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Join the Donation Nation for the Holidays

Photo by Claire DeCroix/SENTRY

Photo by Claire DeCroix/SENTRY

Lauren Snyder, Sentry Staff Reporter

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It is that time of year again. The holidays have returned and that means two things. One, the commercials are going to be filled with fake snow and jingle bells, and two, it is the season of giving. From the giving gifts during Hanukkah to putting presents under the Christmas tree, people everywhere are trying to come up with new ways to show their love to others. Are you trying to find a way to give to others? Try donating to or volunteering for a charity during the holidays.

Finding the perfect charity is not a difficult task. According to Charity Navigator (an organization that evaluates and ranks charities across America), there are around a million charities in the United States alone. This means there are several options for you when deciding which charity to donate to. You may even be able to find programs through organizations like Boy or Girl Scouts of America or at a place of worship. However, be sure to research a charity before donating. Charity Navigator has a website where they rate the different organizations based on their efficiency, ethics and effectiveness. Other organizations that help sort through legitimate charities are Guide Star and The BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Charities that specifically work during the holidays include Salvation Army, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Wreaths Across America and the Holiday Project. With their red buckets and Santas ringing bells, Salvation Army raises money for local families that are in need. One of their programs, Angel Tree, allows you to sponsor a child during the holiday. The United States Marine Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped gifts that are then distributed to less fortunate kids as Christmas gifts. Wreaths Across America buy wreaths for the tombs of the fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery through donations (and are planning to cover the entire cemetery this year for the 150 Anniversary of the cemetery). The Holiday Project organizes visits to people in nursing homes, hospitals and other places that may be difficult for families to visit their loved ones.

Other charities to consider donating to include First Book. With every $2.50 that you donate to them, they can provide three books for a child in need. The Make a Wish Foundation sponsors wishes for children with life-threatening diseases, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent  help with disaster relief and support military families.

Websites to Visit:

http://nonprofit.about.com/od/fundraising/a/safegiving.htm

http://www.toysfortots.org/about_toys_for_tots/toys_for_tots_program/default.aspx

http://virginiasalvationarmy.org/ncac/angel-tree/arlington/

http://www.holidayproject.info/

http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/about/mission-vision/

https://secure3.convio.net/book/site/Donation2?1340.donation=form1&df_id=1340&s_src=googleRedirect

http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do

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Join the Donation Nation for the Holidays