MetaGiving December 6, 2018 8:45 AM   Subscribe

The holidays are here and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it's a time where people often spend money buying gifts for friends and family. I thought it would be cool to have a place where we might think of others. It'd be nice if we could share some links to places on the web, local organizations and communities that we can donate money to. It would signal boost these places and provide an opportunity to share some joy with others less fortunate than ourselves.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 8:45 AM (33 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

One thing I've done in the past is to rally a number of my friends/co-workers/family members and sponsor a local family where you buy gifts for each member of the family. Usually you're given a list of things that people want/need and then you can go shopping after you collect and raise some money for the shopping. We did this at our local church, but I found this makes it a bit more personal than just a donation (not that there's anything wrong with that either).
posted by Fizz at 8:52 AM on December 6


Yacht Aid Global.
Dedicated to providing unified humanitarian aid, conservation, and disaster relief to coastal communities.
posted by adamvasco at 8:54 AM on December 6


I have supported Daily Bread Food Bank a long time. They are good people and do great work.

My new additional charity is CIDP Will Not Win because someone very dear to me has this rotten condition.

I also work at a charity but don't want to link to it from here. If you're curious please MeMail!
posted by wellred at 8:58 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


I volunteered with Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program for a long time and donate when I can.

I also like The Health Wagon which serves southern Virginia (I think they say Central Appalachia) with health services.
posted by brilliantine at 9:26 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


She hasn't posted it yet, but each year The Bloggess hosts what she calls the "James Garfield Miracle", a gift-giving charity drive type of event (people in need post their Amazon wishlists in the comments, people with means buy up things from the lists for them). There's also the option to make donations to a couple charities.

The "James Garfield" of the name refers to a wacky-looking taxidermied boar's head that she bought some years ago; she took a picture of it and made greeting cards, intending only to offset the purchase price. And....profit went way over the purchase price, so she donated the rest to a couple charities and made it an annual event.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


I'm a fan of checking the #transcrowdfund hashtag on Twitter to find trans folks in need who I can give cash to directly. As a trans person who's in the weird position of being pretty middle-class and having most of my social circle be emergency-poor, I help people in my life out as much as I can, but a lotttttt of trans people don't have that one middle-class friend to help them out, so I try and spread that privilege around to strangers too.
posted by ITheCosmos at 11:29 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Feed My Starving Children gets volunteers to pack dried meals+nutrients into sealed bags for distribution to hungry people.

When I visit my family in Minnesota on vacation, I like to schedule a work shift (about two hours) there with my kids and anyone else we can round up.

If you want to help put food in someone's mouth, this is very direct action.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:18 PM on December 6


I volunteer with HACES, an organization local to me which provides immigration and other services to Spanish-speaking immigrants to the Chicago area. I know there are lots of immigration organizations focused on the border and migrants, which is super-important, but if you wanted to put dollars towards an organization that's helping immigrants already in the US who may be of irregular status, or trying to help family members join them, or filing DACA, this is a good one. Most of the women who founded it or who work full time for it are immigrants themselves.

(I'm studying Spanish so I can move up from "legal document monkey" to "interviewing clients," but even legal document monkeys are helpful! Plus I've already moved up from "English document monkey" to "bilingual document monkey" because there are only so many words used in the forms.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:46 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Thank you for posting this, it was the kick in the butt I needed to donate to Camp Fire victims as I've been meaning to. I settled on doing it through the North Valley Community Foundation.

Shoutout also to the SF-Marin Food Bank and At the Crossroads, a truly wonderful organization serving homeless youth in SF.
posted by sunset in snow country at 3:49 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


There is a church collective near me, Micah Ecumenical Ministries, that does amazing year-round work to house, feed, and assist the area's homeless. These are good people.

They are always seeking furniture donations for their cold weather shelter.

