10 Great Children's Charities
Everyone's facing tough times, but you don't have to break the bank to help those in need. Whether you're giving cash or other items, you want to get it to those who need it most. Here are 10 of the best charities that help kids and families.
Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs
For more than 100 years, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs have given kids hope, safety, and support. Instead of fending for themselves on the street, kids build stable relationships with caring adults and other club members. Group sports, career training, arts, and health promotion are just some of the opportunities found at the clubs nationwide. They’ll gratefully accept everything from school supplies, board games, and musical instruments, to sporting goods and tickets to cultural events. Contact your local club to see what’s on their wish list.
Project Night Night
An estimated 1.35 million children are homeless in the US, and 40 percent of them are under age 5. Project Night Night delivers big comfort in a small package—a canvas tote filled with a blanket, stuffie, and a new book. Even kids in the direst situations benefit from some security and coziness, and most importantly, the acknowledgement that they’re significant and worthy of care.
The San Francisco-based organization offers drop-off locations in California and Ohio, and locations across the country accept mailed items. They need new, or newly made blankets, new or like-new books, and new stuffed animals. To help them purchase these items, they’ll also take gift cards, even if there’s just a few bucks left on them.
Books for Africa
Most African school children have never owned a book, a tragedy that Books for Africa is trying to change. Since 1988, they’ve shipped more than 20 million books to 45 countries, putting books in kids’ hands and filling school library shelves with atlases and encyclopedias (and thus reducing the cost of education). Books and school supplies, such as maps and wall charts, can be mailed to their warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they’re sorted and shipped to Africa in huge sea containers. African schools and organization request the kind of books that their children need most, ensuring that the donated books will be treasured and read again and again.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Research shows that children heal faster with family present, and make it easier for families to stay together while a child receives hospital treatment. Their in-hospital Family Rooms offer respite, play areas, and sometimes even shower and laundry facilities, often just steps away from pediatric or intensive care units. For seriously ill children, treatment can last weeks or months, and often takes place at specialty hospitals far from home. Ronald McDonald Houses let whole families stay together, close to the hospital, for as little as $5 a day. They receive home cooked meals and childcare for siblings. Find your local chapter to see what they need. Wish lists generally contain the same household items you need: non-perishable food, paper towels, toothbrushes, and new toys.
New Eyes for the Needy
Thousands of children and adults need eyeglasses but can’t afford them. In developing countries, the cost can be equivalent to a year’s salary. Vision problems affect one’s ability to read, succeed in school, and keep a job. New Eyes for the Needy collects and distributes eyeglasses worldwide, and raises money to purchase more. Since they started in 1932, more than 7 million people have been helped. While many Americans get new glasses every few years, New Eyes often provides the only pair of glasses a needy person will ever have. They accept plastic eyeglasses and sunglasses in good condition, metal eyeglasses in any condition, pairs of prescription lenses, hearing aids, and even scrap metal. Your cost of shipping is tax-deductable, too.
Room To Grow
The first three years of life are critical to every baby, and Room To Grow makes sure that babies born into poverty receive the care they need. Expecting parents are referred to them by organizations that help low-income families in the Boston and New York areas. From before birth to the child’s third birthday, families visit Room to Grow every three months, visiting with clinicians about childcare and development, and receiving all of the supplies, equipment, and toys that every baby needs. Locations in Boston and New York accept mailed items and drop-offs. They need strollers, high chairs, bibs, baby monitors, crib sheets—basically every baby and toddler necessity.
Sports 4 All Foundation
The benefits of participating in a sport are well known: better health, stronger social networks, greater self-confidence. Sports 4 All provides equipment, funding, and programming to bring sports and recreation to people with disabilities. They even offer scholarships for outstanding athletes. Learn how to donate your gently used sports equipment to be distributed to groups and individuals who need it.
Healthy Child, Healthy World
Chemicals have become a constant presence in modern life, from cleaning the house to growing food. Healthy Child, Healthy World urges parents to think twice about the logic of letting kids play in grass that’s been treated by pesticides, or using paint that makes you light-headed in a baby’s room. Their website provides a wealth of information about what’s safe and what’s not, and gives healthy alternatives to common sources of toxic chemicals.
Donated funds help them spread the word, encouraging parents, healthcare professionals, and whole communities to take simple steps to a greener lifestyle. You can also sign up to be a “change agent” and get your school or neighborhood involved. Benefits are two-fold: healthier children and a happier world.
Shoes That Fit
Shoes That Fit believes that clean, comfortable, well-fitting clothes and shoes can help children succeed in school. They’ve helped needy school children across the country with the simple, yet fundamental, gift of clothes and shoes. The children attend school with dignity and confidence, allowing them concentrate on learning – not how they look. Contact Shoes That Fit to see what your nearest chapter needs, or mail in items on their year-round wish list, including school uniform separates (white shirts and navy pants) and other school-appropriate attire, such as jeans, sweatshirts, and rain gear.
Global Campaign for Education
If you want to help worldwide education efforts, but aren’t sure where to start, this organization offers one-stop shopping for a handful of excellent projects. Click through the list of groups in need, and help start a reading room in a developing country or inspire American kids to be engaged and caring citizens. The Global Campaign for Education believes that education is a basic human right, so you can rest assured that their featured projects are diligently seeking education for all.
More Great Children’s Charities
Have stuff? See if your local Big Brothers, Big Sisters needs furniture or exercise equipment. Learn more here. Or see if your local children’s museum has a wish list.
Help someone call for help. Donate your old cell phone to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Bring your household items, such as paint, furniture, doors, and light fixtures to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They resell the stuff at a steep discount to new Habitat homeowners.
Everyone knows that your local Goodwill accepts shoes, lamps, coats and everything in between, but did you know that profits from sales in the stores fund their job training initiatives? Even more good than you thought.
Find a Local Charity
Wondering who needs toddler clothes in your area? Enter your zip code and the kind of clothing you want to donate, and Donations Central searches their database of organizations in need. Network for Good is a website—teamed up with two charity-ranking services—that helps you find charities and keeps your giving records all in one place, which makes your life easier at tax time and when you want to give again.
Surprise! Equipping, feeding, and outfitting your small offspring is likely to cost you between $9,000 and $12,000 during pregnancy and the first year of life, say Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones...view gallery
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