It’s the time of year where gifts and giving are on everyone’s mind. If you’re considering giving to those who might be in more difficult situations this season, here are some suggestions for how you might be able to turn your time, talents, or gently used possessions into a brighter holiday for someone else.
If You Have Furniture to Donate:
Family Promise or Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Family Promise is a nationwide organization with almost 200 affiliates spread across 43 states in the U.S. Their mission is help families that might be going through a crisis of homelessness. While the group will always welcome monetary donations, individual affiliates will frequently accept donations of furniture in good condition to help client families furnish the new homes that the organization helps them find. You can discover local affiliates at the Family Promise website.
Similarly, Habitat for Humanity ReStore will accept donations of furniture, but they can also arrange to pick up large items if you lack the necessary vehicle to conduct a drop-off. Specific locations also accept donations of household items, appliances, and more; the products are then sold at the store, with funds going to support Habitat’s mission of building or repairing homes. You can track down their locations here.
It’s always a good idea to call the organization first to make sure they are able to take the item you plan to donate.
If You Have Clothes to Donate:
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
With a whopping 3200 stores in North America, Goodwill remains one of the most recognizable locations that accepts clothing donations. As you’ve likely seen on any number of television commercials, the organization and its partners used the money made in stores to help people build career skills and find employment. Their 2021 Impact Report indicates that Goodwill helped place over 123,000 people in new jobs while serving almost two million.
If You Want to Donate a Toy:
Marine Toys for Tots
The Marine Corps Reserve celebrated the 75th anniversary of their Toys for Tots program this year. One of the most visible programs aimed at less fortunate children, Toys for Tots has distributed over 600 million toys. In the age of COVID, the program had to make like their founders to improvise, adapt, and overcome; now, in addition to the traditional in-person drop-offs, the Toys for Tots website makes it convenient for a donor to select a toy and drop it into the virtual toy box. You can shop, choose a gift for a child, pay for it, and see that it goes to a kid who will love it.
If You’d Like to Donate Food:
Feeding America is, quite simply, the biggest charity taking aim at stopping hunger in America. In addition to working with food banks and distribution around the country, Feeding America tries to prevent food waste and participates in disaster relief efforts. On their site, you can donate to the larger organization or use its directory to find food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens, and more near you. In addition to food donation locations, you’ll also find ways to volunteer and contribute your time.
If You Want to Donate a Car:
Wheels for Wishes
While many large charitable organizations accept donations of automobiles, Wheels for Wishes and its various programs work directly with other important groups. Wheels for Wishes benefits Make-A-Wish, and Wheels for Wishes and Wellness contributes to children’s hospitals at local levels. They also maintain the affiliated groups Vehicles for Veterans and Animal Car Donations (for rescue organizations). In terms of direct impact, Wheels for Wishes auto donations are responsible for funding over 12,000 wishes for kids with critical illnesses.
If You Want to Give Your Time:
If what you to really want to give is your own time and talents, then you can search out opportunities with a forum like VolunteerMatch. With in-person and virtual openings across a variety of categories all around the country (and the world), VolunteerMatch can help you find the right fit for you to help others.
In case you want to consider other charities, but aren’t sure where to start, you can always investigate sites like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch. You can find ratings, donation tips, and suggestions that might help you make a difference in your community.
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