For many of us, the holidays are a time marked by the anticipation of gift giving and receiving. We’ve enjoyed compiling shopping ideas to help you with your holiday giving, and we are thrilled our Gift Guides for Him and Her have gotten a lot of buzz. We know the items and experiences on these lists will enhance the lives of those on your list and will be a joy to give. But often the most gratifying gift is the gift of giving to those less fortunate or to an organization that will serve others throughout the year. If you know someone who has everything and or if you want to find ways to give back and make the season a bit brighter for others, we’ve put together a list of organizations you might consider for spreading a bit of love and joy to this year.
Food Bank of North Alabama
While presents are always a warm way to give back to the community, it’s difficult to conceive of a more valuable gift than that of food. The Food Bank of North Alabama started in 1984 as a small group of citizens working with local farmers and has grown to feed over 80,000 people annually. Due to the high demand, food banks are always in need of donations, especially during the holidays. You can learn how to donate money, food, or time from the Food Bank of North Alabama website.
What we love about this organization: The food bank isn’t just feeding hungry people, they are also addressing the root causes of hunger and creating local food initiatives that foster entrepreneurship and healthy food access. LEARN MORE HERE
Still Serving Veterans
What better way to celebrate the holidays than to give back to those who have fought to protect our country. Still Serving Veterans is an organization founded in Huntsville in 2006. Their mission is “to serve and honor Veterans and their families, transitioning service members by assisting them in securing meaningful employment and the Veteran benefits they have earned.” You can donate on their website and contribute to their efforts to empower veterans and their families.
What we love about this organization:Still Serving Veterans offers employment counseling and assistance, help with Veterans benefits and a network of people who assist veterans in transition.
Downtown Rescue Mission
There’s no place like the home for holidays unless you don’t have a home to go to. The Downtown Rescue Mission has served north Alabama and southern Tennessee for over 30 years. In addition to providing shelter, the Mission offers food, emergency and recovery services and much more. You can donate through the thrift store, financially, or volunteer your time to help the homeless of the valley.
What we love about this organization: For the Downtown Rescue Mission it isn’t just about a warm bed and a hot meal, it is about helping people transition out homelessness and recover when they have stumbled along life’s path.
Military Child Education Coalition
Military children often move six to nine times during their K-12 school years. Many make multiple moves during high school years alone, some even during their senior year. Our editor Sandra was one of these kids, and she knows their struggles. In addition to giving up friends and routines, deployments separate some students from a parent (or parents). The role of the MCEC is to help families, schools, and communities be better prepared to support military-connected children throughout their academic careers.
What we love about this organization: While it started out primarily to help military children, the programs offered don’t require an ID card, any child going through a transition to a new school is welcome to join the program.
While community outreach and volunteering at home are meaningful and impactful ways to give back, sometimes the greatest impact one can have is thousands of miles away, in another country. Those of us living in the United States making more than $32,400 a year, are in the top 1% of global wealth holders. Imagine the impact we can have on the other 99% of the world’s population? Oxfam, a global charity with over 70 years of experience in improving lives, makes global giving easy.
One of their unique methods of giving is the gifting of livestock to families in underdeveloped nations. One goat can provide a family with a maintainable source of food and nourishment for years to come. They have various animals to choose from, accommodating almost any budget.
What we love about this organization:Oxfam embodies the adage “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Oxfam is lifting people out of poverty by providing them with the means to provide for themselves.”