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10 Charities You Should Get Involved With This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for creating wish lists, stretching the limits of your bank account and watching Elf three times a week. In the midst of all of this festive cheer, you may find yourself taking stock of what you’ve been able to give and receive in the last year.
 
If you’re feeling extra thankful for all of the awesomeness in your life this holiday season, consider sharing that feeling with those among us who might need some extra help during the holidays.
 
Getting involved with a charity doesn’t always mean having to make a monetary donation. Actually, there are tons of fun ways to give back to the community without having to open up your wallet. In the spirit of giving, round up your friends, teammates or sorority sisters and make a day of it! HC found 10 awesome holiday charities that will allow you to spend quality time with your loved ones and give back during the holidays.
 
1. Baking For Good

Baking For Good is an online bakery that not only creates delicious cookie treats, but also donates 15% of the net proceeds from every purchase to a charity of your choice. This is a great way to support your favorite charity while indulging your sweet tooth! Head over to their online bakery and do some holiday shopping that will benefit more than just your credit card company.
 
2. Toys For Tots 
Toys for Tots aims to distribute toys to needy children in your community. Through an annual toy campaign, collection and distribution, the organization’s main mission is to instill a sense of hope and patriotism in children who are less fortunate. Grab a group of friends and find a drop-off location near you.
           
3. Holiday Mail For Heroes

 The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are collaborating, for the fifth year in a row, to deliver a little piece of home to members of the U.S. military and their families. If you like to write, or if you just have a few extra minutes to spare, it’s super-easy to get involved. Just grab a pen and a card and utilize your gift of writing to show your appreciation for the Armed Forces and the many men and women who won’t be home for the holidays this year.
 
4. One Warm Coat 
Okay, collegiettes™, let’s be honest. How many coats are hanging in your closet that you NEVER wear? If the answer is one or more, consider getting a group of you and some of your fashion-loving friends to donate one coat each to this organization. You could even organize a coat drive on campus, which is super easy to arrange and will result in a larger donation.
 
5. Feeding America

 If you want to get involved in a holiday charity and are social media savvy, why not launch a virtual food drive? For every dollar you raise, eight meals are sent to men, women and children who are facing hunger in the U.S. Get your friends and family to help you out by using Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. It’s super easy- just create a personal fundraising page by setting a fundraising goal and answering a few simple questions. Ask friends and family to donate via social media platforms (or a good old-fashioned phone call!).
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6. Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child delivers shoeboxes of supplies to children overseas. Organized by Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, this drive delivers a variety of gifts of your choice to a child. You can even track your box as it makes its journey to the intended recipient!
 
7. First Book 
Are you a member of a book club? Do you and a bunch of friends love to read? This charity might be a great fit for you! First Book brings the gift of reading to children in need. Simply set up a personal fundraising page. For every $2.50 you raise, a brand new book is delivered to a child.
 
8. USPS® Operation Santa
This is a great way for you and a group of friends to give back to charity this holiday season. Go to your local post office branch, pick up a letter or two written to Santa, and buy gifts for the child or family who wrote the letter. If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year, consider asking each attendee to bring one or more gifts, then split the work and wrap them all at the party. Don’t forget the Christmas music!
 
9. Strong Women, Strong Girls 

Strong Women, Strong Girls is a non-profit organization that pairs college women with elementary school girls to focus on core values like love, support, integrity, respect, discovery and balance. To get involved you can make a donation directly to the organization or help Her Campus support SWSG  by purchasing an I Heart HC Tee. 20% of the profits from the sale of these (adorable!) tees will be donated to the SWSG national organization. If you’d like to help out in a more direct way, consider becoming a mentor or help out as a volunteer on a local Advisory Council.
 
10. Locks of Love
Have you been thinking of making a drastic style change? Why not give the gift of hair this Christmas? Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that donates hairpieces to those who are 21 and under in the U.S. and Canada who are suffering from hair loss from any diagnosis. If you’re a collegiette™ with long locks, consider getting a stylish short cut before second semester.
 
What charities will you be getting involved with this holiday season? 
Leave a comment!

 

Lauryn is a senior at Northeastern University majoring in journalism. She has written for Boston.com as well as the HC branch at Northeastern. Lauryn is also a teaching assistant for International Affairs students at Northeastern. In May and June of 2011, she embarked on a reporting trip to the Middle East, where she mastered the art of "man on the street" reporting and gained a new appreciation for falafel. In her spare time, Lauryn enjoys writing, walking around Boston aimlessly, traveling and a unhealthy obsession with her Kindle. She loves eating, French bulldogs and Anderson Cooper. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in foreign correspondence or magazine journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @laurynpaiva.
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