Since the holiday season is coming up in the States (can you believe that 2011 is almost already over?!), I thought I’d devote this week’s post to some of my favorite charitable organizations!
Many people around the world are permanently disabled, living in places where social systems or superstitious beliefs relegate them to lives of poverty and contempt. That’s where Wheels for the World comes in. This organization was started by Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 due to a diving accident. Being confined to a wheelchair her entire adult life, Joni understands first-hand the importance of mobility in the lives of the disabled, especially in poor developing countries where they are often considered accursed or worthless. By distributing wheelchairs, Wheels for the World strives to restore hope and dignity to these individuals and their families.
Many people in developing countries, not just the disabled, often need outside assistance, and Food For The Poor is there to help. This charity feeds 2 million people every day! Food for the Poor helps children and the “poorest of the poor” by building homes, providing livestock, and bringing clean water to the Caribbean and Latin America. They’re highly accredited, and over 96% of all donations go directly to their programs for the poor.
Of course, most of the time you don’t have to look further than your own backyard to find those in need. The Union Rescue Mission is located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row, which contains one of the largest populations of homeless persons in the United States. URM is dedicated to ending homelessness by offering “food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling, and job training to needy men, women, children, and families”. Every day, the Mission serves an average of 3,000 meals, and they serve 4,500 on Thanksgiving!
Even if you don’t have money to donate, you can still help others by giving away things you no longer use. My two favorite places to donate my gently used items are The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International. Both have programs that will help the less fortunate improve their situations, whether it’s gaining useful skills or fighting addictions. With winter coming, I’m sure there are people who could use the warm clothes you don’t need any more!
I have no affiliation with any of these organizations other than having given to them in the past. I always try to do my own due diligence, and I encourage you to do the same! I use Charity Navigator (I have no affiliation with that group, either) as part of my research. It doesn’t list or rate every charity, but it’s a good starting point. Whether you give to any of these worthy causes or to those of your own choosing, I hope that you’ll take the opportunity this holiday season to be grateful for all you have and to possibly share some of it with those less fortunate!
Omake: As a bonus for actually reading through all this, just a head’s up that November 9th (PST) is the last day to save on your favorite in-stock figures from Hobbyfan.com! All in-stock figures are Buy One, Get One Half Off! Terms and conditions apply; see website for details. Use the savings to help out your favorite charities! 😉