Tis The Season To Give-Help Me Find A Charity

Hi there friends! Today’s post is a personal one. Growing up I had very kind and generous parents. They both would give you the shirt off their backs and many times they did so with family, friends and people in our community. It’s that kind of generosity I am trying to show my boys. From the smallest of gestures, to the big ones too. There are so many moments where we can make someone’s day feel a little brighter. These moments, big and small I hope will serve to inspire them to be givers in their own lives one day.

As long as I can remember my mom would give donations to the Covenant House, a place that gave hope, food and shelter to homeless youth in NYC. Christmas time was especially important for her to give, as she always had a special place her heart for them. One year we decided to go in on Christmas Eve to volunteer with their annual holiday dinner. I was 17, a senior in high school, I was nervous and excited, I didn’t know what to expect. We had to cancel last minute and every year after because she wasn’t well enough to go. She passed away when I was 23 but her sense of charity and sensitivity to others in need has always stayed with me. I think I carry it even closer with me because I know it was such a part of her.

So…Sunday I posted about my segment on the Rachael Ray show. Well, 50 Strong gave all of the contestants $500. I honestly didn’t know there was any sort of monetary winnings at all when I said yes. The opportunity of being on the show was gift enough for me and let me just say that I know my mom would have been over the moon about it. The ride home from the city after taping that day felt surreal. I kept thinking, “how is this even possible?” The overwhelming feeling I had was one of gratitude, for this career I built from nothing, my family who I love more than life itself, my friends, my home, our life, where we live, etc… I came home and told my family about the incredible day, they were so excited and wanted to hear every detail. Then I told them that I wanted to give that money away. I also asked if they wanted to contribute too. Jack said yes right away and Shane (my little accountant) ask how much, lol. Together they gave another $100 and I matched that.

All in all we have $700 to give and now comes the tough part, to who and how? I wanted to write this post and ask for your help because I think we can inspire something bigger and give ideas to one another. Even if it’s an act of kindness, a donation of toys, food, clothing or money. At a time when we are inundated with how much everyone has (especially on social media) I think it’s important to realize there are so many that are struggling.

Ok, so this is what I have so far. If you have any ideas or links please leave them in comments below. And if you do something in your own community I love to hear about it!

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House-Long Island

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots-Long Island

Covenant House


Cancer Society

St. Jude

Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club-Long Island


Girls Inc.

Wildwood Orphanage

or ONE local family in need

You can see how tough this is right?!

Thank you for taking the time to read this & care!

Have a happy day!

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  1. There is an organization I have personally volunteered with twice this year (in Greece with Syrian refugees). It is called Nurture Project International. It is 100 percent volunteer run. It’s a small NGO and it is doing great and very needed work in Greece, Iraq and Bangladesh with pregnant and new mothers. The stories I heard were heartbreaking and these families have nothing really. You can look at their website for more information. Happy holidays and thank you for setting a great example of giving for your kids.

  2. Hi Jen,

    This is such a wonderful thing that you, John, Shane and Jack are doing! I saw on the Little Flower (Wildwood Orphanage) website that they have a “Holiday Wish List” and are asking for items (or $ to purchase the items) so the kids can have holiday gifts. It might be fun for you and the family to contact them to see what they can use, shop for the gifts and then drop them off personally. Just a suggestion. Whatever you choose is fantastic!

    1. Hi Julie, thank you, that is such a wonderful idea! I was actually looking on their site the other day. Have a happy day! Jen

  3. It is not national and not local to you but i know that the food pantry in my small town would benefit greatly from a donation. The woman who runs it is pretty amazing and dedicates a lot of her time and energy into running it. I know it would be considered a huge blessing for her to be able to provide a little extra for the holidays to the families in need here. We are a tiny town in CNY and there are many families that need the help provided. I have had to use it myself and am always treated by Judy with dignity like every other person that walks through the doors.

  4. My heart goes out to Ronald McDonald house but I feel strongly about a single family in need. Ronald McDonald House helped my parents when they had to be with my nephew who had heart problems. He needed a new heart which he did receive. It was a blessing. I also feel helping a single family is nice. Years ago my church took donations to fill stockings for some families. A family friend and church member and myself filled them and took them to a few houses and to some pastors to take. Just knowing someone was going to have something to look forward to on that day was great. What was so funny is her tire blew and we were able to get to the hospital to call someone for help and then finish delivery. This was in Atlanta downtown and not a good neighborhood. I was raised to be helpful and kind. My heart also goes out to people to help them. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

  5. The Long Island based Harry Chaplin Food Pantry or INN – , Interfaith Nutrition Network ,both feed the hungry.

  6. The Salvation Army helped so much this year with the hurricanes in the south and the fires in California.

  7. Wow you have so many wonderful ideas and suggestions already. My personal choice is The Animal Hope and Wellness foundation. The founder Marc Ching has literally risked his life to go undercover to expose and shut down slaughter houses of the dog and cat meat trade. In Asian countries, particularly China they eat dogs and cats. Not only do they eat them but before they do they torture the animals, skin them, disembowel them, boil them alive, cut off their paws (as it’s a delicacy) all because they believe it makes the meat more tender. Marc and his team of brave volunteers have shut down many of the slaughter houses and continues to rescue abused animals locally in California. Please check out their website and Facebook page for more information if you are interested in donating to them.

