In honor of Giving Tuesday, the United Nations-led campaign to create a national day of giving over the holidays, I put together this list of Orlando organizations I love. I hope it inspires you to give back this holiday season. Many of the organizations help kids and also let you volunteer with kids, which helps teach them the value of altruism. Here’s to the joy of giving!
1. This year I am most pumped about my latest find: Baking Memories 4 Kids. Every single penny made from the one-pound tubs of yummy chocolate chip cookies goes toward sending kids with life-threatening illnesses to Florida’s amusement parks. Even their families get to go along on the all-expenses-paid vacations. I love that it combines helping kids with chocolate and my home state’s top attractions–some of my favorite things!
2. Every year my son, Javier, and I bring a slew of gently used toys and clothes to the Children’s Home Society of Central Florida, which delivers social services to abused or at-risk kids of all ages.
3. The Mustard Seed Furniture and Clothing Bank is another good one for donating household goods, furniture, clothing, toys and books to those who need it most.
4. When Javier caught a nasty virus and was forced to spend a few days at the Florida Hospital for Children a couple of years ago, we were introduced to the pet therapy dogs and the volunteers who bring them around to cheer up the kids. It turns out the hospital has that and more fun volunteer opportunities that you can take part in alongside your own kids. The art and music volunteer opps in particular are perfect for little ones.
5. At a company where I used to work, we did group volunteer activities during the holidays. I like Hands On Orlando because it pairs you up with one based on your interests and where you live, and most of the projects only require a few hours of your time and no long-term commitment. The hands-on projects range from coordinating game night at the homeless shelter to cleaning toys at a local children and family center. Nothing requires you to raise funds or perform administrative tasks, and you can register your family as a group, thereby matching you with kid-friendly opportunities.
What are your fave local organizations for giving back?
I’ll leave you with this great Winston Churchill quote:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”