellent way to say, “Thank you for your service!” this charity allows you to serve those who have served us. U.S. Vets provides more than 330 beds of transitional and permanent housing, and their employment program helps more than 110 veterans return to the workforce every year. Volunteers are needed to serve and engage in fellowship at their meal events hosted during the holidays.