The “Season of Giving” typically begins when hot chocolate and eggnog are added to the menu and holiday decorations are being added to city light posts. Giving does not have to start around Christmas and end with the New Year.

As requests for food and essential items come in from the low-income communities, only a small portion of giving are meeting many organization’s goals. The F.I.S.H. Food bank of Pierce County, Washington sees these moments of giving fluctuate and the effect often leaves them unable to serve families needs. On any typical giving day, when the doors open twice per week to area residence, the F.I.S.H. Food Bank will serve anywhere from 70-90 families in need. These families will come with their children, in hopes to get a hot meal and enough food to help feed their family for the week.

Many of these families are experiencing the effects of the economy. As jobs become less available and layoffs happen, these are the families that F.I.S.H. Food Bank begins to see. The need begins in the moments between losing the job and waiting to get on social assistance or getting the next job.

Sometimes bad luck just happens. A family of 4, pulls up in their vehicle to the area kitchen to get a hot meal and food. From a glance you would just judge that the family is just down in luck. When you get to know the family you find that the father is now on disability due to a job related injury and the mother can’t work since she is in need of surgery for carpal tunnel that is spreading up her arm. After speaking with the father, he mentions how doctors say that she may lose her arm and they can’t afford the $4,000 surgery needed to help her. He shakes his head and says, “that’s how things go sometimes.”

When natural disasters hit, people usually become more aware of the needs of their community and giving begins to increase. Many donors only give during catastrophic times and this causes a giving shortage to occur during “off-seasons” or when disasters aren’t occurring. The effect is felt when local agencies can’t raise the revenue to provide the services they need.

When people give of time and resources, people in need are more confident in their future and they become more willing to give when they have the resources

When people give of time and resources, people in need are more confident in their future and they become more willing to give when they have the resources.

Giving locally to any local charity will make major impacts to children and give hope to parents. The giving could be done through volunteering to help pass out food, helping organizations that work with low-income families or just simply giving donations to these organizations. It’s important to often ask what they are in need of the most; it might amaze you when you hear that toilet paper is at the top of their list.

With the recession creating unique needs in the community, it is important to stay true to the commitment of investing in projects and programs. It’s important that nonprofit organizations develop partnerships and collaborations within local communities. This may have a trickle-down effect on fulfilling needs that communities have. We must work together for change and not give up on those who are less fortunate.

People need to get involved, volunteer and look for ways to get engaged; it is important for maintaining local communities. As the economy is shifting, so are organizations needs. When people give of time and resources, people in need are more confident in their future and they become more willing to give when they have the resources. It’s a trickle-down effect that happens and people “pay it forward”.


In 2010, 46.9 million people were in poverty in America, up from 37.3 million in 2007. This has been the highest number reported in the U.S. in 52 years for which poverty rates have been published.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 8, 2013 report, there are now 12 million people in the United States without jobs and 8 million people only working part-time. There has been little change from previous years. There are 885,000 discouraged workers, who are not seeking jobs because they believe there are no jobs available for them.

In 2010, 17.2 million households, nearly 14.5 percent of families in America experienced hunger. In nearly 3.9 million households in the U.S. with children, one or more of the children experienced the most sever food-insecure condition (meals were irregular and food intake was below levels considered adequate) measured by the USDA. These numbers have been the highest ever recorded for food hunger in America. The Financial and economic crisis in America, has caused much of the poverty. In 2010, 46.9 million people were in poverty in America, up from 37.3 million in 2007. This has been the highest number reported in the U.S. in 52 years for which poverty rates have been published (DeNavas-Walt 2011, p.14).

We must give hope to a population of American’s that are discouraged. We must step up to offer hope to a nation that needs help; and not just give when catastrophes happen. Now is the time, not tomorrow, Respond to what touches your heart and GIVE! If you have the resources, make an informed decision about the gift you want to give and connect with an organization that can help touch those in need in your community.

If you’d like to do further research into these (and other charities), please see Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator.

If you prefer to find a charity that will pick up your donations, check out DonationTown.

Donate to the F.I.S.H Food Bank Here:  F.I.S.H. Food Bank


Here are Epic Victories “We Love to Live & We Live to Give”! Together we can make a difference.


LIST of Great Organizations to GIVE to:


What they do: Help people with barriers to employment learn the skills to find competitive employment.
What they need: Clothing, electronics, appliances, furniture, and more.

