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What charities do you support this time of year?


mommyoffive
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We do Toys for Tots, plus the local food pantry and the local clothing pantry. We also make a donation to the homeless shelter in Flint. We have international charities - mostly Doctor's Without Borders - that we give to annually, but we like to support local organizations as much as possible and especially at Christmas.

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I do small automatic donations for a variety of charities throughout the year.  Many charities, particularly food banks, see a surge of interest during the holiday season and are reduced to almost nothing the rest of the year.  So I give to two local food banks, to a hospice outreach organization for kids who have dying parents or siblings, to planned parenthood, to Reading is Fundamental (yes, it's still around and does more to get books into the hands of needy kids than any other organization), to Mother Jones, and to one other place I'm not recalling at the moment.  It's maybe $125 a month and we're fortunate to be able to afford that, but we started out with $10 a month to our local food bank at the beginning.

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We have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International for quite a few years not.   It is fun to get letters and such, and see how the child is growing up. 

 

We've done one or two animal "adoptions" and that was kind of fun, but speaking only for myself I can't imagine bringing 12 stuffed animals into my home in a year.  :-)  

 

ETA: we also donate throughout the year and don't focus on anything in particular for Christmas, other than that's the time there are coat/hat/mitten drives, and opportunities for special gift giving like Toys for Tots and giving trees. 

Edited by marbel
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We participate in my church's giving tree. They help provide Christmas for local families around the parish but not necessarily parishioners. I like the way they do it because they have the kids make their wish list and then they spread out the specific requests on construction paper ornaments for parishioners to pick from. They also have a few none specific items like a christmas movie because they give every family a gift/food basket in addition to the presents the kids request. They supply parents with tape and wrapping paper but allow the parents to wrap the gifts for their own kids. We always pick items that tend to reflect our own families interests like videogames or boardgames.

 

Since money is so tight for us all year long that is the only charity I give to now. The rest are spread out throughout the year.

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Same ones we support at every time of year: DonorsChoose, Planned Parenthood, the NYPL, City Harvest, The American Refugee Committee, and the ACLU. They each get between $5 and $10 a month from us, every month. I'm looking at our budget now that the yearly raise has come in, trying to work out if we can afford to add the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Lambda Legal to that list, and either the FFRF or an environmental charity. (The election made me a bit more political, lol!) Additionally, we give gifts through New York Cares Winter Wishes, and we give our old coats through... whichever organization it is that puts out boxes in all the stores, and we routinely drop off old books at the Little Free Library down the block.

 

I suppose those aren't all "charities". They're not-for-profits, anyway. Well, excepting the Little Free Library, which is just a... you know, a box with books.

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Special Olympics, Waves of Impact, and Shared Adventures because my daughter participates in activities put on by those organizations

 

Cake4Kids recruits volunteers to bake and decorate birthday cakes for children in the foster care system, homeless & domestic violence shelters, etc.

 

A holiday food box for families served by a local food pantry

 

stuff through our church

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We give throughout the year - our local Christian radio station, church, a Christian club my kids belonged to for years, we sponsor a child through Gospel For Asia (still doing it, though paying attention to lawsuits involving them), our local volunteer fire company/EMT, extra medical issues through our health share (members can donate to these), our colleges, practically all fundraisers held at the school where I work (usually traveling groups, but sometimes medical or uniforms/equipment), any held at my local grocery store (similar causes as school, but a wider target group), and similar. We'll also donate to some of those "grocery store/school" groups when we travel if they are set up at stores, rest areas, or other areas where we come across them.  I might be missing some.

 

The only thing different at Christmas is we put $1 in each red Salvation Army bucket we come across.

 

Ongoing places need money throughout the year and special needs can come up anytime.

 

We donate more locally than we do nationally or internationally and we never donate to unsolicited flyers received through the mail or phone calls.  We don't always claim donations off taxes either.  We do for regular donations to groups, but don't worry about it for one time things or individuals.

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Heifer international. They provide starter crops/livestock and education to communities with the intention of improving self-sustainable food sources. For instance, a goat that produces milk can be milked, cheese can be made, it can be bred to make more goats. Offspring of animal gifts are to be given to others in the community to improve locals also.

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We have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International for quite a few years not.   It is fun to get letters and such, and see how the child is growing up. 

