In light of all the gift giving moments this month and next month what with St. Nicholas’s feast day, Christmas, and Epiphany I thought I would share some gift ideas! While times have been tough for all of us there are many who are struggling significantly more than most of us could ever imagine. Many of them are right here next to us in the USA. So perhaps as we’re giving gifts to celebrate these wonderful feast days and holidays we can give a gift of time, material or a financial donation to help those who are struggling in concrete and very helpful ways. You can give on your behalf or perhaps on behalf of a family member or friend. Here are five of my favorite organizations who are all doing incredible work and are looking for donations so that they can continue to help those who desperately need it:
1. Dig Deep – You may recognize the name from the organization that hosted the 4 liters of water a day campaign that I participated in. They bring clean water and education on how to use and live with clean water to those who do not have access. Today they launched THE NAVAJO WATER PROJECT. They are raising money to build a well in Smith Lake, New Mexico. Smith Lake is a Navajo Indian Reservation that suffers from water poverty. Learn more from this video and at their website.
2. The Burrito Project – They meet every third Thursday of the month where they make burritos and then pass them and water out to the homeless on skid row in downtown Los Angeles. For the months of December and January they are having a blanket drive so that they can pass out blankets as well since it’s so cold out now. To donate blankets contact Alan at BurritoProject1 [at] gmail [dot] com for when/where/how you can drop them off. Or you can make a financial donation here at The Burrito Project website
3. Manto de Guadalupe – This organization has several different ways that they reach out to the poor and homeless (like leading mission trips and building homes around the world) but in 2010 they opened a new clinic: The Guadalupe Medical Center that provides medical assistance to low – income pregnant women. They provide medical consultations, ultrasounds, analyses, vitamins, medicines, treatments for infertility and high-risk pregnancies among many other services. I was able to take a tour of the medical center a couple of years ago and it’s beautiful to see many photos of the happy women and their babies who have benefited from this wonderful clinic. You can donate here at their website.
4. Mary’s Meals – They provide meals for children living in impoverished places all around the world so that these kids can attend school and have nourishment. They feed about 822,142 hungry children a day! Watch this moving documentary about Mary’s Meals Child 31 to learn more about the work the are doing! You can donate to Mary’s Meals here.
5. Los Angeles Pregnancy Services (LAPS) – They provide help to women struggling with an unexpected/crisis pregnancy in one of the poorest neighborhood in Los Angeles. They offer pregnancy support through medical referrals and parenting classes. They also provide information on adoption for clients who want to carry their child, but aren’t ready to parent. They give out diapers, baby clothes, formula, etc… to help these mothers in need. You can sign up to volunteer or you can give a financial donation.