Salvation Army
What they do: Provide community programs, homeless services, rehabilitation, disaster relief, and other assistance to those in need.
What they need: Clothing, furniture, household goods, sporting equipment, books, electronics, and more.

Vietnam Veterans of America
What they do: Help Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
What they need: Clothing, baby items, housewares, electronics, small appliances, tools, and just about anything else.

Volunteers of America
What they do: Support at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions.
What they need: Clothing, furniture, toys, and household goods for their thrift stores.

Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation
What they do: Provide needed items to the poverty-stricken Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
What they need: From school, sewing, crafts, sporting, baby, and office supplies, to toiletries, clothing, Christmas gifts, holiday items, bed, bath and kitchen linens, cold weather gear, crayons and more (see website for specific needs).

Operation Give
What they do: Bring hope and solutions to the deprived and disconnected people of the world, in many cases where the US military operates.
What they need: Toys, school supplies, art supplies, sports equipment, and more (FedEx provides FREE shipping from anywhere in the US to their warehouse).

The Help Kenya Project
What they do: Provide Kenya’s students with science, English, and computer skills to break the cycle of poverty.
What they need: Used computers, books, clothing, sports equipment, and other supplies.

Cause USA
What they do: Send gift packs to wounded military personnel and their families.
What they need: Playing cards, handheld electronic games, current magazines, batteries, travel-size toiletries, and more.

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach
What they do: Send care packages to deployed soldiers.
What they need: Travel-size toiletries, packaged food, flea collars, batteries, tube socks, envelopes, trash bags, and more.


Dress for Success
What they do: Provide interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide.
What they need: Women’s business suits and other professional apparel, footwear, and accessories.

Career Gear
What they do: Provide under-served job-seeking men with training, career counseling, interviews, and professional clothing.
What they need: Men’s suits, dress shirts, ties, shoes, briefcases, and other interview-appropriate clothing.

The Women’s Alliance
What they do: Provide professional attire and career skills training to low-income women and their families seeking self-sufficiency.
What they need: Women’s business clothing and professional accessories.

Sew Much Comfort
What they do: Provide adaptive clothing to wounded service men and women in military hospitals (specially designed to look like normal attire while accommodating their injuries).
What they need: Basketball shorts, boxers, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and PJ bottoms; also twill, flannel, and woven shirting fabric.

What they do: Provide clothes to people around the world who are in desperate need.
What they need: New or gently worn clean clothing.

Planet Aid
What they do: Provide clothing to people in developing nations, and fund community, health, agricultural, and vocational programs.
What they need: Gently used, unsoiled, functional clothing and shoes.

What they do: Distribute shoes to people in need in over 125 countries.
What they need: All types of new or gently worn shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, and flip-flops.

Diamonds for Dreams
What they do: Grant wishes for terminal breast cancer patients.
What they need: Diamonds, estate jewelry, and other specialty jewelry items.

Indigo Rescue
What they do: Assist county animal shelters, and rehabilitate pets and place them in adoptive homes.
What they need: Jewelry (for fundraising events).

Animal Guardian Network
What they do: Rescue and place homeless pets with loving families, and assist low-income seniors and financially disadvantaged individuals with their pet care.
What they need: Gently used designer handbags to sell in their ReBag Boutique.


Brides Against Breast Cancer
What they do: Advance the awareness of breast cancer, and operate a wish-granting service enabling patients to make special memories with their loved ones.
What they need: New and used wedding gowns from 2005 to present.

Brides Across America
What they do: Provide wedding gowns to military brides in need.
What they need: New or gently used bridal gowns, not more than three years old.
What they do: Provide special occasion dresses to girls who cannot afford them for prom, sweet 16, quinceañera or formal events.
What they need: Prom and special occasion dresses for young women.

The Glass Slipper Project
What they do: Collect formal dresses and accessories and provide them, free of charge, to Chicago-area students who are unable to buy their own prom attire.
What they need: New and almost-new prom dresses and accessories.


Project Night Night
What they do: Reduce the trauma of homeless children with Sleep Packages of childhood comforts.
What they need: Stuffed animals, blankets, and children’s books.

SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies)
What they do: Collect items to give to children in emotional, traumatic, or stressful situations (like fires, illness, abuse, homelessness, and natural disasters).
What they need: New or gently used stuffed animals.

Loving Hugs
What they do: Send stuffed animals to children living in war zones, refugee camps, orphanages, hospitals, and natural disaster areas.
What they need: New or very gently used stuffed animals.

Project Smile
What they do: Provide emergency responders with children’s comfort items, to help ease their pain and fear.
What they need: New or gently used stuffed animals, children’s books, unused coloring books, new crayons.

Newborns in Need
What they do: Provide care necessities to local agencies and hospitals serving premature, ill, or impoverished newborns.
What they need: Baby clothing, toys, and other items; also fabric, yarn, thread, and other supplies.

Touching Little Lives
What they do: Provide necessity items to needy infants in Ohio.
What they need: Baby clothing, booties, toys, blankets and other items; also flannel, thread, batting, and yarn.

Ronald McDonald House
What they do: Provide a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.
What they need: New toys, food, and household products; see website for details.


World Computer Exchange
What they do: Provide used computers and technology to schools, libraries, community centers and universities in developing countries.
What they need: Computers, laptops, printers, hard drives, peripherals, software, and more.

National Cristina Foundation
What they do: Provide computer technology to people with disabilities or economic disadvantages, to enable them to lead more independent and productive lives.
What they need: Desktops, notebooks, printers, peripherals, software, and more.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
What they do: Work to eliminate domestic violence, and empower battered women and children.
What they need: Used cell phones.

Games for Heroes
What they do: Provide emotional support to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What they need: Handheld video game devices like Gameboys, PSPs, and Nintendo DSs.

Get-Well Gamers Foundation
What they do: Bring video game systems to children’s hospitals, for entertainment and pain management.
What they need: Video games, systems, controllers, and other accessories.

Computer Recycling Center
What they do: Place computers in public charity and community programs through Computers & Education™, and recycle unusable items to keep them out of landfills.
What they need: Computers, laptops, home electronics.

HopeLine from Verizon
What they do: Provide refurbished phones to local domestic violence organizations.
What they need: No-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider.

Cell Phones for Soldiers
What they do: Use the money from recycling cell phones to buy calling cards for troops in need.
What they need: Used cell phones.

iOS Device Recycling Program
What they do: Bring high technology mobile devices (installed with educational apps) into classrooms.
What they need: iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches.

Fireside International
What they do: Use mobile devices to advance education in Haiti.
What they need: iPod’s, iPads, and iPhones.


What they do: Match America’s school teachers with donations of classroom resources.
What they need: A variety of school supplies, materials, and equipment.

What they do: Match donors’ “haves” with schools’ “wants”.
What they need: Books, movies, and other items specifically requested by educators.

The GrayMatters Foundation
What they do: Support and empower people impacted by brain tumors through outreach, awareness, and assistance programs.
What they need: Stickers, postage stamps, blank or encouragement cards and envelopes.

Muscular Dystrophy Association
What they do: Fund worldwide research efforts and nationwide programs to aid those with neuromuscular diseases and their families.
What they need: Computers, software, office equipment, furniture, and supplies for use in local offices.

Develop Africa
What they do: Provide books, school and teaching supplies, scholarships, and job-related training in Africa.
What they need: A wide variety of school and office supplies; see website for details.

Pens for Kids
What they do: Send pens to kids in Africa to aid them with getting an education.
What they need: New and used pens of every type, color, size, shape, and quantity.


International Book Project
What they do: Promote education and literacy by sending quality used books overseas.
What they need: Textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, vocational books, children’s books, and more.

Global Literacy Project
What they do: Foster community-based literacy initiatives throughout the world.
What they need: “We are currently most in need of Pre-K to 12th grade reading books as well as Math and science textbooks.”

Darien Book Aid
What they do: Send books in response to specific requests from Peace Corps volunteers, libraries and schools all over the world.
What they need: A variety of new and gently used books. Please call before shipping, to make sure your donations fit their needs.

Books for Africa
What they do: Help create a culture of literacy by shipping books to libraries and classrooms in Africa.
What they need: A wide variety of new and gently used books, generally 15 years old or newer; details on website.

The Bridge of Books Foundation
What they do: Provide books to children in low-income families, particularly through foster family agencies, homeless shelters, underfunded schools, and neighborhood centers.
What they need: New and used children’s books, from preschool through high school.