 

We've done one or two animal "adoptions" and that was kind of fun, but speaking only for myself I can't imagine bringing 12 stuffed animals into my home in a year.  :-)  

 

ETA: we also donate throughout the year and don't focus on anything in particular for Christmas, other than that's the time there are coat/hat/mitten drives, and opportunities for special gift giving like Toys for Tots and giving trees. 

 

How much interaction can you have with the child?  How often do you get letters?  Can you write back?

 

 

I am thinking of sponsoring a wolf at the wold center we visited in Canada too. 

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I do some annual donations and some things that vary each year.

 

Annually I give to scholarship funds, foreign orphanages / schools, a kids' mental health organization, a local community theater.  (Might be forgetting something.)

 

Depending on what opportunities arise, I give to specific needy families, Operation Christmas Child, and similar.  We usually do one or two volunteer projects around the holidays, again depending on the opportunity.

 

I give a fair amount to my family members in need.

 

And yes, I sponsor individual students.  Starting this year, I took on the sponsorships of students in 4 families - which means I bought important things for the families as well as the individual students.

 

Mayan Families (mayanfamilies.org) is the organization I go through to sponsor students.  The sponsored kids send letters and copies of their report cards.  We can send letters to them also, but so far we have not.  We should probably do that this Christmas.

 

Edited by SKL
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We give to a number of educational institutions and non profits/charities annually. During this holiday season I found non-profit organizations selling wreathes, poinsettias and Christmas trees. In addition to purchasing these items for us, I bought a wreath for my neighbor who picks up our mail when we travel and poinsettias for the posse of folks who make my life easier. So while these are not completely charitable gifts, the proceeds benefit the organizations.

 

Like Creekland, I deposit some money in every Salvation Army kettle I encounter this time of year.

 

Funny you ask about this. Earlier today, I started on the annual ledger of gifts that will be written off our taxes. We have exceeded last year's donations (in part because of a windfall I received). This reminded me though that there are two regular groups to which I contribute but I have yet to send them a check.

 

ETA: My husband's employer sponsors a bicycle gift program annually. Volunteers work with the schools and other social service programs to target children in need who are then provided with a bicycle and helmet. The organizers tell us that the average bike and helmet costs X so that is the amount we give.

Edited by Jane in NC
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We give throughout the year to our church, a crisis pregnancy center, and support a child through Compassion International.

 

This time of year we also do a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, Angel tree at our church (which goes to kids of teen moms in Young Lives and we get wish lists from the moms). We also usually give goats/chickens etc through the Samaritans Purse catalog.

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How much interaction can you have with the child?  How often do you get letters?  Can you write back?

 

 

I am thinking of sponsoring a wolf at the wold center we visited in Canada too. 

 

Yes, you can and in fact are encouraged to write to the child.  They ask for 3 times a year. I guess we get 3-4 letters a year, plus always a thank-you letter for birthday and Christmas gift.  Some people I know write monthly and I wish I could manage that, but I haven't been able to.  

 

In my experience the level of interaction varies.  We have sponsored two children. 

 

One was a boy from Peru.  He wrote long chatty letters full of questions.  He answered our questions too.  That was a lot of fun.  Sadly for us, after a couple of years his family moved to another area where that program didn't operate, so that relationship was severed.

 

We have been sponsoring a girl from Uganda for about 15 years.  Her letters are much more rote.  For a long time the letters were written by a translator, but then it became obvious the girl was learning English, so she wrote them herself.  For a while the handwriting was almost illegible!  That resolved, but still, it is a little harder to feel a connection with her.   I do recall her telling us how she spent the money we sent for her 8th birthday:  among some relatively inconsequential items was a goat for the family! That was exciting to us (my kids are 2 and 3 years younger).  And it showed what an impact we could have.  

 

Don't get me wrong - we enjoy the letters and are happy to be involved in her life!  But, just being honest here, it adds a lot when the child can really respond to the letters.  

 

When this child ages out (I think at age 22 which will be next year) I may take a break from sponsoring, though I will still donate $$ regularly.   

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We fulfill a few wish lists for children in foster care through local foster care organization. It's sort of like angel tree but for foster kids. They also do back to school drives for backpacks for kids in foster care.  We also donate to lunches of love which is a program that sends food home with children in need on the weekends and extra food when there are long weekends and breaks.

 

I also drop donations off at charities that I know allow people in need to "shop" for free.  They set up their warehouse very nice and organized and people come in by appointment to find things they need for home or clothing, toys etc.

 

We also donate to various food drives through schools, boy scouts, U.S. mail also has a food drive run sometime during the year where you can leave donations by your mail box and they mail person picks them up during their mail runs.

