I prefer to make donations to groups that make a long-term impact, but still, nothing tugs at my heartstrings like the thought of a kid with nothing to open on Christmas Day. As a single mom, it sucked to be the one always saying no to my kids, and there were years it was a real effort to get even the smallest gifts. So if buying a baby doll or a truck will bring a smile to the face of a child whose family can't afford one, I'm there. So I always remember Toys for Tots this time of year.
Instead of presents for my siblings this year, I'm making a donation to Philabundance. There are many, many families going to bed hungry in my city, so this group, which buys food in massive volume, distributes it to Philadelphia food pantries, and supplies numerous other community hunger programs, gives me the biggest bang for my donation dollars. ($11 = 22 meals.)
Girls Rock Philly teaches girls to write songs and play in a rock band, and contributions go for scholarships to kids who can't afford it. Last year, I donated in the name of my beloved nieces, and they loved it.
I have fond memories of Heifer International, because even the years I was scraping by, I could always afford $20 to donate a flock of chickens in my mother's name. My mom always got a big kick out of it.
And finally, Smile Train, the organization that provides over 100,000 cleft palate surgeries around the world for free. Help restore someone's smile, it's a great feeling.
What are your favorite places to give?