Books Through Bars
What they do: Send quality reading and educational material to prisoners, thereby promoting successful community re-integration.
What they need: A variety of new and gently used books; details on website. Please email before shipping.

Books for Soldiers
What they do: Facilitate the direct donation of books to soldiers serving overseas.
What they need: Books and magazines (as well as CDs, DVDs, and video games) requested by soldiers.
What they do: Place books in inner-city schools, youth centers, homeless shelters, family literacy centers, after-school enrichment programs, children’s group homes, and juvenile detention facilities.
What they need: Quality, gently used children’s books appropriate for infants to 18 years of age.

Better World Books
What they do: Sell books to help fund literacy programs worldwide.
What they need: A wide variety of books; see website for details.

What they do: Create movie libraries for children’s hospitals and pediatric wards across the US.
What they need: DVDs.

What they do: Provide DVDs to VA facilities for veterans in rehabilitation.
What they need: DVDs and portable DVD players.
What they do: Sell used DVDs and CD’s, and donate the proceeds to the SPCA.
What they need: DVDs and CD’s.

Musicians On Call
What they do: Provide hospitals with complete CD libraries and players for patient use.
What they need: New or gently used CD’s and new, unused personal CD players.


The CUREchief Foundation
What they do: Bring hope to cancer patients, and people with other conditions that cause hair loss.
What they need: Cotton, flannel, or polar fleece fabric.

Care Wear
What they do: Provide handmade baby items to premature infants in neonatal intensive care units.
What they need: Yarn, flannel, broadcloth, and other fabrics suitable for children’s toys, apparel, and blankets/quilts.

A Little Something
What they do: Help refugee women in Denver, CO become self-sufficient through crafting.
What they need: Leftover or unwanted beads or jewelry-making supplies, weaving fiber, knitting needles, and natural fiber yarn.

Beads of Courage
What they do: Provide arts-in-medicine for children with serious illnesses.
What they need: All types of beads, of any color and shape.

The Mending Hearts Project
What they do: Assist low-income families, teen and single mothers, and mothers with premature infants in neonatal intensive care units.
What they need: “Donations of all handcrafted items, yarn, and sewing supplies are graciously accepted.”

Afghans Etc for Charity
What they do: Brighten the lives of children with cancer and other medical issues.
What they need: Crochet and knitting supplies, and handcrafted items.

Binky Patrol
What they do: Distribute homemade blankets (sewn, knitted, crocheted, or quilted) to children in need.
What they need: Fabric, yarn, batting, and finished blankets.

The Knitting Connection
What they do: Distribute supplies to volunteers to make hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, Afghans, baby booties, layette sets, and Christmas stockings for needy children.
What they need: Yarn, knitting needles, knitting books, and finished knitted/crocheted items.

Many Arms Reach You
What they do: Collect and donate knitted, quilted, or crocheted blankets to disadvantaged mothers and their children.
What they need: Yarn.

The Mother Bear Project
What they do: Provide hand-knit and crocheted bears to children with HIV/AIDS in emerging nations.
What they need: Yarn, knitting needles, PolyFil, postage stamps, packing tape.

Knots of Love
What they do: Provide crocheted and knitted caps for chemo patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
What they need: Yarn.

Made 4 Aid
What they do: Sell handmade items on Etsy to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders.
What they need: A variety of handmade items, as well as arts and crafts materials.

Inklude Studio
What they do: Provide a creative environment for adult artists with autism and other developmental challenges.
What they need: A variety of fabric, art supplies, photography and computer equipment.

ArtBridge Houston
What they do: Provide an arts program for children in homeless shelters.
What they need: Art supplies including paper, colored pencils, watercolor paints, paintbrushes, stencils, markers, etc.

Children’s Healing Art Project
What they do: Create art classes for children in Portland’s children’s hospitals.
What they need: A variety of arts supplies; see website for wish list.


Sports Gift
What they do: Provide sports programs and equipment to impoverished and disadvantaged children throughout the world.
What they need: A wide variety of sports equipment; see website for details.

One World Running
What they do: Provide running shoes to those in need in the US and throughout the world.
What they need: New and near-new running shoes.

