Life Musings

My Favorite Charities for Christmas Giving

       I’d like to start a new series called “My Favorite Things” that will include reviews of restaurants, bloggers, places, artists, etc. Basically whatever tickles my fancy! To kick off the season of giving and holiday celebration I’d like to share five worthy organizations to consider donating your time and money to. Many of them are locally based in Kansas City, and several of them I have personally volunteered with and supported.
Last year, worn out by the pressure to focus on
materialism and consumption, my family decided to experiment with a  “no gifts” policy. Instead, we voted on two charities to give money to that we would normally be spending on gifts. We raised a little over $400, each person giving as much or little as they could. Instead of exchanging presents, we made homemade “family awards” celebrating each member’s accomplishments and talents. Shifting the focus from receiving more “stuff” to giving to those less in need gave us more freedom and energy to exchange gifts that will last forever- quality time, appreciation, gratitude, and laughter. I hope you too, will be the recipient of these gifts this season. Happy Holidays!

My Favorite Charities for Christmas Giving
1) Outreach International
I have talked about this charity on my Volunteer page and it is one I continue to be impressed with. Outreach International works in developing areas to provide sustainable, long-term solutions and aid to impoverished communities. Their gift catalog is full of options for giving that will provide the recipient with a way to become less dependent on outside resources as they become more economically stable. Gifts such as sewing machines, chickens, and water filters ensure you will be helping support a community for a long time.

2) Cultivate Kansas City
 I had the privilege of working alongside the farmers and volunteers this past summer at Gibb’s Rd. Community Farm, one of the partners of Cultivate KC. It was an honor to see how much effort they put into providing safe, organic produce and sharing resources to help the community grow their own food. This organization is also home to New Roots for Refugees which is a training program for newly arrived refugees to begin their own small organic farms. Donations to Cultivate KC allow them to continue sponsoring these families and training programs that not only make a difference in the lives of the refugees, but also improves the community by increasing the supply of local, organic food in the inner city. If you can’t give financial resources they are always looking for volunteers to work on one of their farms!

3) International Justice Mission
IJM is a human rights organization dedicated to freeing victims of human trafficking, sex slavery, and other forms of oppression around the globe. Advocates for human rights work within local judicial systems to hold perpetrators accountable while providing emergency relief to the freed victims and structured aftercare. Donations go towards supporting the lawyers, social workers, and other development workers in aiding victims of abuse while ensuring those rescued from oppression have adequate resources to maintain this freedom.

4) Kansas City Free Health Clinic
I have been volunteering with KC Free Health for over a year and am amazed by the quality and quantity of free health services this clinic provides to the residents of Kansas City. It is one of the largest clinics in the nation and among the first to treat HIV/AIDS victims in the 1980’s. It offers mental health services, diabetes and HIV follow-up care, free lab testing, prescription assistance, and many other services. The clinic is always looking for volunteers if you cannot donate financially!

5) City Union Mission
City Union Mission is a homeless shelter in Kansas City that has been providing assistance to the most vulnerable since 1924. More than food and shelter, this mission provides recovery programs, job training, summer camps for children living in poverty, and many other resources to help those in need get back on their feet. If you cannot donate your money, there are many ways to give of your time to support this important charity in Kansas City.

Do you have a special organization or charity that you support? I’d love to hear about it!

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