Many people think about giving more during the holidays. You may have charities that you donate to or volunteer at throughout the year. However, there is a greater need around the holidays to help those who do not have enough. There are two areas of concern people who are struggling to stay warm and children whose parents cannot afford to give them very much for Christmas. If you have a bit extra during the holiday season, you may consider giving to one of these charities to help out. When you give, be sure you take advantage of the tax deduction.
1. Angel Tree or Toy Drive
One option is to participate in a charity that gives toys to needy children. This is a great way to help, since the idea of getting gifts for your children when you are struggling can be nerve wracking for parents. It is also nice to know that whatever money you spend on the toy will go directly towards helping the person you give it to. With these types of charities, you are not having part of your donation go to overhead expenses unless you donate cash. Often these charities are also looking for things like coats, gloves and clothes for the children, as well.
2. Coat and Clothing Drive
Many charities and shelters also have a used coat drive that you can donate clothes to during December. This is a great way to give, especially if you have last year’s coat still available and it is in good condition. You can also give new items and blankets to the shelters. Generally, the shelters try to hand out the blankets and coats on days when it is going to drop below freezing and the homeless run the risk of freezing when they are out at night. This is another way that you can give and know that the items are going directly to the people that need them the most.
3. Food Drive
Another way you can help is to participate in a local food drive or to donate money to a soup kitchen. The holidays can be difficult for both homeless and the working poor, and being able to visit the food bank or get a hot meal over the holidays can make a big difference and help them through the difficult time. You can call the food bank to find out what type of food they are running short on and then run to a discount grocery store or a warehouse where you can buy flats of cans to donate. If you have a favorite soup kitchen you work out, you may want to volunteer over the holidays or donate a little bit extra to help out.
4. Church Charities
If you are not sure where to give, and you would like to help out, you may want to contact a nearby church to find out what needs are in their congregation or community. Some churches do Sub for Santa for people struggling in the community or have ties to a local food bank that you can help with. If you are not religious you may want to contact your local police or fire department, because they often hold toy drives or know of charities that you can support in the area.
5. Sub for Santa
Another option is to find a family who needs help and to complete a Sub for Santa for them. You can have friends or coworkers all chip in to bring together food and presents for the kids and parents of the family. This can make a big difference, and if you know the situation you can find the sizes for a few clothing items, as well. It is a great feeling to be able to see the things you give goes directly to a family you know who needs the extra help.