Christmas is called the season of giving. Throughout history, this season has served as a bright light of hope for those who have been on the economic short end of the stick. The U.K. even has Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, which served as the day one would box up their old possessions to give to the poor. In this Spirit, I give you the top five charities to give to this holiday season.
1. Make-A-Wish Foundation: This organization has been granting the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses for a long time. The number of lives they have touched and enriched is truly staggering. Whether it is meeting their favorite celebrity or visiting an exotic local, Make-A-Wish Foundation makes it happen. To children who may not have much time left to live, this organization helps make the most of that time. Visit them at WWW.wish.org.
2. Toys for Tots: Founded by the U.S. Marine Corps, the Toys for Tots goal is to provide a new toy for needy children in communities across America. For many of these children, this is the only gift they may get for Christmas. Organized anywhere there is a U.S. Marine Reserve office, this serves to help unite communities and people every year during the holiday season, and brighten the lives of children every year. Make your contribution at WWW.toysfortots.org, or visit your local Toys R’ Us to drop off a new, unwrapped toy for a child in need.
3. The Salvation Army: You see them every year, in front of Wal-Mart and grocery stores across America. The bell-ringing people collecting donations for the needy. The Salvation Army helps the poor, those who need disaster relief, provides youth camps and even does drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The scope of their services is truly staggering, and this charity is probably the easiest to give to. Listen for the bell, or make a donation at WWW.salvationarmyusa.org.
4. The American Red Cross: Since formed in the 1880’s, the American Red Cross has been in the forefront of every natural disaster, providing relief to those in need. Today, they also provide blood and blood products, support to military families, relief for victims of war and many community service programs. With the goal of preventing and relieving suffering everywhere they go, this is definitely the largest and most active of the charities on this list. Make your donation at WWW.redcross.org.
5. Your local children shelter: As an employee at a emergency children’s shelter, I can state with complete confidence that your local children’s shelter is in need. As the economic crisis continues across America, funding for programs to help abused and neglected children has plummeted drastically, leaving many shelters in dire straits. Set up to provide safe, temporary environments for children removed from their homes, many are finding it difficult to meet the children’s needs this year. Donations can consist of money, a new unwrapped gift for a child or even gifts of toiletries or old televisions and radios.
There you go. These are my five favorite ways to give in the spirit of the season. I encourage you to do your best to give to those in need and make the season bright for all involved. If everyone in America gave just a dollar to each of these organizations, this could be a holiday to remember!