The magic of the holiday season can bring to some a grand desire to give to others beyond our own circle. With very little effort and often with very little money, we can reach out through various organizations to help others in need. This is something near and dear to my heart, and a large part of my family’s holiday tradition. Here are some well-known options to satisfy that giving feeling, and some that may be new to you!
Toys for Tots – begun in 1947 by members of the Marine Corps Reservists. You may see opportunities all around in your communities. Did you ever think about having your own Toys For Tots party? Everyone invited brings a toy for a child in need. There are parameters to meet for this type of donation, so plan ahead for next year!
McDonald’s Rounding Up- your favorite fast-food place often gives customers the chance to quite easily donate to the Ronald McDonald House. Just let them know when ordering that you want to round up the cost of what you’ve paid for donation. And they will of course accept more than that if it’s in your budget when you buy that amazing Diet Coke (hands down the best one ever) or a little Happy Meal for you or for the kiddos.
Samaritan’s Purse gives you a chance to build a Shoebox full of gifts for a child! The program was started in the United Kingdom in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cooke. “Three years after this beginning, the Wales-based shoebox gift project merged in a partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, allowing us to share 20 years of expertise in relief and aid work with the project, and expand the reach of the shoebox gifts to more than 28,000 children that year. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 209 million children in more than 170 countries and territories”. (from their website)
Giving Machines - Buy a chicken or a goat in a vending machine? Yes, it’s true. The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints has created Giving Machines, which have been placed in 61 cities in seven countries (see full list in the link below) in November and December, more than double the 28 machines that raised about $6 million last year. Wonder if there is one near you? Check here for the details!
Make a Wish – How did it start, you wonder? “Make-A-Wish traces its inspiration to Christopher James Greicius, an energetic 7-year-old boy battling leukemia who wished to be a police officer. In 1980, his Phoenix community came together to make his wish come true. Little did Chris know that his wish would create a movement that would transform millions of lives”. ( from their website). It has flourished into a huge service for thousands of children in very difficult health situations.
JustServe.org is a website where the volunteer needs of organizations are posted, and where those wishing to volunteer can search for opportunities to enhance the quality of life in their community. Some families enjoy this type of service to others during the holidays as well as throughout the year.
Trees for Troops – a great organization to give Christmas trees to those serving our country in the military and to their families.