I'm not sure if they're doing it again this year, but in recent years they have asked for donations of backpacks that contain pre-set items like winter hats and gloves, hand warmers, men and women's toiletries, first aid kits, flashlights, $5 fast food gift cards, etc. I have donated the full backpacks when I've been able to afford it and when I can't, I spend what I can afford to donate travel size toiletries and cold weather accessories.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:05 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I just learned about R.I.P. Medical Debt, a non-profit that buys and forgives medical debt. I love it!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:27 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Give Directly, or, see my list for some organizations local to Portland, Oregon, or, your local community bike shop
posted by aniola at 6:54 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


For Seattle people, we have become involved with Aurora Commons. This is a shoestring operation in the heart of sex-worker crack-smoking land (Aurora and 90th) in Seattle and their deal is direct engagement with homeless people without a particular agenda besides being a safe place for people at risk to hang out, cook meals, make phone calls, stay warm, and talk to people who can help them see beyond the immediate obstacles to survival while making sure they survive. Caseworkers help with housing and getting connected to mental health and chemical dependency services and we’ve recently started a mobile medical clinic to provide STI screening and treatment as well as medically assisted treatment for chemical dependency. We were in the news recently for uncovering an HIV cluster. (Kind of unusual in Seattle) as well as a recent shooting of a homeless person by a local resident who was pissed off that this organization provides human contact for people whom he considered a “nuisance.”

This is a faith based organization and my wife and I are godless communists and we have found kindred spirits with this group. I am heavily enmeshed in the do-gooder community in Seattle and have become disillusioned with the politics and social hierarchy of the non profit charity community that attempts to help the homeless and hopeless while holding black tie fundraisers and photo-ops with famous politicians and I’m here to tell you these folks are the real-deal-direct-engagement-activists and we need a lot more of that so please help them continue their good work.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:22 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


I will be giving to both my local humane society and my local harm reduction organization -- I'm not linking them because I assume everyone has similar groups where they live that need support.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:11 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


UK charities:
The Trussell Trust - they run foodbanks across the country. You can donate cash or food.
Refuge - they help women and children escaping domestic violence. You can donate money to buy Christmas presents for women and children.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:10 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


The North Valley Animal Disaster Area Group is working to help stray and lost animals found after the Camp Fire and is working diligently to reunite the found pets with their owners.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:46 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I donate to my local humane society, and also to the local "everyday basics" offshoot of the food pantry. And I have a very soft spot for TinyKittens HQ.
posted by JanetLand at 7:11 AM on December 7


Books Through Bars is my go to here in NYC, here is their wish list.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I volunteer most weeks at Westside Baby. They distribute diapers, toys, clothes, books, and baby gear through eighty or so local charities. Despite the name, they collect and give out stuff for kids up to age twelve. They also have Amazon wishlists if you'd rather buy some diapers for a baby in need. If you're in the area, it's a great place to bring the stuff your kid is done with (but is still in good condition).
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:01 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if houseofdanie will be doing Winter Wishes this year? She always does such a great job, and I have been eagerly checking MetaTalk for it.
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 10:24 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


insoluble uncertainty: I received an e-mail from Danie stating that they were planning to post a Winter Wishes thread on the 2nd, as I asked to be put on the notification list last year. I have no idea what happened between now and them. I hope things are all right.
posted by PearlRose at 10:44 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I give to my local food bank and I contribute to Urban Libraries Unite when they have a book drive, the last one was to give Spanish language books to children who came to the US as unaccompanied minors and are in non-prison facilities (usually child service orgs) and could use some Captain Underpants en Español. I've also been keeping an eye on the suggestions in this thread and will maybe see if I can pay off school lunch tabs at my school.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:18 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Trans Lifeline has a holiday fundraising campaign going on now, with at least the first 25K going to put money in the commissary funds of incarcerated trans people.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:38 PM on December 7


Give a Book is a charity getting books to vulnerable people. I like their Books for First Nighters project - for people spending their first night in custody.
posted by paduasoy at 2:58 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I donate regularly to BelovedAsheville, which is purely volunteer so 100% of donations goes to needs, like the Street Medic team (which they say is the first in the country), people help, a tiny village is in the works, an LBGT center, and more.
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:05 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Many school districts allow third-parties to pay for school lunch accounts that are overdue and/or delinquent.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:39 PM on December 7 [3 favorites]


