Five Charity ideas for Christmas donations

Many people like to donate to charities during the Christmas holiday season or other times of the year. In fact, about a third of all charitable contributions made each year occur during the month of December. However, with so many charities to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to donate to.

As noted, studies show that buying gifts for others and donating to charities is proven to increase happiness levels. Spending money on yourself does not increase happiness and can even lower it. Giving back is rewarding. No matter which you pick, use charity navigator to determine how they use the funds donated and to look for scams. Below is a list of charities you may never have heard of that would really appreciate your donation.

Newborns in Need. This is a charity which provides necessary items for babies born prematurely or into poverty. They can also help low income single moms. They typically distribute items such as formula, clothes, blankets, pacifiers, and diapers. They also provide bereavement items and dressing gowns for babies who are lost.

You can donate money or goods. A big benefit of this organization is that a new baby should not “suffer” because of the financial hardship their parent(s) may be facing. Donations can help provide for newborns and get them on the right track in life. Their website, newbornsinneed.org, has a wishlist of items that are needed. On their website, you can also locate the chapter nearest you where you can donate these items during Christmas or anytime of the year. Newborns in Need also accepts check or credit card donations.

Red Kettle. This is a Salvation Army run assistance program. The faith based charity sets up these “kettles” in most towns, cities, and locations in America. The donation period runs from Thanksgiving up to Christmas. Volunteers from the community ring the bell, bringing in donations. the contributions go to help the low income pay their bills, keep the Salvation Army operating by paying their overhead, and the funds are put to good use. Just donate to a bell ringer in your community.

Cleaning For a Reason. This nonprofit organization provides free cleaning services to women who are undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Your tax deductible contribution can be made in honor of someone if you so desire. If you own a maid service, you can partner with Cleaning For a Reason to donate services. The website is cleaningforareason.org.

Books for Soldiers. This nonprofit organization’s goal is to provide “care packages for the mind” for soldiers. Through the organization’s website, booksforsoldiers.com, you can access a list of soldiers who have made a request for items. You then select the request that you would like to fill, and send a package directly to that soldier. Items commonly requested are books, care packages, magazines, DVDs and video games. You may also send additional items in the package, and if you wish to do that, the website provides a list of suggested useful items.

Special Trafficking Operations Program (STOP). STOP is an international humanitarian organization which fights against people being forced into the sex work industry. They educate people about sex trafficking to prevent more victims. They gather intelligence on trafficking locations and routes to persuade authorities to intervene on behalf of victims, and they provide psychological and social support for victims after rescue, helping them reintegrate into society.

Donations can be made online at stopinternational.org, or through the mail at the address provided on their website. STOP is registered as a charity in the United States and donations are tax deductible.

The Holiday Project. This is a nonprofit organization which organizes visits and gift-giving to people confined in institutions during the Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Examples of institutions visited are nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities and prisons. It can be helping a senior citizen who is lonely and has no one else in their life enjoy a Christmas or other holiday. Or maybe a child living in a homeless shelter can get a free Christmas gift.

Some people in these institutions would not receive any visits or gifts were it not for the Holiday Project. Visits are often scheduled during Christmas, Chanukah, and other holidays throughout the year. If you wish to help, you can donate time, money, or goods. Visit their website, holiday-project.org, to find the chapter nearest you, or to make a donation via credit card or check.

It is always important to remember those less fortunate, elderly, poor, lonely, and vulnerable during the holidays. But when you want to help, it is hard to know where to start. This article was intended to suggest some possibilities, but there are many more charities available than are listed here.

Think about what tugs on your heartstrings most, whether it is children, disease, poverty, literacy or another cause, and use that as inspiration to find a charity that you can get excited about being involved with. Remember that when you help someone else, the person who benefits most is you!

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