While many of us exchange gifts and spend time with our family and friends to celebrate the holidays, there are plenty of people who aren’t as fortunate. If you’re looking for ways to complete small acts of kindness, consider supporting a charitable organization to give back to the community this holiday season. Here are the top 14 charities to donate to this holiday season!
The holidays are a time when we reunite at home and celebrate this special season with our loved ones. However, not every animal has a proper home. American Humane is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to keeping animals safe. This charity for animals has emergency first-response units that rescue pets from poor living conditions and natural disasters. You can help place an animal in a loving home for the holidays by giving a monetary gift or even donating your vehicle.
Angel Tree Christmas
There are 1.5 million children with an incarcerated parent in the U.S., and they often feel lonely around the holidays. Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Christmas program helps those children feel cared for by taking gift suggestions from incarcerated parents and then distributing the presents on their behalf. You can surprise kids with their desired gifts with a one-time or monthly donation. The gift will arrive with a personal message from their parent, reminding the child that they have someone who loves them, even from afar!
Christmas Spirit Foundation
A Christmas tree is so much more than bark and branches. It represents family and togetherness—things deployed soldiers and their families might be missing during the holiday season. Christmas Spirit Foundation provides free farm-grown trees to members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Christmas Spirit Foundation donated nearly 300,000 Christmas trees in the past 17 years, spreading cheer among those who could use an extra boost. Make a donation or purchase an entire tree to help soldiers and their families feel united!
One in eight Americans struggle with hunger, and food insecurity has only risen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Help ensure the less fortunate have a meal this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Through food banks, school-based pantries, and emergency disaster relief, Feeding America has provided healthy meals for over 40 million people. Some ways you can give back during Thanksgiving and Christmas are volunteering at a local food bank or becoming a donor to help deliver one of the 6.6 billion meals that Feeding America supplies each year.
Make-A-Wish Foundation of America
Another good cause to donate to this holiday season is Make-A-Wish. This foundation creates unforgettable experiences for children with critical illnesses based on their individual dreams. An experience with this top Christmas charity can give the strength needed to fight against their diseases and bring children closer to their loved ones. Make a child’s holiday dream come true with a referral, donation, or partner promotion!
Meals on Wheels America
Approximately one in three elders live in poverty in America, and nearly 9.7 million are food insecure. These seniors are often lonely and don’t have transportation to visit a soup kitchen or food bank. One of the best senior food programs you can give back to this holiday season is Meals on Wheels America. This charitable organization provides nutritious food and friendly visits so seniors can live more comfortably. You can stop seniors from going hungry over the holidays by delivering warm meals, getting to know some elders, or making a donation to support independent senior living.
Mental Health America
Holidays can carry family stress and strong emotions. If you’re looking to support one of the best charities for mental health, consider Mental Health America. This charitable organization provides year-round educational programs and mental health screenings. Mental Health America’s warmline offers 24/7 support for those in need over the holidays. This Christmas charity also gives hope for the holidays with many free resources and guides to navigate the season. If you’re searching for ways to give back over Christmas, consider donating monetarily, volunteering, or collecting funds to address mental wellness.
One Simple Wish
Each year, more than 500,000 children are impacted by trauma and abuse in the foster care system. One Simple Wish lets these kids know that they are loved and people are looking out for them. This holiday charity sources wishes from all over the country, posts the wishes on its website, and allows generous people to grant those wishes. You can purchase someone’s dream gift, make a monthly commitment, support the scholarship fund, or volunteer at a Wish Party to brighten these kids’ holidays.
Operation Blessing offers ongoing, strategic relief after a disaster in more than 90 countries around the world. This organization coordinates core programs like medical care, hunger aid, and clean water as resources for disaster survivors. The holidays are a perfect time to support those who need help getting back on their feet after a life-changing event. Volunteer your time, launch a fundraiser, or make a charitable gift of any amount to ensure disaster victims continue to receive aid.
Pay Away the Layaway
This year, you can support families who can’t afford to give their children the holiday celebrations they want. With Pay Away the Layaway, you can pay off layaway balances for items like holiday gifts and life essentials. This organization works with retail stores across the country to surprise civilian and military families. Become a Layaway Angel to eliminate parents’ financial burden and create memories for kids.
Remember Linus, the child from the Peanuts cartoon strip who couldn’t be separated from his precious blanket? Project Linus aims to provide similar security—not to mention warmth—to less fortunate children. One of the best children’s charities to donate to, Project Linus has donated an average of 350 blankets each month over the past 20 years. Craft a blanket or donate monetarily to make a child’s winter a bit warmer.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Want to help fight against childhood cancer? Thanks in part to St. Jude’s research and treatment, more than 80% of U.S. childhood cancer patients have become long-term survivors. St. Jude never bills a family for medical treatment, travel, housing, or food thanks to generous funding from donors like you. Over the holidays, you can send a card with cash in someone’s honor, engrave a brick for the hospital’s outdoor walkway, or create a gift fund and encourage friends and family to donate. Use your holiday spirit to help defeat childhood cancer!
The Trevor Project
It can be hard for some to reconnect with their families during the holidays, as not everyone is welcoming to a family member in the LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project is one of the best LGBTQ charities for supporting youth this season. This organization lends a listening ear to those in need during the holidays, creates a safe social networking site to connect with LGBTQ allies, and offers tips for self care during the holidays. Save a life by volunteering as a remote crisis support counselor or give back this holiday season by donating to the Trevor Project or joining the Circle of Light as a committed donor and supporter of this cause.
Toys for Tots
Spread joy this holiday season by helping less fortunate children receive a gift! Toys for Tots has donated presents to more than 280 million children since 1947—making it one of the best charities for children. Consider donating online and sending a personal message to a child in need. Drop off a new toy or game at one of the organization’s many drop locations or pick a toy to donate virtually. Or host a campaign to collect donations from friends, family, and coworkers during the Christmas season!
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