Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Charities for Parents to be Passionate About

There are thousands upon thousands of different charities in the US. Many of them are focused on infants and children - causes close to my heart! :) I'm sure you're familiar with some of the more well-known: Make a Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, Locks of Love, Toys for Tots Ronald McDonald House Charities... But there are a lot of great ones that you may not have heard of.

Here's a brief list of charities that I think parents should get behind - and many of them are easy for kids to get involved with too!

Blessings in a Backpack provides a backpack full of nutritional, easy-to-prepare meals for the weekend for elementary school kids who are at risk of hunger. This non-profit organization currently feeds over  63,000 children in 583 schools in 45 U.S. states. These children are able to eat while they are at school, but once at home, may not always have a meal - especially a nutritious one. "Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement." Just $80 will pay to feed a child for the entire school year.

Giving Diapers Giving Hope gives cloth diapers to low-income families to help alleviate the cost of diapering. (Disposable diapers are expensive!!) To help, you can donate money, donate cloth diapers or cloth diaper accessories, or sponsor a "box of hope" (you cover the shipping fee of $35 to send diapers to a family. They currently receive cloth diaper donations from Bummis, Moraki, Apple Cheeks, and Tiny Tush.

The Birthday Box is a relatively new non-profit that provides "children in need with an opportunity to blow out candles and make a birthday wish on his or her special day. An entire birthday celebration is assembled, packaged & then delivered in a recycled box. This party in a box, includes a birthday cake, candles, party plates, a birthday present and party decorations." To help, you can make a monetary donation, or donate a toy, gift card, party decorations (party hats, noise makers), birthday candles, wrapping paper, paper plates, etc. You can also sponsor a box, host a collection drive, or collect gifts at your own child's party to donate to The Birthday Box.

Newborns in Need provides kits that contain necessities for a newborn's first few weeks of life. Over 450,000 babies born are born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation), 1,210 babies are born to teen moms each day, and 2660 babies are born into poverty each day. You can donate hand-made or store-bought items that will go to a poor or premature baby. They even have patterns you can use to crochet, knit, or sew blankets, diaper bags, hats, booties, bibs, and more. Of course you can always make a monetary donation or purchase an item from their online shop.

Reach Out and Read is a non-profit organization of medical providers that promotes literacy and school-readiness by providing books to children and advice to parents about the benefits of reading aloud. In addition to providing new books to children when they visit their offices, the pediatricians also strive to have a literacy-rich waiting room. You can donate books, bookshelves and children's furniture, story-time rugs, or children's or parenting magazines. You can also volunteer as a reader in a waiting room (in certain clinics and practices - not all) or, of course, donate funds. Reach Out and Read currently serves 4.2 million children annually in the US. Scholastic will be donating 500,000 books to the program soon.

Project Linus's mission is to "provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans..." They have chapters in every state and deliver blankets to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or "anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug." You can donate a blanket (only handmade/homemade), fabric or materials, or make a financial contribution.

Canines for Disabled Kids is a non-profit organization that provides service dogs for autistic children, hearing impaired children, and other physically disabled children. You can donate funds directly to them, purchase products from a partnered company (though only a portion goes to the charity), or hold a fundraiser for the cause.

For more, has a list of 10 great charities (some of my list is on there)
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