It’s been a tough year, mamas. We all know it. But we also know how absolutely incredible and giving and generous this here community of parents always is for those in need. While our holiday gift guide has a whole category of terrific charitable gift ideas, we thought we’d ask our editors and contributors for their own favorite charitable orgs that could maybe use a little extra push this year.
Liz: White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
year I discovered the remarkable work of the White Ribbon Alliance and
am, from here on forward, an evangelical fan. Mostly because they set
very tangible goals about minimizing deaths from childbirth, and have
the political support around the world to actually reach them. Of
course, that’s provided they have the money to put all their programs
into action. Make a donation in honor of your favorite moms in your
life, whether yours or someone else’s.
Kristen: Let’s Say Thanks
I was fortunate that my husband, a National Guardsman, was only deployed for 45 days this year and is home for the holidays. So I love the idea behind Let’s Say Thanks, a program that allows anyone to show their gratitude for the troops by picking a card (drawn by kids) and a pre-printed message for free. Xerox kindly prints the cards and then ensures that they’re included in a gift box from Give2OurTroops. If you’re feeling extra generous, consider donating money towards an actual care package and make one or many soldiers smile this holiday.
Christina: Room to Read
I’m a huge book lover, so Room to Read’s passion for reading
really appeals to me. I love that they are committed to helping
communities in developing countries construct libraries, create
local-language books for kids, and help girls get better
educational opportunities. Make
a donation in someone’s name, and you can email or print out a card announcing the gift.
Betsy: Heifer International
A few years ago my extended family agreed to skip giving gifts to one
another in favor of putting that money towards a donation that could
truly make difference for those living in abject poverty around the
globe. Heifer International donates animals to help impoverished villages so that they can help themselves.
Julie: The Family Tree House of Hope
the past two years, my girls and I have taken boxes and bags
full of gifts to the moms and kids at House of Hope – a real home where
homeless mothers and their children begin to turn their worlds around.
It’s become a holiday tradition that makes us feel warmer inside than a
mug of cocoa. If you can’t make a monetary gift this year, consider
donating food, coats or toys to a local shelter that gets less
attention than some of the big charities.
Susan: Feeding America’s BackPack Program.
I’m a huge fan of Feeding America (also featured in the Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide) primarily because of their BackPack Program.
program sends at-risk kids home from school every Friday with a
backpack full of food to get them through weekends when there isn’t a
school breakfast or lunch program available to them. They even provide
extra food for siblings who aren’t in school yet. And if you don’t mind
it arriving after Christmas, the Hope holiday cards (shown) from Feeding America are awesome.
Stephanie: Rethink Breast Cancer
It’s tough enough to be a new mom. But being a new mom with
a new breast cancer diagnosis would surely be a heck of a lot tougher. Rethink
Breast Cancer’s Adopt a Mom program in Canada gives the opportunity to donate a
single gift amount or a monthly pledge to help support a
young mom and her family. Donate now and you can send an e-card to your recipient announcing it.
Carrie: Kiva International
love Kiva’s approach to alleviating poverty: micro-loans to budding
entrepreneurs in impoverished locations. The website has very detailed
bios of the folks asking for the loans as well as what they want the
money for, like pumpkin farming or opening a bakery. The best part? The
loans get paid back, allowing you to use the same money to help the
Mir: Containers to Clinics
50% of the children dying in the
world today could be saved with very simple measures — rehydration
and or antibiotics. Containers to Clinics recycles shipping containers by turning them into durable, portable
medical clinics to get lifesaving care into underserved areas. You can make a donation in someone’s name right through the site.
Local Zoos and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
I’m a big supporter of our local zoos (mine is the Toronto Zoo)
because they do great work in wildlife conservation, and because I love
monkeys – and they make the supporting easy by offering animal adoption packages:
Donate and get an “adoption” certificate (it’s more like a foster
program – you can’t take your polar bear home with you) so that you can
give your monkey a monkey without all the mess.
Also, my nephew, Tanner, has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, so I make regular donations to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy,
an organization that funds DMD research and does great work supporting
kids with DMD and their families. If you’re looking for last-minute
gifts that pack a meaningful punch, check out their gift shop for books and music created by children who are defying DMD by using the muscles of their imagination and spirit.
Thanks, as always, for your generosity cool moms.