Ahhh, Christmas. It starts as a kid: decorating cookies, the tree, the house in the comfort of a cozy home; bundled up in your puffiest coat to play in the snow, driving around with family & friends to admire the lights, and anticipating the moment that Santa is going to come and bring your favorite presents. Part of the beauty of the holidays are the joyful memories attached. Unfortunately, all around the country + world, children are not getting the beautiful Christmas that they’ve been dreaming of. Whether living in poverty, incarcerated, homeless, or living apart from their families, many kids are unable to experience the beauty + joy + peace of the season. As you’re buying gifts for friends & family, consider giving a gift or a donation to a child in need.
Ever heard people say about giving: “I thought I was going to be giving, but they ended up giving to me”? One reason we love Toys for Tots is that it is a Marine military initiative where they organize and give toys to children in their community in need. Their website claims that “566 million toys have been distributed to date” and 258 million children have been supported. To donate to this cause, locate a campaign and drop off an unwrapped, new toy at their drop off location. You can also donate to the cause using their secure, one-step process.
The Family Giving Tree hosts a nation-wide programs specific to helping people during the Christmas season. One of our favorite things about this specific program, is that you can choose to give a gift for a variety of ages: some, as young as 0-2 and others from 20-104. You can search through their website where you’ll see the age, name, and wish of the child or adult, and donate the cost of the gift. You will not get the item shipped to your house. Rather, the Family Giving Tree will bulk purchase items and ship them directly to the child or adult.
The holiday’s can be a very difficult time of the year for foster children. For many, it makes them long for home & miss their families even more. One Simple Wish is an organization dedicated to helping foster children get their wish during the Christmas season. You can browse children’s specific wishes (such as toys, necessities, or clothing), read their stories, and grant a wish. One Simple Wish merely tells you the cost of the item and you make a monetary donation to buy that gift.
The worldwide, evangelical organization, Samaritan’s Purse hosts a project called Operation Christmas Child each year. Either build online, or get gifts in person, but Samaritan's Purse sends a shoebox for you to pack for a child in need around the world. Some of the countries they reach are: South Asia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Colombia, Honduras, Rep. of Congo, Zimbabwe, and many more. Items to pack are: a big toy like a stuffed animal or soccer ball (with a pump), personal care items, clothing & accessories, a craft item, and a note with your picture. If you are getting the gift in person, there are a variety of drop off locations where you can mail or drop off your shoebox.
5. Homeless children
Sadly, a great number of LGBTQ children are 8x more likely to experience homelessness as many get kicked out of their house and begin living on the street. During the Holidays, many youth feel a greater sense of rejection and turn to drugs, depression, or suicidal thoughts. The Ali Forney Center launches a “homeless for the holidays” campaign that gives a greater voice to LGBTQ homeless youth. Donate here to ensure that homeless LGBTQ youth always have a loving place to stay. Covenant House exists for homeless & trafficked youth in 34 cities, 6 countries. If you would like to donate, there are a variety of ways to give homeless youth practical gifts, such as: clean bedding, public transit, a professional outfit, and more!
Have a heart for kids in need this Christmas? There’s no need to go at it alone: ask a friend and donate a gift together! Share this with a generous gal like yourself.