Christmas is one of our favorite seasons here at Pelican—the season of giving.
We’ve talked before about whether giving donations as gifts is the right choice for you, and we wanted to talk about some great national and local Louisiana charities that really could use the extra funds this Christmas.
Find out what these charities do for those in need and how you can help:
Your Local Sheriff’s Office
I was surprised to find out that many people don’t know that their local government helps their residents in many cases. Several local sheriff’s offices collect donations as a part of a “Christmas Crusade” in an effort to deliver clothes, food, presents and more to families on Christmas Day. Donating to this cause makes a huge impact on your community.
They usually accept donations from around mid-November through December. Visit your local sheriff’s office or their website to see what they do for the community and how you can participate!
Angel Tree Christmas Program
This program was founded in 1982 by an ex-prisoner who saw relationships between parents and children become strained. They partner with people who buy gifts for kids in their incarcerated parents’ names.
They do this in the hopes of lifting their spirits so that the children don’t go down the same path as the parents. The team at Angel Tree, through beliefs long-held by Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, believe that by showing God’s love during Christmas, they will lead the children down a righteous path.
This is run by Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit that seeks to restore those affected by crime and incarceration by introducing prisoners, victims and their families to a new hope available through Jesus Christ.
If you’d like to get involved with the Angel Tree Christmas Program or Prison Fellowship, they list many ways that you can volunteer on their website to help those in need.
Second Harvest Food Bank
Did you know that 1 in 5 Louisiana households are at risk for hunger? Second Harvest Food Bank is on a mission to put an end to this by collecting and distributing food from their warehouses in New Orleans and Lafayette. By donating food, time or money, you can help local families have meals for the holidays.
Second Harvest doesn’t just distribute food, either. They have a program to feed kids when school meals aren’t available. They also offer nutrition education, a café for seniors and more. Find out about all of the ways they impact South Louisiana and how you can get involved on their website.
Want to give, but don’t have extra money? Read our blog post to find other ways to help charities in need.
CURE International is a nonprofit that operates charitable hospitals and programs in 29 countries all over the world. They work to heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God. They’re dedicated to serving children with severe illnesses and conditions, like bowed legs, cleft lips and more. They’ve performed more than 175,000 procedures since their founding in 1996.
You can read through the stories of children, their conditions and their parents and message them words of encouragement directly on their website. All messages are delivered directly to the children in the hospitals. You can also find a story that really speaks to you, and then donate to that specific child to help them.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. They collect new, unwrapped toys during the last three months of each year to give to less fortunate children in each community. They have a major national campaign as well as local campaigns to help provide toys for kids in need.
Their goal is to give the children hope and contribute to creating better communities in the future. The Toys for Tots Foundation also has a Literacy Program to help put books into the hands of the kids, giving them a chance to read as well as play. You can help by dropping off a toy or book at a local drop-off location.
Christmas Spirit Foundation
This is a nonprofit focused on supporting and advancing the true spirit of Christmas through their Trees for Troops and various other programs, including a college scholarship foundation and hurricane relief for families of American soldiers.
Since 2005, they’ve provided almost 200,000 free trees to the troops and their families. You can help by making donations or outright buying trees for the troops during a designated weekend each year. To see a list of participating farms, visit the “Get Involved” page on their website.
You can also use various online charity shopping links, like AmazonSmile, and donate an unused vehicle to help them fund their program.
For many children, Christmas may be spent confined to a hospital bed. Some may need serious procedures, making their Christmas less magical than others’. Child’s Play helps by donating video games for the patients to share and use.
These games are used as therapeutic tools to get the kids’ minds off of the pain and situation they’re in as they focus on having fun and being immersed into a video game. They also play video games together in a group setting to help kids bond over more than being in a hospital.
You can help by donating video games or systems you don’t use anymore, helping them reduce the cost of their program. Find a location near you or donate directly by visiting the Donate section on their website.
What’s your go-to charity for donations during Christmastime?