There has been a bit of a national focus on sock drives for the homeless this year. It sort of started a few years ago but it's become much more of a big thing this year than before. I'd recommend people doing a bit of googling for local sock drives and going out and buying socks and dropping them off at a collection point. It seems like one of the most practical and loving things to do, give someone warm new socks.
posted by hippybear at 11:31 PM on December 7


I apparently added Danie to my Amazon "friends" lists during a previous Winter Wishes season and things have been added quite recently, so hopefully that will be posted soon!
posted by miratime at 3:45 AM on December 8


There are a few organizations local to me that I give to: Lucie's Place is a shelter for LGBT youth experiencing homelessness, and The One does outreach to unsheltered people. The Arkansas Abortion Support Network operates an abortion fund, and provides clinic escorts at the only abortion provider in the state. Dunbar Garden operates a community teaching garden and a Little Free Pantry.

And some library things: EveryLibrary supports library elections, and, while there are a lot of books-to-prisoners groups, LGBT Books to Prisoners is one I especially like (I'm also a fan of Urban Libraries Unite, which jessamyn mentions above).
posted by box at 10:28 AM on December 8 [1 favorite]


I love all the suggestions in this thread. I love seeing how other folks invest in their communities, locally and beyond!

Portland Peoples Outreach Project, a local harm reduction organization in Portland, OR that is near and dear to my heart, that is having a winter fundraising campaign with an eye towards maintaining and expanding services in areas of town that are otherwise not served. PPOP is also hosting a movie screening event on December 16th at the Hollywood Theatre. Local folks, come on down!
posted by Hopeful and Cynical at 12:29 PM on December 8 [1 favorite]


Three organizations I love are:
SONG - Southerners on New Ground, "a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of Black people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South."
Faithful Fools - sounds similar to Aurora Commons posted above, but here in San Francisco, offering "arts, education, advocacy and accompaniment" in the Tenderloin.
Survived & Punished "organizes to de-criminalize efforts to survive domestic and sexual violence, support and free criminalized survivors, and abolish gender violence, policing, prisons, and deportations."
All are really wonderful grassroots places that do amazing work.
posted by milkweed at 9:48 AM on December 9 [2 favorites]


A few local to me here in Cambridge UK that I donate to regularly. Cambridge is a weird place in that has a lot of wealth tied up in the colleges and tech companies but also a lot of poverty and deprivation in parts of the city. All these charities are doing great work, but of course some of these services should be available as a matter of course and it's not great that charities have had to step in to the gaps.
- Cambridge food bank (part of the Trussell Trust mentioned above)
- Kite Trust - helping local LGBT young people. They do great outreach work and have peer support groups which I can vouch for from personal experience in my family
- Red Balloon - supporting children who are missing education because of bullying. They provide an academic and therapeutic programme to enable them to get back on track
- Blue Smile - working with schools to provide mental health support. I'm a governor at one of the schools where they work and we've seen a massive impact on the wellbeing of the most troubled children, which has translated into better educational outcomes for them and for the other children through less disruption in lessons and teacher time being used up providing ad hoc support. I think it also models healthy attitudes to mental health more generally - ie that it's okay to have a problem and that there is help available.
posted by crocomancer at 11:41 AM on December 9 [2 favorites]


This is a last minute request, but if you all can order in the next day or two so Amazon Prime can send it there by December 13th:

There are still 2,300 immigrant children separated from their parents in the Tornillo facility outside of El Paso. This Christmas, they can't receive visitors, gifts, or even a hug. In the face of such a bleak holiday, a Texas state senator has set up an Amazon Wishlist to buy them all pre-approved soccer balls, so that they may at least have one present. There are a few caveats: they must be a size 5 ball and must be delivered to the senator's office by Dec. 13. Amazon wish list link with approved balls available for purchase is located here.
posted by PearlRose at 12:06 PM on December 10 [2 favorites]


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