 

 

Edited by lynn
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This Thanksgiving we sponsored a child through Compassion International (great rating with those places that critique non-profits). It was bittersweet picking a child to help; there are so many whose lives could be changed breaking the poverty cycle. This is a monthly commitment.

 

We purchased supplies for and made care packages and served in a local food kitchen and learned a lot from speakers who work with the homeless with our local homeschool group.

 

We plan to do a one time donation for Christmas, too. Undecided yet to who.

 

New Year's Eve we are planning and hosting a charity poker tournament amongst friends. Winner chooses where the buy-in money goes to.

Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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The stuffed animals look like fun, but if you have a heart for animals, I would encourage you to pick an organization other than WWF. The organization was founded by trophy hunters and still supports trophy and sport hunting. They also support seal pup clubbing and the ivory trade. 

 

You might instead consider:

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Edited by MercyA
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I dump my change in the Salvation Army bucket if there is a bell ringer.

 

I put food in the food drive bins at the grocery store.

 

I buy for the Angel Tree (also Salvation Army).

 

I give an extra donation to our parish Rector Fund that he uses to help out folks at Christmas at his discretion.

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The stuffed animals look like fun, but if you have a heart for animals, I would encourage you to pick an organization other than WWF. The organization was founded by trophy hunters and still supports trophy and sport hunting. They also support seal pup clubbing and the ivory trade.

 

I've never heard that. I'm not saying it's false, but do you have a source for more information?

 

And on that note - and not to start anything! - if you're concerned about gay rights you might want to reconsider putting money in Salvation Army buckets.

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We've been fortunate to be in the position to do several things this year:

  • through our church: made our regular donations for the functioning of the church, and this month we've added food for the monthly food drive, putting something extra in the plate (half the undesignated plate collection goes to a different local group each week--this month is a local public middle school that the church partners with through mentoring/tutoring, hygiene bags, food backpacks, etc), and buying supplies for the local LGBTQ+ teen center off our giving tree.
  • through my husband's office:  food donations for a local food pantry drive, and I still have to get a couple of things for the toy/clothes/supplies drive for the Boys and Girls Club that the office has decided to do instead of their usual white elephant exchange for the Xmas party.
  • through my daughter's GS troop:  helped put together Thanksgiving baskets for families
  • directly:  support our local NPR station (ongoing), and made donations to two GoFundMe campaigns--one for a long-time friend who needs surgery but falls through every crack there is in terms of finding assistance, and one my father-in-law started for the 4yo daughter (one of twins) of someone he knows. The 4 yo has a recurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma and even with insurance and some assistance from St. Jude's the family is basically drowning financially. Dad is a construction worker, mom cleaned houses but can't due to caring for the children (I believe they have an older child in addition to the twins), and they are living in a motel.

We have a core group of 4 couples we've been friends with for going on 25 years and several years ago we all decided to do donations instead of exchanging gifts among the adults and then we share about them for our regular Christmas Eve get-together. It's really interesting to learn about groups each couple chooses to support over the years. In the past we've frequently done Heifer Project and various angel tree lists. I particularly enjoyed doing one angel tree list for a senior citizen one year (I think the tree was in a Walgreen's).

Edited by KarenNC
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I put food in the food drive bins at the grocery store.

 

Grocery stores around here don't do that, but most of them let you buy $1, $3, or $5 tickets to donate money to CityHarvest. This is better, anyway, because the pantry knows what they need better than I do, and when you consider they can do bulk buying and corporate matching, their $5 can buy what I'd have to spend $25 at the store to give them. Cash is king, as always.

 

Which I reminds me, I guess I usually do chip in my change or a quarter, anyway, to fight cancer or help the ASPCA - it's some sort of rule that all corner stores have to have a charity box, but only ONE, LOL, and the most common are against various forms of cancer and for the ASPCA. Hm. I wonder if that's tax-deductible at the end of the year? I don't exactly get a receipt....

Edited by Tanaqui
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What charities do you support this time of year? 

 

Does anyone sponsor a child? 

 

With what group? 

 

I was thinking of doing this for my kids

 

https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Adoption-of-the-Month-Club.aspx

 

Has anyone done that? 

 

Any other good suggestions?

 

I sponsor a girl in Ecuador through Compassion International.  (just started in late October -- too late to get in on Christmas this year. But I'm looking forward to her birthday in April!)  She's a couple of years older than my oldest.  I've sent out two letters so far. Not seen anything yet.

