It’s easy to get swept away in holiday chaos. From Black Friday deals to office parties to last-minute gifts, December is a swirl of madness. As a result, the meaning of the season often gets lost: the joy of giving to those in need.
With dozens of local charities looking to aid needy Austinites, giving back to the community is only a click away. To help you choose where your donation dollars should go, here are 10 worthwhile organizations to consider assisting this holiday season.
1/ Operation Blue Santa
Run by the Austin Police Department since 1972, Operation Blue Santa supplies families in need with the full holiday experience, including meals and wrapped presents. Last year, the group served over 5,000 families. This is an excellent way to help Austin’s Finest help others.
To donate, go to BlueSanta.org.
2/ The Junior League of Austin: Coats for Kids
The winter of 2019/2020 is already shaping up to be a chiller, so keeping warm is more important than ever. On Saturday, Dec. 7, Junior League of Austin will celebrate its Coats for Kids Distribution Day. Validated families in need roam through over 30,000 coats to find outerwear for their little ones. The doors stay open until the last family leaves, so volunteers are always needed at this all-day event.
3/ Caritas of Austin: Home for the Holidays
With a heart towards Austin’s poverty-stricken residents, Caritas of Austin is spreading holiday cheer through gift packages filled with essential items. From welcome home baskets with household supplies to winter wear to rent assistance, Caritas provides needy families with the bare necessities many of us take for granted.
For the full wish list, go visit Caritas online.
4/ Austin Diaper Bank
With a unique way to give financial relief to growing families, Austin Diaper Bank provides 10,000 Central Texas families this childcare necessity. So far in 2019, the organization has collected over 600,000 diapers and is aiming to hit the 900,000 mark by end of year.
While Austin Diaper Bank doesn’t have an official holiday drive on the calendar, any time is a good time to donate to this worthy charity.
For more information, visit AustinDiapers.org.
5/ Austin Disaster Relief Network
Ready and willing to assist survivors when disaster strikes, Austin Disaster Relief Network assists people in need during their darkest hour. The group provides food, clothing, cleanup services, and even counseling to those displaced by natural disasters. Team members also run a low-to-no-cost used goods store, with everything from furniture to clothing.
Although the group doesn’t have an official holiday drive, most of us know somebody affected by volatile weather events over the years.
To learn more, visit Austin Disaster Relief Network online.
6/ Community First! Village
Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ landmark Community First! neighborhood is a truly transformative initiative. The village is a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing for Austinites transitioning out of homelessness.
But saving lives doesn’t come cheap and that’s where you come in! Whether you choose to support Community First! through your dollars or your time, this is a beautiful way to make an impact in people’s lives.
To learn more, visit Mobile Loaves & Fishes online.
➡️ Keep reading: Community First! Village Goes Beyond Housing for Austin Homeless
7/ LifeWorks Austin
Ever hear how teaching someone to fish is better than handing them food? That’s the central core of LifeWorks Austin. While providing day-to-day necessities to needy youth, the group also equips them with self-sustaining life skills outside the foster care system. Over 4,000 youth and families have been supported via this incredible organization, and your holiday dollars will be needed to keep the mission going strong.
To donate gift cards, go to LifeworksAustin.org.
8/ Austin Partners in Education
When not writing about music and doing the blogger thing, I spend my 8 to 5 in the world of Ed Tech. As a result, I have a heart for anything that helps kids learn and grow. From classroom coaching to weekly college prep tutoring, the Austin Partners in Education team pours hours upon hours into needy AISD kids and schools. Anything you can give, whether your time, talents, or financial resources, is sure to make a tangible difference in a student’s educational success.
To learn more, visit Austin Partners In Education online.
9/ Austin Pets Alive!
At The Austinot, we love our puppers and kitties. Austin Pets Alive! is our city’s premier pet rescue and re-homing organization. While nary a weekend goes by without an APA! event, Toy Joy on Airport will host its “A Very Pupper Holiday Paw-ty” on Dec. 8, 2019.
Live doggie adoption, raffles, and the chance to get a picture of your fur baby lounging with Santa are all on the agenda. And anybody who agrees to adopt a pet will receive a $20 gift card to Toy Joy and Yummi Joy. Making a new friend and snagging some holiday savings makes the Paw-ty a must-attend event.
Check out Austin Pets Alive! to learn more and get involved.
10/ Amplify Austin
Can’t decide who to donate to? Amplify Austin makes it easy to contribute to multiple organizations. The site works like the Amazon of Austin charities, allowing you to search, add donations to a cart, save your credit card info, and pay with one transaction. You can even instantly download your tax receipts. This is an easy and convenient way to give back this holiday season.
Feel free to browse Amplify Austin’s full suite of charities for more information.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which Austin nonprofit will you support this holiday season?
This article was originally published on Dec. 3, 2015.