The old adage, ’tis better to give than receive, can sometimes get lost during the magic and wonder of the holidays. If you’re looking for ways to combat the “gimmies” this season, we’ve rounded up 25 charitable organizations around the city. From donating food and warm clothing to helping a family furnish their first home, the opportunities abound this season. And the best part? Other local children will benefit from your family’s generosity and service.
photo: Food Driving Box
1. Budding artists can contribute new or gently used professional art supplies to Art with Heart, a local non-profit that combines creativity with therapy, supporting the emotional well-being of children and teens adversely affected by hardship. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what items are currently needed.
2. Get caffeinated with Callie’s Coffee and support pediatric cancer research. Every time you purchase coffee, 100 percent of the proceeds support the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Hospital. (Note: This one is for mom and dad; we aren’t suggesting that kids drink coffee, but what child doesn’t benefit from a caffeinated parent?).
3 Have bikes that are too small just kickin’ around your garage? Bike Works makes bicycling accessible and affordable to Seattle youth and gladly accepts donations to give to children during Kids Bike-O-Rama!, a semi-annual event that outfits kids ages 4–8 with a bike and helmet. Call 206-725-8867 or email email@example.com for more information.
4. Make camp fun and memorable for children facing major health challenges by donating wish list items to Camp Korey. Camp Korey serves children with serious and life-altering medical conditions and their families at no cost, offering year-round recreation with full support for the medical needs of campers, plus all the fun of just being a kid. Contact Devon Little at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
5. Help another child enjoy an outdoor adventure by donating pop-up tents, camp chairs, and new or gently used fishing gear to Catch A Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) for Kids, a foundation that pairs volunteers who love to fish with kids with special needs for a day of fishing. To learn how you can help the organization, contact email@example.com.
photo: C.A.S.T. for Kids
6. Spread some holiday cheer by adopting a family through Childhaven’s Family Wishes Program. For over 100 years, Childhaven has worked to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and lay the foundation for generations of safe and nurturing families. Help alleviate holiday stress by purchasing specific wish list items for struggling families. Register online.
7. Recycle your child’s gently-used clothing, toys, or furniture for another child to enjoy at no cost. Eastside Baby Corner (EBC) collaborates with local agencies to provide kids’ and maternity items to families dealing with job loss, homelessness, and medical issues. EBC welcomes family volunteers (with children age 7 & up) to sort donations and fulfill orders for families in need. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
8. Fight hunger with Food Driving Box and Solid Ground’s Twice is Nice Holiday Campaign. Pick up your free food box at any of Seattle’s 27 food banks and help stock food bank shelves with a box of non-perishable items in November and December. Good to know: Filling food pantries enables food banks to spend resources on fresh protein and produce, desperately needed during the holiday season.
photo: Food Driving Box
9. Break into the piggy bank and provide meals for the hungry. Food Lifeline provides 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs, working with the food industry and its surpluses to come up with creative solutions to stopping hunger. Every $1 given to Food Lifeline can provide four meals to a person in need. To learn how you can donate, contact email@example.com.
10. Stuff some stockings. The U.S. Coast Guard’s family and friends sponsor Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children, a program for homeless children ages birth to 17 years living in and out of shelters in the Puget Sound Area. Select some items off the wish list or volunteer to sort and fill stockings on Dec. 12 &13, 2014. Contact Bobette Scheid at firstname.lastname@example.org to donate stocking stuffers or sign-up to volunteer.
photo: Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children
11. Fill Hopelink’s Holiday Giving Rooms with toys. Donate a new, unwrapped toy by Dec. 15, 2014 and give parents who are struggling financially the opportunity to hand-pick an item for their child. Hopelink offers many programs including food, housing, family development, and education enabling families in crisis to make progress toward self-sufficiency. To make a donation, contact email@example.com.
