Charities and organizations to give to this holiday season

Top 3 places for Christmas donations

Hanna Malone, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holidays that largely promote giving back to the community through money, food, and gift donations. During November, many organizations held canned food drives for people who could not afford to buy a Thanksgiving meal for their family. For example, every year Metropolitan Ministries holds a holiday meal to feed Tampa Bay area families who struggle financially, and they rely very heavily on donations.  If you missed the various food drives in Thanksgiving, and you really had your heart set on giving back, here are a few places you can donate to:

Salvation Army

This Protestant Christian church is internationally known for its charity work. Their goal is to fight hunger, clothe the needy and provide for those affected by natural disasters. During the Christmas season, the organization receives an immense amount of toy and clothing donations for children whose parents are not able to afford gifts. You can also donate money through their website or at most Wal-Mart locations. Or, you could buy a child a Christmas present through the Angel Tree.

The Angel Tree program is volunteer-orchestrated, coming together to provide toys for children who would otherwise not receive Christmas gifts due to their parents’ financial circumstances. Families at or below the Federal Poverty level could register their children so that their names can be placed on a tree in order for people to buy gifts for them.

Hospitals: Shriner Healthcare for Children, St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, St. Joseph’s, Johns Hopkins

Children’s hospitals are always open to monetary donations for research, equipment, and medicines. They also ask for toys geared towards age groups from infants to teens in order to make a patient’s overall experience less stressful. Stuffed animals, LEGO sets, board games, puzzles, crayons, and DVDs make excellent gifts that are sure to make a kid’s Christmas just a little bit brighter. However, it is important that donations are new and clean due to infection control and allergies in the hospital. If you are unsure on what to donate check out the hospitals’ websites for more suggestions.

Metropolitan Ministries

This organization’s mission is to tend for both the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. Throughout the year, they host meals; the main two being Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Volunteers in the community come out to serve those who attend, and rely very heavily on food donations. Metropolitan Ministries offers programs where you can personally host a drive for food or other life essentials in order to make an impact on the community by supplying necessities to families in need. There are also clothing drop boxes in various locations around Hillsborough County that you can donate to.