The end of the year brings with it numerous reasons for celebration and generosity. While it is perfectly acceptable to focus on your own family and friends, it is also typical to spread the wealth just beyond your inner circle. There are organizations that work all year long to help those who need a little hand up out of the muck. During the months of November and December, these needs often increase. Here are the top local organizations to donate your money or time to this upcoming holiday season.
Back on my Feet
1520 Locust St., Suite 804
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Sometimes the best way to help people is to help them help themselves. Back on my Feet was created by a Philadelphia Runner to promote and give a hand up to the homeless. Founder Anne Mahlum connected with some of the earliest Back on my Feet members by running near the rescue mission on 13th and Vine. She realized the structure and clarity running gave her and thought it might also help others to clear their minds and get back on their feet. Those who need help can get it through their dedication to the process of running. The more dedicated the participants are, the more opportunities that open up for them in regards to housing, employment and more. You can help by donating your money, time, buying merchandise or even running.
Related: List of Local Area Food Banks
1810 Grant Ave.
Since animals give so much to us, and we in turn give to them, it is only fair to think of our furry companions during the holidays as well, especially for people who prefer the comfort of dogs and cats over other humans. PAWS accepts monetary donations to help care for homeless, non-feral animals. PAWS is the only no-kill shelter in the city and additional locations provide spaying-neutering and low-cost clinics. Ninety-one percent of every dollar donated goes directly to the animals. Even as little as a $25 dollar donation can save a life. If you have time to give, you can apply on the site to volunteer at one of PAWS’ three locations.
3616 S Galloway St.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Philabundance was created in 1984 to help the hungry in the Philadelphia area based on the belief that hard times can happen to anyone. The organization currently helps feed over a million people who struggle to have enough food to be healthy. Philabundance runs over a half-dozen programs, including Grocers against Hunger. More than 25 percent of the country’s food gets wasted, and participating grocers donate perfectly acceptable food that their guidelines would have them throw away otherwise. Philabundance provides refrigerated trucks to pick this food up and redistributes it to those in need. Donating to this group not only helps the needy, but keeps perfectly good food from going to waste. The organization also partners with other programs such as Baby Manna, The Food Help Line, Programs for Seniors and runs lunch programs like KidsBites. Philabundance receives 62 percent of its funding from regular people in the form of monetary donations to keep those trucks running. You can also help by organizing a food drive or an event to raise money for the organization.
Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
642 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging helps seniors by enriching their lives and maintaining the dignity they have earned. The organization runs social activities and adult day care centers (especially for those with developmental disabilities). It also provides options for those in need when other programs have been exhausted (such as paying for medications) through its “Emergency Fund.” PCA runs “Meals on Wheels” and helps over 20,000 seniors in the Philadelphia area prepare meals they could not normally make for themselves. The organization accepts mostly monetary donations, and you can give through its website or by mailing in a check.
The Loving Vine Foundation
Maple Shade, NJ 08052
The Loving Vine Foundation began with a few ladies who wanted to help families in need with back-to-school supplies, so they created a drive to fill new backpacks with supplies. This has since evolved to extend to more of the community with Thanksgiving food drives and a Christmas drive in mid-December. The group’s Facebook page helps the community get involved to help their neighbors and fill the gaps from budgets at the elementary schools. The Loving Vine, which is run by Sandy Sauselein, Kimberly Beth and Michelle Foster, exemplify that the world can be made better one community at a time.
Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.