Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide

As you shop for gifts for family and loved ones, you might also want give a gift to help others in your community. Here's my short list of possibilities:
  • The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. The seven food banks serving Virginia are asking Governor Kaine and the General Assembly for an emergency grant of $1 million to help them through the winter. Obviously your donation can go a long way! Or, drop off canned goods (you know there are things in your pantry that you'll never use) at grocery stores
  • Perhaps you'd rather give to (or volunteer with) a food pantry that serves meals and provides food directly to folks needing it. Most communities have several of varying sizes and clientele. Two of my favorites are Trinity Church in Staunton and Verona Community Food Pantry (PO Box 187, Verona 24482).
  • The American Red Cross. You can target donations to a local chapter if you wish.
  • The Salvation Army. At least drop your spare change in the Red Kettle. How about donating clothes, coats, toys, household goods, etc. to their store? You can shop there for great bargains, too. Goodwill Industries provides education, training, and other assistance to homeless people and others working to get out of welfare dependency. They also accept donations of clothing and household goods... and more. You can shop at their stores, too.
  • Your local volunteer rescue squad or fire department.
  • The local chapter of the Humane Society or SPCA.
Want to give a gift of charity and let the recipient of the gift pick the charity? Check out You choose the amount and give a Good Card (or email) to a family or friend who then picks their favorite charity from hundreds of worthwhile charities. Social networking with a conscience.
As always, take time to check out any charity you give to. A good source of information on the strength and work of thousands of charities is Charity Navigator.

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