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Supporting charitable causes is something that we should all be doing all year, and Christmas is a great time to get started!
Thousands of individuals and families around the world need your help. If you want to do some good in the world this Christmas, but you’re not sure which charity you should support, check out these 9 great non-profit organizations that are making a difference.
Community Servings [No Longer Available]
By delivering almost 10,000 meals every week to over 1,500 homes in Massachusetts, Community Servings helps individuals and families who are homebound or are experiencing acute life-threatening illnesses. Sometimes it’s a single person who can’t work to feed themselves, and sometimes it’s an entire family that doesn’t have the income to support proper nutrition.
This group’s mission is to help their clients “maintain their health and dignity and preserve the integrity of their families through free, culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals, nutrition education, and other community programs.” Everyone should have a nice meal at Christmas, and Community Servings is working to make sure that they can.
FoodCycle [No Longer Available]
This UK-based non-profit seeks to eliminate food waste and food poverty in the same stroke by serving community meals in places where members of the community may not be able to feed themselves sufficiently.
Since May 2009, volunteers have served over 125,000 meals that were made from surplus food. Over 320,000 lbs. of surplus food has been used, preventing a vast amount of food waste, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and keeping members of the community from going hungry.
In seeking to create a world where every “woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity,” the Hunger Project supports women and men in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America by helping them develop skills, systems, and programs needed for overcoming poverty.
The organization places a strong emphasis on holistic strategies, and supports issues from maternal health and women’s empowerment to microfinance and community organization. Hit the site’s link above to see some really inspiring stories on their website.
Modest Needs vets all of its applicants and only accepts those that meet their criteria: families and individuals that are not yet in poverty, but could be pushed into it by a single unforeseen expense (like an emergency medical bill not covered by insurance).
The goal is to help prevent the downward spiral into poverty that an expense like this — or an unfortunate sequence of them — could cause. Modest Needs is also trying to raise $150,000 before the end of the year that will be matched by an unnamed donor, so your gift could be doubled!
Reading opens entire worlds to kids, but many families don’t have the money to buy books for their children — and that’s why First Book exists. In middle-income neighborhoods, there are an average of 13 books per child, while low-income neighborhoods might have as little as a single book for 300 kids.
First Book aims to fix that by giving books to kids in low-income families; they’ve already provided over 135 million books, and thanks to Penguin Young Readers, your gift is three times more effective until the end of the year. Be sure to check out First Book’s Gifts that Give Back section, too!
Service members and their families face a lot of difficult, unique challenges, both at home and overseas. Operation Homefront provides assistance to military families by providing food, auto and home repair, vision care, travel, home items, financial assistance, and other necessary services.
They also seek to assist wounded veterans through the recovery process and recognize the important role that families play in the lives of service members. They help families get into homes, collect school supplies, support caregivers, and do just about everything else you can think of to support soldiers, veterans, and their families.
Another group dedicated to helping members of the military and their families, the USO runs a number of Warrior and Family Centers around the world where wounded soldiers and their families can take time away from hospitals and recovery programs to relax, learn, and provide some of the comforts of home to wounded soldiers.
While the USO uses more of its donations for administrative costs than some other charities, the program is a highly valuable one, with the Bethesda Center being visited over 79,000 times since opening in 2014, and the Virginia location receiving 150,000 visits in 2014.
Helping feed families is great, but Heifer Project seeks to go one step further by helping families to get out of poverty while providing food at the same time. How do they do this? Through empowering small-scale farmers around the world to “achieve socially, economically, and environmentally secure livelihoods.”
By providing small farmers with livestock (you can choose from a wide variety of animals or give enough for a share in one), the organization helps families generate income, get training, and create a secure, sustainable future. There are lots of programs you can support through Heifer; check out their website to see all of their programs and giving options.
In addition to providing food to severely malnourished children, Action Against Hunger also supports vulnerable communities around the world in becoming self-sufficient. Water, sanitation, hygiene, food security, and emergency response are among the issues that AAH is passionate about.
They’re active in a wide range of countries from South and Central America, all throughout Africa, into the Middle East, and down toward Southeast Asia. The organization also has a nice section of Gifts That Save Lives that are perfect for giving at Christmas.
Keep Up the Giving!
Now that you’ve chosen a great charity to support this holiday season, make a commitment to being charitable all year. Whether you decide to donate money, spend some time volunteering, or help out with your professional skills, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people in need.
Share your favorite charities and one that you think we should know about in the comments so we can all support great causes this holiday season!
Which charities will you be supporting this Christmas? Which are doing really important work in the world and deserve to be recognized?
Image Credits:Santa holds a can by wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock