According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of female solo parents are living below the poverty line. That's compared to just 8% of married parents, 16% of unmarried cohabitating parents, and 17% of male solo parents.
If you are a single mother in financial need, there is help available. We put together a list of 10+ charities that help single mothers and their children.
National charities that help single mothers
Here are the top charities in the country that provide help for mothers in need:
Who they are: The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 and has chapters in more than 130 countries. The organization assists with numerous efforts, from global disaster relief to job training.
What they offer: The Salvation Army has multiple programs to help single moms who are struggling, including:
- Food pantries
- Christmas gifts
- Homeless shelters
- Job training
- After-school programs for kids
- Connections to housing options, legal services and health services
- Help for domestic abuse victims
Who qualifies: Each Salvation Army location has its own requirements for aid, so contact your nearest branch to find out more.
How to get help: Go to salvationarmyusa.org and type in your zip code to find nearby locations and see which single mom charity initiatives are available in your area. The level of assistance given is based on need and available funding.
Who they are: Founded in 1910, Catholic Charities USA launched a campaign to reduce poverty in America in 2007 and welcomed their first female president in 2015. The organization continues to help millions in poverty, regardless of faith.
What they offer: Catholic Charities maintains a few different programs to assist single moms in poverty, such as:
- Food assistance and nutritional programs
- Rent and utility assistance
- Free health care and dental services
- Mental health counseling
- Pregnancy and parental support
- Workforce development
- Emergency shelters and long-term housing assistance
Who qualifies: Local Catholic Charities branches have different requirements. To qualify for financial aid, at least one household member must be enrolled in a public assistance program like Medicaid or CHIP, or the household income must be less than 60% of the HUD median income for the area.
How to get help: Visit catholiccharitiesusa.org, scroll to where it says “Find a Catholic Charities Agency Near You,” and click “Find Help.” From there, click your state on the map or enter your zip code.
Who they are: Modest Needs is a nonprofit that provides short-term financial grants to families in need who live just above the poverty line and therefore are ineligible for most government assistance programs. Donated funds to Modest Needs go directly to the vendor or creditor on the family’s behalf. According to the site, most grants are between $750 and $1,250.
What they offer: The Self Sufficiency Grant helps individuals and families by covering a variety of needs, including:
- Regular monthly bills (such as energy assistance)
- Irregular monthly bills (such as car repairs)
- Health care
- Household appliances
- Funeral expenses
Who qualifies: All applicants must be employed and earning a low income, as defined by the median income in your area. Your household must have at least one active bank account or have filed a Federal Tax Return in the past two years. You must also have access to a scanner or fax machine to scan and upload documentation to support your application.
How to get help: Visit modestneeds.org and click on the orange box at the top right that says “Apply for Help.” Have either your most recent tax return or bank statement ready to prove your income, and complete the application.
Who they are: Known as Second Harvest until 2008, Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization in the United States, operating a network of more than 200 food banks.
What they offer: Feeding America addresses hunger among low-income families in a few different ways, such as:
- Preventing food waste from farmers and retailers
- Ensuring families receive nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables
- Educating communities on the importance of nutrition and ending hunger
- Assisting families with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) applications and other local and federal assistance programs
Who qualifies: Anyone who has short-term food needs can simply visit their local Feeding America food bank (no proof of need or income required). If your nearest food bank location is too far away, you can contact them to find food closer to home. For longer-term nutritional assistance, you may be asked to show proof of income, depending on the program and location.
How to get help: Visit.feedingamerica.org and click on “Need Help” at the top of the page to find a Feeding America food pantry near you or assistance with SNAP applications.
Who they are: Started in 1987 by a group of Christians in Pennsylvania, Bridge of Hope’s mission is to help families who need shelter. Now in 13 states, the organization has helped many low-income moms find a safe space.
What they offer: The Bridge of Hope mission is to connect local churches with neighbors who aspire to end homelessness. Single moms and children can benefit through:
- Assistance finding stable housing
- Connections with local landlords willing to offer housing
- Encouragement and support
Who qualifies: Each Bridge of Hope location has different qualifications. Generally, you must be homeless or close to eviction.
How to get help: Visit bridgeofhopeinc.org/get-help/ and click on “Bridge of Hope Locations” to find one in your area. Alternative solutions are listed if your area doesn’t have a nearby location.
Who they are: The Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton and has been a charity for disaster relief for more than a century. The organization offers aid for national and international disasters as well as for personal disasters, including house fires.
What they offer: Contact the Red Cross if you have been affected by fire, natural disaster, gas leaks and anything that makes your home unsafe. A Red Cross shelter offers the following:
- A safe place to sleep
- Meals, snacks and water
- Health services
- Emotional support and mental health services
- Spiritual care
- Help reconnecting with loved ones
- Information about disaster-related resources in the community
- Access to case workers to help you with disaster recovery
- Child care
Who qualifies: Anyone affected by fire, natural disaster and other events that make their home unsafe.
How to get help: Visit redcross.org/get-help.html to contact your local Red Cross or find an open shelter near you.
Who they are: The mission of Life of a Single Mom is to uplift and educate women in three different areas: finances, parenting, and health and wellness. Through educational workshops and support groups, they help single moms obtain resources to get on their feet.
