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A person ringing a bell in front of a Salvation Army sign
A person ringing a bell in front of a Salvation Army sign

Giving Back During the Holidays

Julian Dossett

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The holiday season is a special time of year, but for many this year is a bit harder. 

If you’re in the position to do so, one thing you can do to help is give time or money to those in need.

There are many different ways to help, and you don’t need a lot of money to support people. 

Some charities accept donations, while others are just looking for people who have some time to spare for a good cause. 

If you want to give back to your community this holiday season, here are a few ways you can help.

Donate toys and other home goods

Charities need toys for holiday gifts, but many also collect non-perishable food and basic household items. 

If you have lightly-used toys or other household necessities available for donation, here are a few places who could use a helping hand.

Childrens’ centers and local shelters

The first place to look to donate should be your local childrens’ centers and shelters. 

These organizations are often small with little funding. Even simple items like canned goods can be a huge help. 

Call your local orgs before donating to see what they need. 

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a nationwide organization that focuses on helping kids in need. They provide toys for the holidays to thousands of families every year. 

People who are interested have a few ways to donate. You can visit a toy drop location, donate a toy through the virtual toy box, or give directly to the organization.

The Salvation Army and Goodwill

The Salvation Army and Goodwill are both nonprofit organizations who take donations and resell them at a discount. Both organizations also support many charitable causes. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to help, you can donate old appliances, clothes, and just about any other item you don’t need.

Donating Money

Charities and nonprofits are almost always short on cash. 

If you have a few bucks to spare, it could go a long way toward helping people in your local community or the rest of the world. 

Here are a few charities worthy of your donation.

Food Banks

Your local food bank definitely needs food donations, but they can also use your money. Food banks help people who really need it, so every dollar you give will go to a good place.


The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps critically ill children year round. 

They also work with many partner orgs over the holidays. If you can spare the money, this organization gives you a few different options for donating. 

You can donate, locally, nationally or internationally—all of it goes towards helping kids. 

International Rescue Committee

Many refugees outside of the US don’t know where they’ll sleep tonight. helps people dealing with extraordinary circumstances in the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and every dollar helps. There are many ways to donate.

Volunteering opportunities 

Sometimes the best thing you can give is time. While there are still safety risks from in-person contact, there are many ways to help out from your home.

Local charities 

Local charities are usually looking for helping hands, especially during the holiday season. 

If you’re comfortable volunteering in person, check out Feeding America, who can connect you with volunteer opportunities at a local food bank. The Salvation Army also has many volunteer activities across the country during the holidays. 

Type in your zip code at their website to see who needs help near you.

Volunteer Match

Volunteer Match connects people with all kinds of volunteer opportunities around the country. For many you don’t need to leave the house to help. 

This organization features virtual volunteer opportunities for people to help using their computer. If you specialize in a certain field, Volunteer Match may need your expertise.

Every bit helps

When you donate your time, money, or personal belongings to a good cause during the holidays, no amount is too small. 

Giving is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit—help from ordinary people is what makes the real difference.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).


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