The music plays, the lights and decorations appear, and as people race to and from every mall and store, it’s blaringly obvious the holidays are in full swing. Every year around this time, we show our love and gratitude as we give and receive gifts from all the special people in our lives. But in the season of giving, we have the opportunity to share the love with those who could use a little extra care and support. This year, take some time to spread joy to those who need it the most. Here are some charities to consider this holiday season:
To Write Love On Her Arms
From humble beginnings in 2006, To Write Love On Her Arms initially began with the story of 19-year-old Renee Yohe. Her friends recounted her five days prior to entering a rehabilitation facility on Myspace, and were printing t-shirts to help fund her treatment. Since then, this nonprofit organization has grown, traveling to schools, colleges, and music festivals across the nation with the goal of meeting the needs of mental health by connecting those who suffer from depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts with the proper resources and treatment possibilities. To donate to To Write Love On Her Arms, or to learn how you can get involved, you can visit twloha.com.
Based in Summit, New Jersey, Family Promise aims to aid low-income and homeless families by providing food, housing, and counseling. With over 125,000 trained volunteers, the organization also helps to advise and educate communities on the realities of poverty and how to help reduce it. You can learn how you can give some support to a family in need this holiday season by visiting familypromise.org.
Joyful Heart Foundation
Dedicated to bringing awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault, actress Mariska Hargitay established the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004. Hargitay, who has portrayed Detective Olivia Benson on Law And Order: SVU for 16 years, was inspired by the grateful messages from fans who have shared their own stories of abuse and assault with her. The foundation, based in New York, offers support to survivors to help them heal and regain a sense of empowerment, as well as educate communities on prevention. If you’d like to become involved or donate, visit joyfulheartfoundation.org for more information.
Currently offering support to more than 100,000 children, Project Sunshine gives free aid to children, and the families of children, suffering from chronic illnesses and medical challenges. Partnered with hospital nationwide, and in four international locations, the organization dispatches volunteers to provide educational and play-based activities for the children, as well as counseling for the families. To learn where you can volunteer, or to make a donation, go to the foundation’s website at projectsunshine.org.
Animal Welfare Association
Even animals are in need of love this holiday season. The Animal Welfare Association, based in Voorhees, New Jersey, takes orphaned animals into their no-kill shelter, provides pet-therapy, and holds adoptions. Adamant on finding and ensuring safe, friendly homes, the organization also educates communities on the healthy and humane treatment of animals. If you’d like to get involved, or possibly give a home to an animal in need this holiday, visit awanj.org.
With 800 million people living without clean drinking water, charity: water goes above and beyond simply providing it. Volunteers, who require sanitation training, build fresh water wells, latrines, and hand-washing stations in developing countries. They also promote hygienic habits to the communities, such as hand washing, to help reduce disease rates and keep the water safe. If you’re interested in donating or learning more, visit charitywater.org.
Education is a privilege, and one that is important to support whenever possible. Through DonorsChoose.org you can choose to fund a specific project at a U.S. public school, whether it be through books, supplies, or field trips. Throughout the process you receive photographs and feedback from the students and teachers involved. If you’d like to find out more, go to DonorsChoose.com.
Cancer Research Institute
With 14.5 million Americans suffering from cancer, chances are you or someone you know has been affected by it. The Cancer Research Institute, located in New York, is the nonprofit leader of immunology and cancer immunology research in the world. Every donation made is a step toward further research for new treatments and a cure. To learn how you can donate this holiday season, please visit cancerresearch.org.