Bikes for the World
What they do: Donate bicycles to developing countries, so that individuals can get to work or school, or provide health and education services to low-income rural people.
What they need: Any serviceable adult or children’s bicycles, as well as bike parts, tools, and accessories.

Bicycles for Humanity
What they do: Send bicycles to developing countries, to empower disadvantaged people through improved access to food and water, employment, healthcare, education and social opportunities.
What they need: Bicycles, as well as bike parts, tools, clothing, helmets, tires, and tubes.

Opportunity Through Baseball
What they do: Provide baseball equipment to impoverished children in the Dominican Republic and around the world.
What they need: Baseballs, gloves, mitts, bats, helmets, and more.

What they do: Distribute soccer supplies to communities in need, to empower youth and maximize hope.
What they need: Soccer gear like balls, shoes, jerseys, shorts, and socks.


Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
What they do: Keep music alive in our schools and communities by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs.
What they need: Gently used band and orchestral instruments.

Marching Mountains
What they do: Supply public school band programs in distressed counties in Appalachia with donated new and used musical instruments.
What they need: Musical instruments in good working condition (mainly for marching and concert bands).

Operation Happy Note
What they do: Send musical instruments to deployed service men and women throughout the world.
What they need: New or gently used guitars, violins, mandolins, banjos, keyboards, horns of any kind, harmonicas, and even bagpipes.

Education Through Music
What they do: Promote music into the curricula of disadvantaged schools to enhance students’ academic performance and general development.
What they need: A variety of musical instruments; see website for details.


Unite for Sight
What they do: Support eye care for patients living in extreme poverty in developing countries.
What they need: New reading glasses, distance glasses, and sunglasses.

One Sight
What they do: Provide free vision care and eye-wear to people in need around the world (in some countries, a pair of eye-wear costs more than a month’s salary).
What they need: 2 million pairs of gently used eye-wear.

New Eyes for the Needy
What they do: Send eyeglasses to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations.
What they need: Eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, hearing aids.


Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Cars for Kids’ Sake
What they do: Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.
What they need: All types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, motor homes, boats, airplanes, farm equipment, and construction equipment.

Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes
What they do: Build and rehabilitate houses for families in need.
What they need: Cars, trucks, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and construction equipment.

Wheels For Wishes/Make-A-Wish Car Donation
What they do: Wheels For Wishes is a car donation program benefiting Make-A-Wish. Unwanted vehicles are turned into a wish for a local child.
What they need: Unwanted cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, or even boats.

American Diabetes Association
What they do: Strive to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
What they need: Cars, trucks, trailers, boats, and RVs.

National Kidney Foundation Kidney Cars
What they do: Fund public health and professional education, vital patient and community services, organ donation programs and medical research to prevent kidney disease.
What they need: Cars, vans, trucks, and boats.

National Foundation for Cancer Research
What they do: Support cancer research and public education on prevention, earlier diagnosis, better treatments and ultimately, a cure for cancer.
What they need: Cars, trucks, boats, and SUVs.

Purple Heart
What they do: Provide a variety of program’s for wounded and disabled veterans and their families.
What they need: Cars, trucks, RVs, and boats.


National Furniture Bank
What they do: Provide beds, tables, chairs, and other crucial home furnishings to over 100,000 people in need each year.
What they need: Bed’s, dressers, nightstands, tables, chairs, sofas, lamps, and more.

Project C.U.R.E.
What they do: Donate medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics around the world.
What they need: New and used medical equipment and supplies, including crutches, wheelchairs, and beds.

What they do: Provide humanitarian relief to children around the globe.
What they need: Foreign coins and notes.

Chemo Angels
What they do: Brighten the lives of those undergoing IV chemo treatment.
What they need: Retailer gift cards, valid or expired (can still be used in CA).

What they do: Provide safety and counseling to victim’s of domestic violence and sexual assault in El Paso and Teller counties.
What they need: Grocery and retailer gift cards, used cell phones.

Make-A-Wish Foundation
What they do: Grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
What they need: Retailer gift cards and gift certificates.

St. Jude’s Ranch
What they do: Serve all abused, abandoned, and neglected children and families in a safe, homelike environment.
What they need: Used greeting cards.

Overseas Coupon Program
What they do: Facilitate the sending of coupons to overseas military personnel and their families.
What they need: Manufacturer’s coupons, valid and expired (up to 2 months).


Notes and References: