Giving Back: Holiday Charities and Shopping

Over the next 31 days, it’s easy to get caught up in buying and acquiring. I feel incredibly lucky (thus far and knock wood) to have been able to provide my family with a holiday that includes delicious food, a warm house and a bunch of selections from their respective lists… but I know not everyone is as fortunate. Please take a few minutes to check out the opportunities to help other families during this festive season, I’ve included a few below.

Their mission is to “deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them into becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.” You can make a monetary donation, donate a new, unwrapped toy at one of their drop off locations or host a Toys For Tots collection.

Make A Wish:
You can help in a variety of ways–donate money, your time and talents, your frequent flyer miles or a host of other options. Their mission in their own words: “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”

My Two Front Teeth:
Their focus is to “reduce the pain of poverty and help strengthen the bonds of society by bringing simplicity, efficiency, and personalization to the charitable gift-giving process, encouraging everyone to experience the incredible power and joy of giving. “By clicking on “Sponsor a Child” from their homepage you can purchase a gift from a child’s gift list–most are under $25.

Feeding America:
Their mission: “to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.” You can feed a family for two weeks by donating just $21.

USPS Letters to Santa Program:
For almost 70 years, the US Post Office has let organizations, businesses and private individuals adopt letters to Santa that come through their facilities (yes, the actual letters kids write and put in the mail slots). Go here if you’re interested in finding out how to adopt a letter.

UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund):
Their mission: UNICEF “works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.” Your donation will provide children with vaccinations, educational opportunities and disaster relief that many of us take for granted. Another way to support UNICEF is to shop their Cards & Gifts store (some really great stuff just in time for the holidays).

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network):
Shop from the RAINN Rainmaker boutique–they have chic jewelry, Paige Denim, Mixed Bag Designs and more. Your purchase will benefit the organizations’ initiatives to educate and prevent abuse as well as provide support to survivors.

Hurricane Sandy Relief for Belle Harbor, NY
Hurricane Sandy Wish List for The Rockaways: Support the residents of Belle Harbor, an area terribly effected by Hurricane Sandy, by picking out an item from this wish list and having it shipped directly to the St. Francis Sales Parish is Belle Harbor.

Lead image: Free photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net.
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