  8. Share Our Strength supports food banks and emergency-relief organizations, and works to address hunger’s root causes. It teaches low-income families about nutrition and budgeting, helps enroll poor children in federal nutrition programs, and funds groups that teach job and life skills to impoverished families. One of its programs encourages people to donate one hour’s wage to battle childhood hunger. Another initiative helps communities hold fund-raisers to benefit hungry kids.


  9. Please find a family in need in your community, and donate to them. I know it is not tax deductible, but I also know about need. Grateful to have a roof over my head and food to eat. Worked hard all my life but live with an extremely limited monthly income. My friend is a multi-millionaire. She is so generous and helps with some odds and ends that I need. However, her large donations have to go to charities that enable tax deductions. My point here is not to share my stuff! But to help you see how much individuals in your community need your help!
    Thanks, Merry Christmas, and God Bless

  10. Jen, I think your idea is wonderful. A true reflection of the goodness in you
    that radiates out into all that you create. My suggestion would be, whylimit it
    to one charity? As I look at your beautiful boys, holding that precious pup, one
    is reminded that family is not only the humans in a home, but their beloved pets.
    Perhaps giving to a charity that feeds the poor, in addition to the Toys for Tots,
    as well as a charity that helps homeless and often times abused animals, would have
    a far reaching affect. Personally, Toys for Tots makes me well up , as these folks often
    give their lives for the rest of us. Just the fact that they help make sure a few more
    children will have something under the tree, is awesome. As for the pets in our lives,
    Best Friends is a great national organization. They partner with smaller shelters, and their goal is to Save Them All. Last Christmas their CEO responded to my letter, put me
    in contact with one of his regional directors, ( by phone I might add on Dec. 24 th) and as of today I am happy to report that all my Dad’s kitties have been placed in loving forever homes. ( my Dad passed away). Perhaps your little accountant could figure out how to divide the money evenly. 😊 What wonderful memories your boys will have to treasure, just knowing that they helped make a difference in our world. I am sure
    whatever you decide will bring hope to those less fortunate.

  11. I would also add Disabled Veterans to your list – if it were not for them and their sacrifice – we would not be enjoying our SAFE & FREE 2018 Christmas!

  12. You will get a hundred different responses as to where to give because there are so many great organizations out there that help people. For me, it is thinking about what causes or areas that I what to assist with and that mean the most to me – feeding hungry, building homes, clean water, education, keeping your resources locally. From there finding an organization that deals with that. Also, if you do give to an organization, I highly recommend doing a bit of research to see where their money goes to make sure that you agree with their philosophy. I like using https://www.charitynavigator.org/ but there are several other resources that help with this. I think it is truly incredible that you are hoping to help and whichever organization you decide will appreciate your kindness.

  13. Such thoughtfulness! A charity close to my heart is Water.org. Clean drinking water is something I think that we all take for granted everyday and these women and children sometimes walk miles just to carry back a days dirty, muddy drinking water. This charity helps dig a well in villages where there will be clean water to drink (which cuts down on diseases) and also helps to grow crops in otherwise barren areas. Merry Christmas to you and your family and may God richly bless you!

  14. Since you have two boys in elementary school, maybe consider giving to a program that provides backpacks, clothing, and/or meals to school-age kids. We have such a program in Springfield, MO run by Doug Pitt, Brad’s brother. Being a former elementary teacher in a low-income area of Springfield, I know the need is there and in many schools in our country.

  15. There is an organization out there that is pretty much reliant on individuals like all of us. They are on Facebook – please check out Joseph’s Legacy. Joseph was a German Shepherd that was near death due to owner abuse. Long story, but the short version is that he was rescued and was loved for several years before passing. The rescuers formed this charitable organization to help fund local rescues for those animals needing medical care, as well as helping with food/kitty litter, etc. I know it’s just one of many organizations but every dollar collected goes towards the care of these sad, little abused, furry creatures.

  16. Operation Smile…….they repair cleft palates for children in disadvantaged countries. Under no circumstances could these families pay to help their children, and in most cases, even if they could there would be no opportunity. Medical personnel are flown in to perform these operations and most take a total of 40 minutes. The children wake up, literally, with new lives. Most of them are kept in the house before the repair because they scare other children, and adults shun them because they feel they are evil. So it’s easy to see how important these operations are. And they are relatively simple.

    The best part? Each surgery runs about $240. Whose life could you change — completely — for $240?

    Thanks for the opportunity to suggest this. Happy Holidays, and to EVERYONE out there — Peace.

  17. I see based on your ideas that children’s charities seem important to you (makes sense with your littles, of course!). Might I recommend Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia? A lot of New Yorkers travel there as there isn’t a comparable option in NY. They do amazing, life changing work! giving.chop.edu

  18. I choose and support a local family from my area. but I also support the MS Society as I know a lot of people with MS too….all of the organizations do good work to help others.

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