You are (almost) done buying Christmas gifts, but something is still missing. If you really want to feel the spirit of giving, spend your money on children and families who need it. Here are 21
Spread the joy throughout the year with recurring donations
The holidays are a time to give, but you can only give so much at a time. If you want to maximize your contribution to a cause, consider signing up for recurring donations. Over time, a few dollars a month can make a bigger difference than a one-time payment.
Recurring donations are of course not possible for everyone. Here are a few alternative ways to make quick contributions year-round:
- Via Alexa or Google Assistant: Would you like to donate directly to charity? Just tell Alexa or Google Assistant you want to make a donation. If you already have a credit card linked to your Amazon or Google account, the process will take less than a minute.
- AmazonSmile: With AmazonSmile, you can raise money for charities every time you shop. Just choose which charity you want to support from the AmazonSmile web page.
- Donate your credit card rewardsMost banks allow you to donate your credit card rewards to charity. This is a good option if you have a stack of unused rewards or airline miles that are about to expire on your account.
- Volunteer: Charities always depend on volunteers. If you want to help a charity with your actions (and not just your money), check their website for volunteer opportunities. (If you have kids, consider pushing them to volunteer. It’s an invaluable experience that looks good on a resume or a college job application).
Now let’s get to the goods. Here are 20 great charities to donate to while on vacation.
Toys and school supplies
Trying the old-fashioned way to spread some festive cheer? Here are four charities that provide toys and school supplies to children in need. All of these charities operate year-round, so consider signing up for recurring donations.
- Operation backpack: Operation Backpack ensures the educational success of low-income children. The charity provides children with school supplies specific to the class, from folders to backpacks.
- Reading is Fundamentally: The Reading Is Fundamental charity ensures that children get the books and reading materials they need. And if you donate before December 31, your donation will be doubled dollar for dollar.
- Shoes that fit: Sometimes a new pair of shoes is all a child needs to improve their self-esteem, comfort and safety. Shoes That Fit ensures that children in need have the comfortable shoes they deserve.
- Toys for Tots: You know Toys for Tots! It is a trusted charity that provides toys to children in need. If that’s your priority then Toys for Tots is a great option.
Some of these programs (especially Toys for Tots) run local volunteer programs during the holidays. If you’re wondering what to do with your free time, check out one of these websites for volunteer opportunities. It may be worthwhile to spend a few hours sorting out school supplies or toys for children.
For struggling families
It feels good to know that your money is going towards the needs of families. Here are six charities that focus on helping families with basic needs, such as food, shelter, and pet care.
- ASPCA: The ASPCA helps rescue, vaccinate, and find shelter for homeless or abused pets. The organization also makes it possible for low-income families to afford expensive medical care for pets.
- Give children the world: Give Kids the World owns an 84-acre resort near Disney World in Florida. The organization offers free week-long holidays to children with critical illnesses (and their families, of course). The experiences families have at this resort are often invaluable and would not be possible without your help.
- Food on wheels: Meals on Wheels delivers hot meals and to people in need. For many elderly people living in poverty, Meals on Wheels deliveries create a sense of routine and healthy social interactions. (You can also sign up for Meals on Wheels through the charity’s website.)
- Not a hungry child: The No Kid Hungry Program provides free meals to children, mostly through the school system, churches, and community centers. For many kids, the No Kid Hungry program is the only thing that provides consistent meals year-round.
- A simple wish: One Simple Wish is a charity dedicated to improving the foster care system. It gives children who have been abused, abandoned or traumatized the chance to feel like children.
- Ronald McDonald House: The Ronald McDonald House does a lot. It provides homes and hospital rooms for families, and allows some low-income families to afford basic medical and dental care.
Some of these nonprofits help families with their health care needs, but they are not necessarily made to fund health care or medical research. Read on for a few charities that do.
Healthcare and medical research
People are often left alone with critical illness. A few dollars a month can help fund research, care and prevention of life-altering diseases. Here are nine great charities and nonprofits dedicated to healthcare and medical research.
- American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is a leader in cancer care and research. The organization uses donations to fund cancer research and to spread awareness about cancer.
- American Diabetes Association: Diabetes is a growing world epidemic, but diabetes care costs more than ever. The American Diabetes Association uses donations to fund research, awareness programs, and treatment options for low-income families.
- Medical center for children: Childcare centers depend on donations to care for children and their families. You can donate money, food, toiletries, and toys to improve the lives of children in hospitals.
- Miracle Network for children: The Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit that supports pediatric programs across America. In addition to purchasing medical equipment for hospitals, this organization ensures that children in hospitals remain entertained, engaged and optimistic.
- Give hope for pancreatic cancerGIVEHOPE is a charity that funds pancreatic research and organizes educational fundraising events. Pancreatic cancer research is critically underfunded, despite having a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%.
- Make a wish: The Make-a-Wish Foundation tries to fulfill a wish for every child with a critical illness. Every donation helps ensure that children have a life-changing and inspiring experience.
- Nephcure: NephCure Kidney International is sneaking money into kidney disease research, especially those that are currently underfunded and misunderstood. The organization also provides education and support to families with kidney disease.
- PanCAN: PanCAN (the Pancreative Cancer Action Network) is committed to funding pancreatic cancer research, clinical initiatives and educational initiatives and services for patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. The organization even has a pancreatic center hotline for patients in need of cancer. Once again, pancreatic cancer research is critically underfunded, and the condition has a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%.
- Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals: Shriner’s non-profit pediatric facilities provide care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lips. They guarantee service to low-income families and they require donations to cover medical costs and basic needs.
- St. Jude: St Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a leader in the care of childhood critical illness. The focus on leukemia and other cancers has saved lives and led to serious medical advances.
- UNICEF: UNICEF provides healthcare to children and adults in poorer countries. The organization saves thousands of lives every year through vaccinations, immediate medical care, and educational programs.
Again, consider signing up for recurring donations through a nonprofit’s website. It relieves your wallet and ensures that your favorite goals receive a stable income stream.