 

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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Pretty much the same ones I always support:  our local homeless shelter for families, Catholic Social Services food bank, Ronald McDonald House, and Shriner's Hospitals for Children. 

 

Also, this year, more of my money is going to the Dravet Syndrome Foundation.  My cousin's twin boys have been diagnosed with this catastrophic form of epilepsy so I am trying to send some money that direction in hopes of a cure.

Edited by littlebug42
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What charities do you support this time of year? 

 

Does anyone sponsor a child? 

 

With what group? 

 

I was thinking of doing this for my kids

 

https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Adoption-of-the-Month-Club.aspx

 

Has anyone done that? 

 

Any other good suggestions?

 

We sponsor 2 children with two different agencies all year round - Compassion and World Vision. We usually support Angel Tree and do Shoeboxes (but I missed the drop off deadline this year :( )

I like to do something locally as well. It varies. Sometimes I just pass out baggies with food. Dh supports the local mission.

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I sponsor a girl in Ecuador through Compassion International.  (just started in late October -- too late to get in on Christmas this year. But I'm looking forward to her birthday in April!)  She's a couple of years older than my oldest.  I've sent out two letters so far. Not seen anything yet.

 

It takes a while but you will likely receive something. Also, if you send your letters through their online service, it seems you get a faster response - probably because your letter is delivered electronically, but that is just my speculation.

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I dump my change in the Salvation Army bucket if there is a bell ringer.

 

I put food in the food drive bins at the grocery store.

 

I buy for the Angel Tree (also Salvation Army).

 

I give an extra donation to our parish Rector Fund that he uses to help out folks at Christmas at his discretion.

 

I have a question regarding "Angel Tree." I have known about it for years and I have always associated the name "Angel Tree" with Chuck Colson's organization. This year my church said something about "it's done by someone else."

I am just curious if there are several organizations who are using the name "Angel Tree" since you mentioned your SA is involved?

 

ETA: It does not really matter to me since all I want to do is get something for the girl whose "paper angel" I have.

 

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We have a girl we sponsor through Compassion International and we always give her some extra money for gifts for Christmas. She is in Ecuador and yes she writes to us.  With this last letter, she asked us where we have earthquakes in my country and about football (soccer) in our country. 

 

We give money to different organizations year round.  Some that we give around Christmas include the local art museum, the local public radio station,  a local conservation group, Arthritis Foundation, Lupus Foundation, Samaritan's Purse, Voices of the Martyrs, Prison Fellowship, and I buy food coupons at Publix that goes to a food bank.  I also put in money at the Salvation Army buckets and I give money at our church.

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I have a question regarding "Angel Tree." I have known about it for years and I have always associated the name "Angel Tree" with Chuck Colson's organization. This year my church said something about "it's done by someone else."

I am just curious if there are several organizations who are using the name "Angel Tree" since you mentioned your SA is involved?

 

ETA: It does not really matter to me since all I want to do is get something for the girl whose "paper angel" I have.

 

 

In common speech around here it is like using "kleenex" to mean all tissues (or, to use a specifically Southern example, "coke" to mean any kind of carbonated soft drink :) --"What kind of coke do you want?" "Pepsi." ). Different groups may use different shapes of ornaments. It seems I may have heard "take an angel/ornament from our giving tree"-type of statements rather than specifically "angel tree," but I couldn't say for sure. 

 

That's the way in which I tend to use it. I rather doubt either Chuck Colson or the Salvation Army has much interest in or anything to do with our UU church's tree with decorated index cards asking for donations to support the local LGBTQ+ youth support center. ;)

Edited by KarenNC
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I've never heard that. I'm not saying it's false, but do you have a source for more information?

 

WWF supports trophy hunting. [This link worked earlier, but is now giving me an error every time I try it. Here's the cached view, plus another link.]

WWF supports seal pup clubbing.

WWF supports slaughtering elephants for their tusks.

Edited by MercyA
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I sponsor a boy in Uganda through Grace International Children's Foundation

I've been his sponsor since 2008.  I can write him at any time and get a minimum of 2 letters from him (and 1-2 pictures) every year.  I've been able to visit him 3 times (once for a whole month!).  This is a very well run organization run by people who do NOT take a salary!  They are still taking in new children-- one of the few organizations in Uganda that are permitted to.  I've been to the home 4 times (last time my boy was away at boarding school)-- I hope to return this coming summer...