What they offer: The organization offers various classes and programs for single moms such as:
- Support groups
- Financial resources and guidance on obtaining financial aid
- Encouragement through podcasts, videos, books and more
- Single mom social events
Who qualifies: Any single mom qualifies for support groups and events. Though the organization offers a list of financial resources, they don’t directly offer financial assistance.
How to get help: Go to thelifeofasinglemom.com and click on “Get Help” at the top of the home page. From there, click on “Get Help” again in the box labeled “Are You a Single Mom?” and click through the programs for more information.
Who they are: SingleMom.com is a catch-all of resources for single moms, with links to financial resources, parenting advice articles, and more. The information on SingleMom.com is submitted from other single moms and non-government entities.
What they offer: In addition to blogs and advice, resource links on the site include:
- Financial aid for education links
- Financial assistance links for child care, bills, nutrition and housing
- Legal advice
- Health resources
- Grouped resource links by state
Who qualifies: Though the organization offers a list of financial resources, they don’t directly offer financial assistance.
How to get help: Visit singlemom.com, click on the tab “Assistance Resources” at the top, and scroll to find the type of assistance you need.
Who they are: Started by a minister named Chris Coffman back in 2001, Helping Hands for Single Moms, based in Dallas and Phoenix, has “assisted hundreds of single moms in earning a college degree, with a graduation rate over 78%.” The organization aims to uplift single mothers by helping them finish college and find jobs.
What they offer: Helping Hands for Single Moms offers financial assistance for single moms to attend college in either Dallas or Phoenix. College attendees receive support such as:
- Assistance with auto repairs
- Emergency funds
- Tech assistance for computers and software
- Budget management
- Optional mentoring and tutoring
- Textbook purchase assistance, as available
- Single Moms Network – with monthly meetings
- Professional counseling
- Legal counseling
Who qualifies: To qualify for Helping Hands’ financial assistance, single moms must meet these guidelines:
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Reside in Dallas, Phoenix or the specified surrounding counties
- Have at least one child living with them that is under the age of 11
- Have an adjusted gross income at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines
- Be legally single or divorced and not living with a domestic partner
- Completed at least one college semester with a minimum GPA of 2.8
- Be willing to participate in the organization’s Single Mom College Community meetings (6 meetings per year)
How to get help: Visit the website’s home page and click on either “Dallas” or “Phoenix” where the tab says “Apply.” Then click on “Apply Now” for the scholarship application.
How to find local charity help for single moms
If you’re looking for a local charity, here are some suggestions:
Do a search for “charities that help single mothers near me”
You can also search for more specific needs like “food banks near me,” “free diapers near me,” “free formula near me,” etc.
Contact your local United Way 211
Your local United Way branch can connect you with resources such as shelter, meals, financial assistance and employment opportunities. Visit UnitedWay.org or dial 211 on your phone.
Look for area churches that help single mothers
Local churches often have clothing and food drives or offer shelters and transportation for single moms and their children. Even if they don’t directly offer resources, area churches may be able to connect you with local organizations that do.
Search for local food banks/food pantries
Search “food bank near me” to find local food banks/food pantries and other food assistance programs in your area.
Also, check out our list of cheap places to eat.
Search for local philanthropic organizations, like community foundations
Search “charities near me” or “community foundations” near me to bring up a list of philanthropic organizations in your area. If you are looking for a specific type of charity for single moms, include those terms in your search (bills, housing, food, child care, etc.).
Seek local nonprofits, like Single Mothers Outreach, that focus on helping single moms
Search “charities that help single mothers near me” or “charities for single mothers near me” to pull up a list of local nonprofits that help single mothers. You can also join social media groups for single moms in your area or download the Nextdoor app to connect with neighbors who may be able to help.
Additional resources to help single mothers
Free money for single moms
Birthdays and holidays got you stressed? Get free toys from different organizations and charities.
Kids outgrow clothes and shoes fast, so we compiled this list of ways to get free clothes.
Wondering how you can get free diapers for your little one? Check out our list of local and national resources.
Car seats are one of the most expensive baby items. Check out our guide to getting a free or cheap car seat.
Also check out our guide for how to get free baby stuff.
Also, learn where to get free or affordable beds and mattresses.
Learn how to get free medication from pharmacies when you and your kids need it.
Single moms need to get to work and school. If you don’t own a vehicle, you might qualify for a free car.
And if you're short on cash, learn where to sell your car for cash.
Free cell phone
Check out our list of resources to get a free cell phone here.
If you need a computer for work or school, learn how to score a free laptop from this post.
Free Christmas gifts
Free tutoring and homework help
This article has a list of free tutoring (and some paid options) for students in kindergarten through college.
Free school supplies
If you need free school supplies for your student, check out this post.
Free financial advice
Have questions about money?
The nonprofit Savvy Ladies provides a free volunteer-run helpline service that pairs you with the appropriate volunteer to help you with:
- Divorce and money
- Family finances
- Small business planning
- Debt management (including credit cards)
- Retirement investing/saving
- Money and emotions
Stay home with your kids and make money with this list of 30+ work-from-home job ideas.
We put together a list of health care options for single moms.