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 dollar should go, here are ten worthwhile organizations to assist this holiday season.
#1 Operation Blue Santa
Run by the Austin Police Department, 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 and are looking for even more help in 2015. 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 2015/2016 is projected to be chillier than normal, so keeping warm will be more important than ever before. On Sunday, Dec. 12, The Junior League of Austin hopes to distribute over 35,000 coats to needy Central Texas children and they need your help.
#3 Caritas of Austin – Home for the Holidays
With a heart towards Austin’s poverty-stricken citizens, Caritas of Austin is spreading holiday cheer through gift packages filled with essential items. From welcome home baskets with household supplies, to blankets and gloves, Caritas hopes to provide needy families with the bare necessities many of us take for granted.
For the full wish list, go to the Caritas website.
#4 Project Santa via SAFE: Stop Abuse for Everyone
Dedicated to eradicating child abuse, SAFE is a partnership between SafePlace and Austin Children’s Center. For their Project Santa initiative, the team is putting together a holiday gift drive to aid children and families who have been victims of abuse and neglect.
Gifts can be dropped off at Austin Children’s Center fro Dec. 12-14, or anytime during regular office hours.
To learn more, visit SafeAustin.org.
#5 Austin Diaper Bank – Holiday Diaper Drive
With a unique way to give financial relief to growing families, Austin Diaper Bank is running their yearly holiday diaper drive. Since June 2013, the organization has taken in over 200,000 diapers, easing the burden of child-raising for countless families.
For more information, visit AustinDiapers.org.
#6 Austin Disaster Relief Network
From this year’s fires in Bastrop to the Memorial Day floods, Austin Disaster Relief Network has been hard at work assisting families in need during their darkest hour. The group provides food, clothing, cleanup services and even counseling to those displaced by natural disasters.
Although the group doesn’t have an official holiday drive, most of us know somebody affected by this year’s weather events. This is a timely way to give back to those who have already given so much.
To learn more, visit Austin Disaster Relief Network online.
#7 Mobile Loaves & Fishes – Blessing Tree
In an effort to help some of Austin’s homeless who have decided to help themselves, Mobile Loaves & Fishes is putting together a Blessing Tree for the residents of Community First. Living in gently used RV’s with limited income employment, the residents have selected items that would make their lives a little easier this holiday season. Putting names to the gifts makes it all the more special.
#8 Lifeworks’ Project Holiday Help
From their annual holiday gift card drive to their ongoing search for backpacks and sleeping bags, Lifeworks organizes a number of ways for you to give this holiday season. They even accept applications to become a youth or family sponsor. While applications are closed as of this writing, be sure to check back in 2016.
To donate gift cards, go to LifeworksAustin.org.
#9 CASA of Travis County – Holiday Toy Drive
Short for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, CASA is hoping to provide holiday joy to over 1,000 needy children this holiday season. Their main drive allows generous donators to become a personal Santa for a minimum of 10 kids in the form of a $30 gift per child. In return, you get the names, ages and gift wishes for each child you’re helping.
While this clever option is currently full, CASA is still accepting $30 Target and Wal-Mart gift cards, as well as cash donations.
To donate and learn more about their program, go to CasaTravis.org.
#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.
Go to AmplifyATX.org to try out the service.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
How do you plan on giving back this holiday season?
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