How you can give back this holiday season

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The holidays are the time for festivity, family traditions, and of course, giving. If you’d like to share the warmth and spirit of the season here are several places you’re able to donate or give your time making someone else’s holiday this year a bit more special.

Toys for Tots

Nothing truly captures the magic of the holidays quite like the excitement of unwrapping a new toy. Each year Toys for Tots strives to spark hope and happiness in the hearts of less fortunate kids. You can help by donating new toys at any Toys “R” Us or your nearest drop-off location. Find a drop-off and more information on their website.

Salvation Army

Most of us know them by their red kettles, but you can also donate to the Salvation Army by giving gently-used goods to one of their many stores. You can donate clothing, housewares, small furniture, and even used vehicles. Your donations will help support basic needs programs that provide meals, lodging, clothing, and youth assistance. Go to the Salvation Army website to find a drop-off location near you.

Sweet Dreams for Kids

Founded by Wendy Berezovsky whose youngest was born with cancer, knew that it is hard enough to know your child is sick, but when her child wore the hospital pajamas it was a constant reminder. That’s why Sweet Dreams for Kids has donated over 10,000 new cozy and comfy pajamas to hospitals all around Minnesota. You can give a child a better night’s sleep this holiday season by donating through their website.

Good in the ‘Hood

Through kindness-based initiatives, Good in the ‘Hood helps disadvantaged communities by providing holiday help, basic needs services like shoes, meals, and backpacks, as well as through internships and advocacy programs. Visit the Good in the ‘Hood website to learn how to volunteer or donate.

Neighbors, Inc.

This non-profit not only offers supportive assistance programs to low-income communities throughout Minnesota, but has created the Neighbors’ Love Your Neighbor Holiday Program. You can give back in an invaluable way by either volunteering or donating toys and clothing to help struggling families create a heartening and memorable holiday. You are also able to participate in the Adopt-A-Family program where you are given each family members’ first name, age, gender, and clothing sizes for you to shop and give back in a more personalized and meaningful way. Find more details on the Neighbors, Inc. website.

Urban Roots

Based in St. Paul, Urban Roots cultivates and empowers youth through nature, healthy food, and community. For over 20 years this organization has provided paid internships for kids ages 14-18, where they learn and develop leadership, entrepreneurial, and life skills through their Market Garden, Conservation, and Cook Fresh Programs. Give back by purchasing a holiday CSA that’s filled with winter squash, onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, chili peppers, and more to make your delicious holiday meal! You can also donate or volunteer by visiting their website.

Women’s Advocates

This non-profit helps equip women and children escaping domestic violence with services, shelter, and resources creating a path to self-sufficiency. You can help these families feel safe during the holidays through a donation, volunteering, or donating items. Visit the Women’s Advocates website to learn how you can help and which items you can donate.

Happy Holidays! And to look for other reputable charities verified by the Charities Review Council visit smartgivers.org.