It’s that time, Christmas time is here, everybody knows there’s not a better time of year! Name that movie. But really, the holiday season is the perfect time to give to people and organizations that need your help. All the time is the perfect time to give to those who need it, but since it’s Christmas, let’s start here!
As always, I’m sharing a couple of organizations that are on my heart this year, but I encourage you to do your research too. Helping isn’t just limited to monetary donations, many organizations can benefit from your time and skills too!
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America – BBBS is the largest donor and volunteer supported mentorship program in the nation, isn’t that cool? Their belief is that all children have star power, and through dedicated mentorship with carefully matched “Bigs”, “Littles” build strong connections that help to set them up for success in all their future endeavors. With each passing year, I’m even more aware of how important it is to foster youth to their greatest potential, because they are the movers and shakers who will shape not only their lives, but ours too! There are a few ways to help out Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. You can volunteer to become a Big and empower your Little to seize their future, guiding them along the way. You can donate – each donation helps to match a child with a mentor. There are also some other opportunities for helping out, like Bowl for Kids’ Sake; I’ve participated in this twice over the past several years, and it is truly a moving experience.
Cards for Hospitalized Kids – Speaking of donating your skills and time, Cards for Hospitalized Kids is a really cool organization that needs just that! The name really says it all, but to elaborate, CFHK founder Jen Rubino was diagnosed with a connective tissue disease back in 2006 when she was just 11 years old. She’s gone through nearly two dozen surgeries since her diagnosis, and knows firsthand how lonely hospitals can be. While in ICU recovering from major surgery and in a lot of pain, she received a handmade card from a hospital volunteer, and just five years later, Cards for Hospitalized Kids was born. Since then, CFHK has sent cards to over 14,000 hospitalized children in more than 150 hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses nationwide, handmade by people all over the US and world! How can you help? There are a few different ways! You can make cards, duh, or you can host a card event, so cool! I personally think hosting a card event would be an amazing classroom or party activity! I’m so grateful for people like Jen in this world!
The Mid-Ohio Foodbank is now the Mid-Ohio Food Collective! Why? Because the organization has expanded to include a pharmacy, farm, market, and even kitchens! The Mid-Ohio Food Collective has one main goal: end hunger. They provide more than 170,000 meals every single day to people in need in central and eastern Ohio. There are a few ways you can help, and they’re all so simple. You can give money, give time, give food, and raise awareness. Through my job, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank several times, and plain and simple, I love what they’re doing. If you’re local to central and eastern Ohio, I highly suggest sharing some love with this great organization!
I don’t want to forget our furry family members! There are so many ways to help animals, and one way to make a big impact is to help locally. Last year I wrote about the amazing work that Columbus Humane is doing, and the mutual joy in adopting a pet! Like many other organizations, local shelters could use monetary and time donations! Also, be on the lookout for local pet food and toy drives. In our area, Pet People is holding a food drive, and we’re looking forward to helping feed some local pups and kittens.
Last, and most certainly not least, is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Simply put, childhood cancer is absolutely devastating, and I think St. Jude’s mission is crucial. From their site: The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
Since St. Jude opened in 1962, they’ve increased the childhood cancer survival rate over 60%. And, families never receive a bill from St. Jude, making it possible for them to focus on what matters most, their child’s life. St. Jude’s mission is always tattooed on my heart, but having fallen in love with a vibrant and intelligent Columbus TikTok star who passed earlier this year from a nearly lifelong battle with cancer, their mission feels more important than ever. Any donation helps, but if you’d like to be involved year round, become a Partner in Hope by making a monthly donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
These are just a handful of organizations that I love, but if you’re unsure of where to start, I encourage you to do some research! There are many resources online that will aid in making thoughtful decisions about helping those in need.
xoxo Leigh Ann