We've all been inundated with Gift Guides promising to solve the holiday conundrum of what to get people: from the coworker you aren't well acquainted with, to your mom who says that she already has everything she needs. For myself and many others I know, it's been hard to look at this as a real 'problem' given the atrocities that are currently going on in the United States and abroad. One of the things that I truly feel can provide a sense of meaning in situations where we otherwise feel helpless is to give back.
This is just a small list of many of the organizations doing amazing work for our world, and the people & animals who inhabit it. Supporting these groups is helping to champion those in need while protecting our future! I strongly suggest that if you're looking for a last minute gift, a unique gift, or any kind of gift at all, check these groups out and give on behalf of the recipient. They will feel great about it, you will too, and the good that you've done will far outreach the excitement of a material object. Win-Win-Win!
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)
Dedicated to the support of HIV/AIDS research.
Doctors Without Borders
Providing medical aid where it's needed most. Worldwide.
Enforcing and strengthening laws to keep communities as safe, healthy places to live and work, and to safeguard the irreplaceable natural world.
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Providing relief, respect and renewal to refugees and victims of armed conflict around the world.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Ensuring the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminating race prejudice.
Education and advocacy to protect and advance women's health and rights.
An independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
Prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
Advancing the safety and well-being of animals globally.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
Combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.
The Trevor Project
Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Please keep in mind that you can set up recurring donations for these organizations. The holidays aren't the only season when time and money is needed - these amazing groups are doing hard work all year round!
Another great way to give back is to offer your time. Many of these same organizations need volunteers or workers with your same skill set to provide even just a couple hours a week of assistance.
If there are any wonderful charity organizations that you love, let me know and we can keep this list growing!
And while there's nothing wrong with loving style (the reason behind this very blog!), it's important to remember: the best things in life aren't things. Stay informed, stay strong, and you'll feel the real holiday spirit that much brighter.