The Christmas Smiles Drive


The Need

The holidays are usually a time of peace, joy, and celebration, but they can be tough on many individuals and families, particularly those fleeing abusive homes. Leaving behind everything you know and being forced to find shelter elsewhere is hard enough for adults, but the emotional toll can be even harder on children.

Through the Christmas Smiles Drive, the Marcus Harris Foundation aims to make the holiday season a more joyous time  for children and families in transition. To meet this need, we're proud to have partnered with the Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC), the leading provider of support for domestic violence (DV) survivors in Durham, to collect gifts for the children and families staying in the emergency shelter on Christmas morning.

Click Here To Learn More About The DCRC

The Impact

To date, we've distributed hundreds of toys, books, games, and other donations, thanks to our community partners and individuals who have contributed to our collection efforts. For our 2018 drive, we're excited to announce we collected enough gifts to give out more than 20 toys per child in the shelter on Christmas morning! 

We look forward to an even bigger, more impactful drive in 2019.


(Pictured: Alma Davis, DCRC Director of Shelter Services, with some of the toys and gifts collected for the Christmas Smiles Drive)


The Partnerships

We're incredibly grateful for the support we've received from businesses and nonprofit organizations who have helped us meet our collection goals each year, such as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro PTA Thrift Shop. We look forward to strengthening these partnerships, as well as forming new ones throughout the community in the coming months and years.

How You Can Help


Gift Drop-Off

Toys, games, books, clothes - we'll take it all! To drop-off new and gently used items for the drive, please visit the following location

Signature Kutz Barbershop

2024 Angier Avenue

Durham, NC  27703

Please check back frequently, as new drop-off locations are added throughout the year.



The Marcus Harris Foundation is pleased to partner with businesses large and small, as well as individuals throughout the community, who share our vision for helping the children and families affected by DV. With your help, we can put smiles on the faces of as many families as possible each Christmas. 

Contact Us About Becoming A Sponsor



Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Want to contribute but can't make it to a drop-off location? Not a problem!

Please feel free to make a financial donation to the drive through our secure online payment button above. Your payment info will be encrypted and protected, and the funds from your donation will be used specifically for the Christmas Smiles Drive.

Also, we'll be sure to make the most of your contribution: a $10 donation can purchase at least 3 toys!

If you'd like to donate more than $10, we'll be thrilled to receive your more sizable contribution! For more info, please click here to visit our "Contact Us" page to inquire about larger donation amounts.