 

I also sponsor a school in Uganda that is located in a very poor community that has opened their homes to over 100 orphaned children (permanent foster homes)-- the families receive zero compensation for taking in these children and most families live below the poverty line.  The school waives tuition and fees for these students.

I've been there personally too!  Again- no person earns a salary by distributing the donations.  I hope to visit there again next summer too!

 

 

 

 

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It takes a while but you will likely receive something. Also, if you send your letters through their online service, it seems you get a faster response - probably because your letter is delivered electronically, but that is just my speculation.

 

I'm being patient! The first letter was paper because I didn't have my sponsor # yet. The second was online (and just sent a week ago) I'm working on a third.  One nice thing about it being online is I can add as I think of stuff, attach pictures, etc.

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I have a question regarding "Angel Tree." I have known about it for years and I have always associated the name "Angel Tree" with Chuck Colson's organization. This year my church said something about "it's done by someone else."

I am just curious if there are several organizations who are using the name "Angel Tree" since you mentioned your SA is involved?

 

ETA: It does not really matter to me since all I want to do is get something for the girl whose "paper angel" I have.

 

 

Yes, there appear to be several different organizations that do Angel Tree. Just doing a search, I found one in KNoxville, Tennessee that doesn't seem to be associated with any organization, one organized by Salvation Army and one organized by Prison Fellowship (Chuck Colson's organization)

 

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We do Angel tree, either through the Salvation Army, or through a local church. This year, we sponsored two kids directly, and our homeschool group is sponsoring a family. DD supports several animal conservation organizations, as well as supporting research projects directly.

 

We also support academic and arts programs for low income kids. DH, especially, benefitted greatly from such funding as a child, and I have worked in schools in those areas long enough to realize how many talented kids are poorly or not served because of lack of access and funding. While the PTA/PTOs here do a good job of keeping arts in schools, usually it's for middle class kids who often also have access to extracurricular programs.

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The stuffed animals look like fun, but if you have a heart for animals, I would encourage you to pick an organization other than WWF. The organization was founded by trophy hunters and still supports trophy and sport hunting. They also support seal pup clubbing and the ivory trade. 

 

You might instead consider:

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

 

Ugh

do you have some articles about that? 

Now I feel awful.   

 

Off to look for more ideas. 

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I sponsor a boy in Uganda through Grace International Children's Foundation

I've been his sponsor since 2008.  I can write him at any time and get a minimum of 2 letters from him (and 1-2 pictures) every year.  I've been able to visit him 3 times (once for a whole month!).  This is a very well run organization run by people who do NOT take a salary!  They are still taking in new children-- one of the few organizations in Uganda that are permitted to.  I've been to the home 4 times (last time my boy was away at boarding school)-- I hope to return this coming summer...

 

I also sponsor a school in Uganda that is located in a very poor community that has opened their homes to over 100 orphaned children (permanent foster homes)-- the families receive zero compensation for taking in these children and most families live below the poverty line.  The school waives tuition and fees for these students.

I've been there personally too!  Again- no person earns a salary by distributing the donations.  I hope to visit there again next summer too!

 

So wonderful that you have been able to visit. 

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Ugh

do you have some articles about that? 

Now I feel awful.   

 

Off to look for more ideas. 

 

Yes, there are some articles linked in post #38 in this thread. 

 

Don't feel badly! It's not your fault WWF likes to portray themselves as a warm-and-fuzzy "help the animals" organization when they are really anything but.   :mad:

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What charities do you support this time of year? 

 

Does anyone sponsor a child? 

 

With what group? 

 

I was thinking of doing this for my kids

 

https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Adoption-of-the-Month-Club.aspx

 

Has anyone done that? 

 

Any other good suggestions?

 

A few, though I support them all year long, as well as a couple of ministries.

 

DAV, Salvation Army, a local Mission, Feed the Children, a local home run by some Catholic nuns, etc. 

 

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2 local food banks

Our church's food bank, which also provides weekly meals to the homeless

A local charity called Love, Inc. which helped us with rent and a vehicle when we were desperate several years ago!

Trades of Hope

Food for the Hungry

We bought Christmas gifts for a young single mom and her dd 

A home for unwed single moms/pregnancy crisis center

We're donating a bunch of stuff to Salvation Army 

 

That is THIS year.  We have never been able to give this much ever, but we've always done 2-3 things at Christmas and then as we can the rest of the year.

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