The holiday season is as tiring as it is rewarding. There are meals to plan, gifts to wrap, friends and family to host, and you need to make sure it all comes together in the end. But once everything settles and you can see the Christmas lights at the end of the tunnel, a sense of calm and gratitude takes over. It’s in these moments that you should remember to give thanks for what you have by helping those who aren’t as lucky.
If you’d like to spread the cheer in Philadelphia this holiday season, here are a few charities worth your time and resources:
As we welcome our families to our homes or visit our loved ones, it’s essential to keep in mind that not everyone is as fortunate. Project HOME works year-round to help adults, children, and families escape poverty and find homes. They also provide educational services and workforce development, offer youth programs, healthcare services, and more. There are plenty of ways to get involved, just head over to their website.
Many Philadelphians won’t get to stuff themselves with festive dishes this holiday season, so if you’d like to play a part in securing food for the hungry, consider The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. The Coalition is a non-profit organization that aims to build a community where everyone has the food they need to stay healthy. Their programs help connect people with food assistance programs and nutrition education, connect Philadelphia food pantries and soup kitchens to emergency food and resources, and educate the public and policymakers about responsible solutions to end hunger. Donate today to help build their movement to end hunger.
One aspect of illness that slips a lot out of our minds is how hard it is to get the nutrition you need in critical moments. This is where MANNA comes in: they deliver meals and provide counseling and education to people with cancer, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and others. If you’d like to get involved, there’s plenty of options to do so—from donating money to volunteering programs for young professionals, find the method that fits you here.
Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the ten largest U.S. cities, so many of its children often have to make do without items most of us find basic. Cradles for Crayons aims to break the poverty cycle by equipping children with things they can’t access through government assistance programs, such as clothing, shoes, books, and toys. Help them out by volunteering, donating items or offering financial support.
PIHN works to prevent and alleviate family homelessness. Their staff and volunteers do everything possible to prevent evictions, help families get housed, and provide an array of supportive services and material goods to strengthen each family that comes their way. PIHN also operates a small congregational based shelter program and extensive post-shelter services. Donate or volunteer to give them a helping hand.
A lot of pets are alone during the holidays, and a lot of them get abandoned after Christmas. PAWS is a no-kill shelter which also offers affordable medical services for pet owners who need them. Also, if you want to add a new member to the family this holiday season and you know pets are for life, not just for Christmas, you’ll surely find a loveable ball of fluff at PAWS. Donate, volunteer, or sign up for fostering here.
If you’re a true animal lover, you’ll also want to give a helping hand to Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. They‘re focused on the health and safety of wild animals, especially sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, taking in over 1000 animals per year. The wildlife sanctuary also works to educate the general public on how we can preserve and protect the environment and the animal lives around us. Donate or volunteer here.
In the end, no matter which charity you choose, you’ll be helping your local community in some way. So this holiday season, spread the cheer by doing good!