Join our community-wide effort to embrace families in need for the holidays

Every year, the Embrace-a-Family Program provides gifts and holiday cheer for individuals and families in need across San Diego County. From single-parent families, to military veterans, to older adults living on a tight fixed income, we work together with our community to make the holidays possible for those who might not otherwise be able to celebrate. Your support makes this special time of year a whole lot brighter.


There’s more than one way to be an Embracer! And no matter how you choose to help, you’ll be making a big difference in the lives of individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet.

There’s no better time to give back together than the holidays. Gather your coworkers, friends, or family members to embrace a family as a team! We plan to embrace more than 600 San Diegans this year, so we need your support more than ever.

Get Matched with a Family

We’ll send you a description of who you’re embracing, and the items on their holiday wish list.

Make a Donation

Cash donations cover the costs of last minute gift purchases and help us reach families who aren’t matched with an Embracer.

“We cannot begin to express our gratitude for what was given to our family. Your kindness will never be forgotten.”


Read more about how it works below, or talk to a member of our Volunteer Engagement team. They’re here to help you get started.

How It Works

Getting Matched with a Family

Embracers are matched 1-on-1 with a family or older adult client at JFS. Once you register as an Embracer, we’ll provide you with a description of who you’re embracing – including the age and gender of any children – and the items on each family member’s wish list.

Not sure about embracing an entire family, but still want to help?

We think that’s great! You can still participate by donating new or unused toys, gifts for men or women, hygiene items, or gift cards. Cash donations are also greatly appreciated for last minute gifts.

Donation Drop-off

Gift Drop-Off Date: November 17th

Gift Drop-Off Locations:
San Diego between 9:00am and 3:00pm
North County between 11:00am and 1:00pm
Addresses will be announced in the coming weeks

Unwrapped gifts, please

We believe in dignity above all else. The holiday season can be especially challenging for parents who can’t afford gifts for their children. We request unwrapped gifts and wrapping paper so parents can be included in the gift-giving process. Thank you for lifting up these families by allowing them to celebrate together. You are welcome to wrap gifts for households of one or those without children.

Confidentiality and Meeting the Families

In order to protect the confidentiality of our Embrace-A-Family recipients, we keep their names and contact information private. And we are unable to arrange meetings between families and their embracers. Thank you for working with us to preserve the dignity and privacy of our clients. We appreciate your support.