There are so many reasons I love the holidays. First of all, I simply love celebrating with family. Every year we have the opportunity to make new memories with parties, events, gifts, and sharing stories. It happens over the dinner table, under the Christmas Tree or where ever friends and family may gather.
Another reason I love the holidays is because our hearts are so full of love and joy, that we give to those in need with ease. But once the New Year starts, those families are STILL in need of clothes, household goods and a little fun. Many organizations make it easy to donate, picking up gently used items to sell in consignment stores with the profit going to those in need. You can also donate to a food pantry, hospitals, women’s shelters and, if you like giving to our four legged friends, animal shelters.
If you are looking to give monthly, here are 12 Places to Donate throughout the Year!
1. Charities: Goodwill and the Salvation Army are well known and will pick up used items in good condition to resell in their thrift shops. I personally love donating to St. Vincent de Paul, an organization that helps so many people directly with donations received.
2. Children’s Hospitals: Local Children’s Hospitals and the Ronald McDonald House accept donations for children in need. The Ronald McDonald House offers housing near the hospital so that families can stay together, and be close to the pediatric patient.
3. Women’s Shelters: Women’s Shelters provide a safe haven for women and children who suffer from domestic abuse. As they escape, they aren’t able to bring all of the necessities to get on their feet again. This ranges from linens to toiletries and toys to back-to-school items. We have CASA by us, which I am happy to donate to.
4. Food Pantry: When donating to the food pantry, don’t just reach for out-of-date cans from the back of your cupboard. In fact, food pantries cannot use those goods! Donate foods YOU would like to eat. Think proteins, complex carbs and veggies. Sometimes this is just a stepping stone to help people get on their feet and you can make that difference.
5. Pound, Animal Shelters and SPCA: Lots of non-profit animal shelters can use donations of dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, pet treats, pet meds and more. I’ve brought my boys to our local pound, where we adopted our boxer Kronk from, with donation items so that they can see how these animals need to be cared for too!
6. Donate Books: Give the gift of reading! You can send books to the military, donate to a local school or church, the local library or to a local organization.
7. Children’s Shelters: Children’s Shelters provide safety from abuse or neglect. They can use donations of necessities, like clothes and formula, to items fulfilling the children’s wish list of snacks, books, puzzles, balls and toys. For example, by us is in Tampa is Mary Lee’s House.
8. Look at Your Neighbors: Sometimes its your neighbor, coworker or friend in need. They may be going through a medical issue, lost a loved one, out of a job or some other misfortune. Lend a hand through food, household goods, or gift cards. If you do not want to overstep a social boundary, feel free to remain anonymous in your gift giving!
9. AmazonSmile: Every time you purchase through Amazon, be sure to take advantage of the AmazonSmile program, which you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.
10. Toys for Tots: Toys for Tots is Seasonal, but they usually start collecting in October – so be prepared!
11. Local Schools: Local schools are usually, sadly, scrounging for money to improve facilities and provide books, technology and uniforms for the students and their extracurricular activities. Many collect Box Tops or have fundraisers to help reach this goal. You can help by clipping box tops and giving them to a local school, donating books for their library and participating in some fun fundraisers that they come up with, like cookie dough and Yankee Candle!
12. No Kid Hungry – For Goodness, Bake! This is a year long fundraising initiative in 2015 that supports the No Kid Hungry campaign. Throughout 2015, girls are encourages to host charity bake sales in their local communities and donate the proceeds to No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry raises funds (and awareness) that currently 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger in the United States. But together, American Girl and their fans can help more children get the food they need. For every $1 a girl raises, No Kid Hungry can connect a child with ten additional meals! And to kick off the initiative, American Girl has donated $50k to No Kid Hungry!
You can also directly donate to No Kids Hungry, for the flour and dough challenged, at AmericanGirl.com or at American Girl retail stores. And while your at it, visit AmericanGirl.com/GirloftheYear to learn more about the initiative and register for the For Goodness, Bake! sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 41 Grace prize packages!
I was provided with an American Girl Doll, Isabelle, to donate to a charity or person of my choice. I usually donate to the Angel’s Tree at my local church, but that is down until next year. I thought locally, friends and family in need, but I am thrilled that everyone I know personally is doing fabulous. No one is missing a birthday present for their little girl.
I wanted the doll to go to a little girl who could hug her, brush her hair and read her story. I deliberated between CASA and Mary Lee’s House, but finally settled on CASA, because my brother-in-law donates a lot of items to that organization. Thank you so much, American Girl, for allowing theMomBuzz to donate a doll to a charity of her choosing!
What organizations do you donate to? Do you donate mostly during the holidays or throughout the year?