While the holiday season is usually joyful time all about family, food, and gifts, this year will be much different than holiday seasons we’ve enjoyed in the past. Many families and individuals are facing incredible life changes, and this time of year is already a difficult one for some. The holiday season is also a season of giving – it’s a time to give back to others, especially those who are very much in need. Besides lockdowns and stay-at-home orders keeping us from gathering with those who are closest and dear to us, this year has been extremely life-changing for many other reasons.
Some have lost family members due to the virus. Some have caught the virus themselves and are still suffering from the lingering effects of COVID-19. Some have lost their jobs or were forced to close their family business. Some will be unable to afford gifts. If you can, this would be a wonderful time to give back to others as we prepare to say goodbye to a year that none of us will ever forget.
Below are just some of the organizations and charities you can donate to this holiday season to give back, lend a helping hand, and help put a smile on someone else’s face.
In 2007, I became an Honorary UNICEF Ambassador and have continued to support the organization ever since. COVID-19 has affected children around the world, with UNICEF stepping in to deliver health supplies as well as assisting children with digital learning tools with most schools remaining closed. Beyond that, they are also providing critical support for vulnerable children affected by domestic violence and abuse during the pandemic. UNICEF is working hard to protect children around the world during these difficult times and they could always use extra support. Donate here.
COVID-19 has taken millions of lives around the world, and unfortunately that number has included children. Parents around the world have been grieving the loss of their child, and the holiday season may be extra difficult for them without having them at the family table or excitedly opening gifts under the tree. The COPE Foundation connects individuals and families who have lost a child by offering continuous emotional support, therapeutic programs, as well as the appropriate resources and referrals. The COPE Foundation helps parents to feel that they are not alone and to find strength from within themselves to face the difficult journey that lies ahead. Donate here.
Throughout this pandemic as well throughout natural disasters around the world, the Red Cross has continuously been on the frontlines. Not only can you help by donating blood, you can also donate to support other humanitarian causes including the Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center, which assists those who have lost a family member including those who were lost to COVID-19. Donate here.
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization that funds pediatric cancer research. I have publicly supported this organization since 2011 and cannot vouch for them enough. Their cookies are baked fresh-to-order and 100% of the profits goes towards funding pediatric cancer research, making them the perfect gift that gives back. Send a loved one delicious holiday cookies from Cookies for Kid’s Cancer that also funds pediatric cancer research. Support the organization by ordering cookies here or donating here.
A popular organization that was started in 1947, Toys for Tots is run by the US Marine Reserve every year by distributing toys to less fortunate children. This year, with many families facing job loss or massive pay cuts, some aren’t sure how they’ll be able to afford a gift for their children for the holidays. Toys for Tots raises funds and collects new toys donated by others to provide economically disadvantaged children with something new for the holidays. Donate here or send a toy here.
During this difficult time, Feeding America has been working tirelessly to ensure families have the food they need. With the holidays approaching, Feeding America is committed to help put food on as many tables as possible this holiday season. Since the start of the pandemic, Feeding America has distributed an estimated 4.2 billion meals to families in need, but another 8 billion meals are needed to meet the increased demand. Donate here to the Feeding America COVID-19 response fund.
With lots of businesses closing for good or employees having to take severe pay cuts due to the pandemic, Hong Kong citizens have been facing hardships during this difficult time. Food Angel aims to alleviate hunger in the city by accepting donations of food as well as needing volunteers to assist in preparing meals for those who need our help. Donate here.
Mental health awareness has always been extremely important to me, and this year has been no exception. Many people are experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time. As the end of the year approaches, and with the pandemic still affecting everyone’s lives, mental health awareness is more crucial than ever. The Jed Foundation helps teens and young adults receive resources on mental health and provide emotional support. You can donate towards the foundation here.
There are countless charities and organizations around the world dedicated to providing for and helping others, especially during this holiday season. I’ve listed a few more organizations in this post here. These lists are just a snippet of the incredible causes you can advocate for and extend goodwill. This holiday season is a time to give back and lend a helping hand.
Do you have any favorite organizations? Comment below with the causes you support.