Ahh, the season for giving—to both our loved ones and those who need a little extra love. As you're making your list and checking it twice this year, consider donating what you can to someone in need, whether it’s a handmade card or a gently used winter coat. Here are a few charities we love to get you started.
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To donate clothing...
Clear out your closet for a good cause by setting aside any gently used or outgrown clothing for someone in need. With over 2,800 locations across the the U.S., Canada, and abroad, Goodwill stores accept new or gently used items (clean, please!). You can also donate clothing to veterans and active military members this season through the Purple Heart Clothing Donation program, which will pick up donations right at your door.
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To donate coats…
Spread the gift of warmth wherever you are by contributing to a coat drive. With Burlington’s Warm Coats & Warm Hearts Drive, in partnership with Good Morning America, you can donate a gently worn coat at any store location. For every coat donated, you’ll even get 10 percent off your next purchase. If you’re interesting in hosting a coat drive in your community, One Warm Coat has plenty of ways to help you get started.
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To donate toys...
Every fall, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program kicks off its annual nationwide toy drive—with over 700 community campaigns—to help distribute 18 million toys to nearly 7 million children in need. Simply pick up a new toy the next time you go shopping, drop it off, unwrapped, at the closest collection site near you, and help put a smile on a child’s face this season.
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To donate art supplies…
If you’re picking out craft supplies for a little Picasso this holiday, why not grab a few extra paintbrushes and sticker sets for the children at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. These will not only be birthday or holidays gifts for inpatients, but also contribute to various group activities and help stock the hospital’s playrooms. For a complete list of ongoing craft supplies in needs see here.
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Get your creativity on for a cause by donating a handmade card (or five!) to organizations like Cards for Hospitalized Kids. The international organization collects and distributes handmade cards to children around the world year-round; to date, they’ve helped send out snail mail to over 100,000 kids in hospitals across all 50 states.
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To donate cell phones...
Keeping families connected while also keeping more out of landfills? Cell Phones for Soldiers is doing just that by collecting your old phones of any model to recycle or refurbish. Tablets and MP3 players in any condition are also accepted. Proceeds from these recycling processes are then used to purchase calling cards for troops. With your help, since 2008 alone, the organization has raised nearly $2 million and distributed over 500,000 prepaid calling cards. Find the nearest drop-off site to you here.
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Have a knack for needlework? Gather around a fire to knit or crochet for a cause. Warm Up America is looking for all your handmade items, from adult hats and child-sized afghans to baby clothes and scarves. Still a beginner? You can even send in a handful of knitted or crochet squares which will later be joined into larger projects. Once collected, these items are distributed to various local shelters and hospices.
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To donate food...
With over 200 food banks across the country, you can easily donate food to Feeding America, an organization that helps provide 2 billion pounds of food to hungry Americans nationwide. From canned fruits and vegetables to coffee and tea, you can help by contributing a variety of non-perishable items to your local food bank. Or, click here to learn how you can host your own community food drive.
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To donate vehicles...
Don't let your old wheels sit in the driveway for another year. Instead, give your car, truck, van, or trailer a second life with Meals on Wheels Association of America, an organization that provides over 1 million meals to seniors in need across the country each day. Big Brothers Big Sisters Cars for Kids' Sake also raises funds through the donation of unwanted vehicles—even if they don't start—to help local kids. All types of vehicles are accepted from SUVs to farm equipment.
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To donate care packages...
Did you know that picking up an extra pack of batteries, lip balm, and playing cards while you’re out shopping can help someone in need this holiday? With organizations like Operation Gratitude, items like these, along with other hygiene, non-perishable, and handmade items, fill up care packages that are sent to U.S. troops, veterans, and military families around the country.
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