It’s the holiday season (a.k.a the giving season) so what better time to give? We don’t mean gifts for family and friends, or for yourself — we’re talking about giving back to our communities, to those in need and to causes that were created to effect change. To help you take some of the guesswork out of how or what to donate, and which charities to support, we’ve rounded up a list with information that touches on just that.
1. Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child has been running since 1993. Each year, they fill shoeboxes with hygiene products, school supplies and toys to help give underprivileged children around the world a gift. Since its founding, the organization has provided gifts to more than 188 million kids in over 170 countries. Tens of thousands of volunteers donate their time or make contributions in other ways.
2. Boys & Girls Club
Far too often, children are put into environments that hinder their opportunities. Graduating from high school is just one example that has a long-term impact on their lives. To help combat this issue and give youth a place where they can excel, the Boys & Girls Club was created. Their 122 after-school programs help over 32,000 youth, demonstrate good character and allow them to adopt healthy lifestyles.
The name says it all — HopeMatch is an organization that matches donors with families in need. With the help of the community, HopeMatch has been able to offer multiple avenues of aid including hosting financial classes, creating a pop-up store filled with everyday necessities, and organizing a back-to-school bash. Their initiatives are meant to lend families a hand and help them celebrate all of life’s moments from birthdays and graduation parties to holiday events.
4. Humane Society of Charlotte
Animals are found homeless, abused and malnourished each year, but the Humane Society of Charlotte is improving their welfare. By giving pets a loving home, looking after their health, and teaching locals how to care for animals, they’re effecting change. This non-profit allows you to contribute in various ways, from monetary contributions and donating supplies to adopting a friend.
5. Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina is made up of regional distribution centers that supply food to charitable organizations, who then help those in need. Providing training, technical assistance and hunger education to their partners, the organization serves a total of 24 counties in the Carolinas and has over 950 partners including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior programs and more.
Now that you’ve got your gifts in order, we want to give you a little tip. As your holiday festivities draw nearer, gathering with family and friends doesn’t have to be so complicated to plan. If you’re responsible for hosting this year, read this one trick that’ll make your celebrations easier than ever.
Photos and videos courtesy of: Operation Christmas Child (Operation Christmas Child); The Salvation Army (Boys & Girls Club); Axios Charlotte (Second Harvest); The Wildest (Humane Society).