How to Give Back This Holiday Season: Local Charities and Volunteer-Friendly Foundations

Hannah Coleman

As Janice Maeditere once said, “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents, as opening our hearts.” If you’re lucky enough to have a family on Christmas and are fortunate enough to receive gifts, maybe you can put giving at the top of your to-do list. Below are a few charities and organizations where you can donate or volunteer to help people in need.

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit organization created to help starving children from all over the world get the nutrition they need. Feed My Starving Children is open year-round, but their work is most crucial during the holidays. Anyone is welcome to volunteer, and you can get signed up by going onto their website Their website contains many success stories and pictures.

Before you start, the organizers of the foundation show a heartbreaking video of the kids for whom you’ll be preparing the meals. They even have a visual display of the different living conditions depending on the country being helped that week. When I volunteered, we were helping children from Uganda, and the display they created was almost too hard to look at. It was a tiny hut with a sheet as the roof. It was only meant for three people, but in Uganda, they had to jam six to ten people in them. These huts didn’t have any plumbing or water and could easily be blown away by the smallest of storms.

I’ve volunteered with this organization a few times and always walked out feeling a little better knowing at least some of the starving children in the world are being fed. It is a heartwarming experience and is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit of giving rather than getting.

Toy Drives is another great way to help less fortunate children. No child should ever have to wake up on Christmas morning with nothing under the tree. Many organizations set up toy drives. Depending on where you live, you should be able to google “local toy drives” and find one closest to you.

St. Jude’s hospital does a holiday toy drive each year, and it is always successful. All the toys go to the ill kids who are patients at the hospital and don’t get to have a normal Christmas. The Dollar Tree also does a toy drive every year for kids in poverty. If you live near a Dollar Tree, remember, it only takes one dollar to make a child smile.

Family Food Drives give you a chance to help families rather than just children. will help you find your nearest foodbank by zip code and state. In two easy steps, you can give families who have nothing a real Christmas meal.

Christmas is about giving. Many people around the world and even locally are struggling every holiday season. Be the change the world needs to see and help a family smile during the holidays. Share your fortune with those who are less fortunate.