12. Participate in the Chanukah Tzedakah Program and provide holiday gifts to local families through Jewish Family Service. Sponsor a family and hand-pick gifts from their wish list. Bring purchased gifts to the Capitol Hill Campus at 1601 16th St. in Seattle no later than Dec. 10, 2014. For more information, call 206-861-8781.
photo: Jewish Family Service
13. Fill the racks at the Multi-Service Center’s free clothing bank. The Multi-Service Center offers support and resources that help individuals and families move from crisis and poverty to greater self-sufficiency. The Center currently needs blankets, hat and gloves, and warm coats for infants through adults. Bring your items to the Food Bank Warehouse located at 1200 S. 336th St. in Federal Way, Mon.-Fri. from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
14. Put a smile on a child’s face by donating tickets to local attractions. Olive Crest meets the needs of abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families by providing safe homes, counseling, and education. Help a child make a smooth transition into Olive Crest’s care by participating in a fun activity with their family or support counselor. Contact Alex Kaul at 425-462-1612, ext. 1314 to make a contribution.
15. Gift your baby or toddler a fun, colorful onesie or t-shirt from local kid’s clothing line, Jessy & Jack, and benefit Mary’s Place Shelter, a day center for homeless women and children. A company with a cause, Jessy & Jack donates a basic t-shirt for every online order.
photo: Jessy & Jack
16. Provide basic essentials to homeless men, women, and children receiving meals from Operation Sack Lunch. Donate new hats, gloves, and travel-sized hygiene supplies. Call 206-922-2015 for more information.
17. Little bookworms can gift a brand-new book to a child. Page Ahead offers literacy support, reading resources, and new books for children and families. Any book is greatly appreciated, but they are particularly in need of Spanish picture books. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
18. Care for therapy horses by donating hay or carrots. Raven Rock Ranch rescues and rehabilitates neglected or abused hoses and pairs them with at-risk youth. This free program aids recovery by building a bond of trust between child and horse. To contribute, contact email@example.com.
photo: Raven Rock Ranch
19. Who doesn’t love a tasty treat? Purchase cookies ($18/dozen) at CookieFest 2014 at the downtown Seattle Macy’s on Dec. 13, 2014 from 9 a.m-noon. All proceeds from the cookie sales will benefit the Seattle Milk Fund, an organization that funds childcare grants and provides family support to parents pursuing higher education opportunities. To learn more about this program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. If you’re kiddo’s closet is busting at the seems, Stock The Wearhouse—a free store for foster children—is currently accepting donations of clothes, shoes, and supplies. Treehouse helps foster children secure basic material needs, education, and social experiences that help them build confidence, strength, and resiliency. Call 206-267-5185 to schedule a drop-off appointment.
photo: Clarita via morgueFile
21. Collect coins through the Kids Helping Kids (KHK) campaign benefiting homeless children. Wellspring Family Services serves low-income children and families working to build healthy families by concentrating on mental health, family homelessness, early learning, basic needs, and domestic violence intervention. Your child can directly impact a homeless peer through this easy way to give. For more information or questions about KHK, call 206-902-4229.
22. Host a diaper drive at your holiday gathering. Westside Baby works with agency partners to assist low-income families with children’s essentials. Diapers are always needed, as well as donations of new or gently used equipment, gear, and clothing. To sign up to host a donation drive, contact Virginia McFadin at 206-686-6548.
23. Help a refugee family furnish their first home in the United States. World Relief Seattle helps resettle refugees and immigrants from nearly 50 countries. Recruit another family or two and shop for a replanting lives kit or donate items from the general wish list. To get involved, call 253-277-1121 x. 233 or email email@example.com.
photo: World Relief Seattle
24. Help kids on the street survive the cold winter months by providing warm clothing, coats, sleeping bags, hats, and gloves. Youthcare serves over 400 young people each month, some as young as 12 years old, providing a hot meal, a place to warm up, and survival supplies. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-204-1412.
25. Sponsor a supply drive. Youth Eastside Services (YES) promotes healthy families by offering counseling, treatment, and education. YES offers a wide array of programs and always benefits from donations of school supplies, summer camp necessities, activity tickets, and gift cards. For more information, email email@example.com.
Is your family planning on giving back this holiday season? Let us know in a comment below.
— Abbey McGee