One of my favorite parts of the holiday season growing up was curating gifts to donate—my parents always made sure we took the time to give back. And in a season where many parents have lost jobs , were forced to leave the workforce, or are simply struggling to get by with no more pandemic aid from our government, it's even more important now to help families find a little extra magic.

While it looks a bit different—and more precautions are being taken—there are still ways you can donate toys this year. Here's how:

Contact your local shelter

If you're able to, donations to your local shelter can help provide a little something for the holiday season for kids. With 2.5 million children in shelters this year, every little bit helps. Even better? Call and see if they'll accept toys. Sometimes, a shelter can share exactly what is needed beyond financial donations. You can find local information at the Homeless Shelter Directory .

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots has distributed 584 million toys since its start, and the pandemic isn't stopping them from giving back this season. You can use their Virtual Toybox feature to shop and their team will take care of the delivery. Simply pick an age and the toys and fill the box, then checkout.

Operation Christmas Child

This operation now allows you to build a shoebox online (or have them build it for you) to curate a box to send to a child. Choose an age and it'll recommend both essential items and fun ones kids will love to find under the tree.

Angel Trees

Angel Trees have been around for decades and are usually at local locations to pick up a family or child's wishlist. They're partnering with Walmart this year to support 2.6 million children. You can click here to enter your zip code and shop, and then Walmart will ship items directly to the local Salvation Army. Or you can drop off items at a Walmart collection point.

The Prison Fellowship also has angel tree opportunities this year. You can donate online to support kids of prisoners or work through a local church partnership to gift.

Make-a-Wish Foundation

Make a Wish has a program called Families For Wishes that allows you to search by zip code, find a family and raise funds to support that particular family's wish.