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I need a cause


    Thank you all for such amazing suggestions. It is both terribly heartbreaking to read about each charity and see so much hurt and need in the world, and also incredibly encouraging to know that people are truly loving people by creating, participating in, volunteering and donating to each of these worthwhile causes. I have been exposed to so many new organizations and I encourage you to look through the comments to learn about many charities that are making a difference in the lives of those who need it.


    This Christmas, my extended family decided that instead of exchanging gifts, we’ll be making a donation to a charity of each person’s choice.

    Receiving gifts is fun, but we all realize that we have so much more than we truly need and we’re looking forward to blessing others this holiday season.

    But I have a problem.

    I don’t have a charity.

    My older sister’s charity is The Ben Towne Foundation in honor of her good friend’s nephew who passed away after courageously battling cancer at the age of three.

    My little sister’s charity is Children of the Nations, an organization one of her good friends works for that cares for orphaned children across the globe.

    My uncle is suggesting a donation to the local Young Life Club that they support.

    My husband says he’s going to give to the NRA, but mostly because it will really irritate my cousin who passionately despises the NRA.

    I like the idea of giving to something that will make a difference, something that will change a life, or at least make one a little better. Supporting children or women or people groups that need empowering is a bonus. A Christian organization is great, but not a requirement : after all, I think Jesus mostly just wants us to love and care for His people and there are lots of charities doing it that are not necessarily ‘christian-based’.

    I know there are a multitude of really great causes, and I’d love to be exposed to new ones.

    So I’d love your suggestions.

    Do you have a favorite charity? Please share in the comments below and include a link {if you don’t mind} to the website/blog of the organization.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me find a cause!

    162 thoughts on “I need a cause”

    1. Your website is so sweet! Thank you for the freebies – thank you for your sweet words of encouragement and pointing to Jesus. Thank you for making pretty things. It’s a little happy place to visit. I appreciate you. xo

    2. I to need a cause. There are many, and they all seem oh so worthwhile. How can one person make a difference. What have you chosen?

    3. We donate to Kiva. It’s a micro loan, usually to women, who want to start a business. Once the loan is paid back (97% payback rate) we loan the money out again to another group. It’s fantastic!

    4. I would LOVE to suggest ROOM TO GROW in Boston. The mission of RTG is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first 3 years of development. Parents visit RTG’s warm and inviting space once every 3 mo’s during pregnancy until their child turns 3! Parents receive 1 on 1 support, developmental info, and all items needed to ensure a healthy and secure start for baby! To see these underpriveledged mamas be given a chance to succeed is amazing! Your donation will help ensure this wonderful organization continues to provide mamas with all of the above and most importantly-confidence that the parents CAN DO IT! What a wondeful Christmas gift!

    5. Hi Emily!! I have loved reading your blog and actually and currently making a load of flower pins to give away at a Bunco night I am hosting at my house on Friday. One of my friends that now reads your blog is having a craft night at her house in early Dec. using a bunch of crafts you have given tutorials on here. Thanks for inspiring creativity and fun fellowship!!, do you remember Graham Boutz and DiAnne (Konecny) Boutz from APU? Their daughter has Cystic Fibrosis. Check out the cystic fibrosis foundation website at for more info. They do incredible research and have changed the lives of so many people and families.

    6. I just had to chuckle at your husband’s cause. That is something my husband would definitely would do! St. Jude’s is always a top contender for charities that I donate to.

    7. I highly recommend IJM – International Justice Mission. It’s mission is to be “a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.”
      November 15 is National Call In Day to support the passage of the Child Protection Compact Act in Congress. Basically, it’s a law designed to help protect children from slavery. Call your senator on the 15th to support passage of teh bill – the website for all the information you need is:

    8. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this previously, but is a great charity. Your dontations brings animals and other resources to communities to help the local people. You can choose what sorts of animals you wish to donate with your contribution. One year we donated in my boss’s name and donated some goats.

    9. Hi Emily,

      I just wanted to suggest another organization for you to consider. I work for The Navigators, doing ministry on a college campus in California. We are continually reaching students who are going on to do big things in this world and specifically for our country. If you want to check us out visit:

      Thanks again! I love reading your blog and I love this idea of supporting a charity for Christmas. I’ve gotten many of my fellow Nav staff ladies to follow your blog and we love all the fun and easy tutorials you put on here :)

    10. Hi, I recently found yor blog and have been enjoying all your ideas.One organization you can check out is DKI, we are always looking for people to support our cause for the children. Thanks so much!

    11. There’s Doctors without Borders or Wounded Warriors. Now, you have so many ideas, you won’ t be able to decide!! Great Christmas gift idea – good for your family!

    12. I highly suggest you check out Samaritan’s purse. You can do alot of really neat things. A few examples are: Feed a hungry baby for a week, Teach a child to read or write, Introduce boys and girls to Gods word, and many many more. It’s really a neat to go through and pick the things you want to give. The website it

    13. This is the Good Shepherd’s Children’s Home in Zamarano Valley of Honduras. This is a Christian based orphanage run by an American couple. My daughter went there on a mission trip this summer and it changed her life. 250 orphaned or abandoned children live there. Many are found in the garbage dumps fighting buzzards for food.

    14. My suggestion would be Heifer International, , it is an amazing organization that helps those in poverty. You can donate chickens,cows etc to a family and they can feed their family etc. I am not explaining it that well but the basic idea is this “The idea behind Heifer … is similar to the notion that it’s better to teach a man to fish so he can feed himself than to give him a fish that will feed him just once. One animal could eventually benefit an entire community.”
      Check it out it is a great thing to do especially if you have kids! :)

    15. I’m not sure if anyone else has suggested, but World Vision, in my belief, is a great organization and they do great things for people that could really use it. It’s pretty amazing. I have a sponsor child that I donate to monthly and get reports from as well on how she’s doing in school and whatnot.
      Well, I hope you find one that you really like.

    16. Yo Soy El Camino ( – this is a Christian children’s home in Colombia that i personally have visited 5 times with my mother (she has been 9 times – the last time we went together was for a month!). She started this website to raise awareness about the street children there who come from extreme poverty and broken, often non-existent families. Donations are very much appreciated, and there are several ways to give – a written check for whatever amount, a commitment of $8 per month, or simply whatever pennies (literally, pennies) you’d like to get rid of.

    17. In God’s Heart Ministry. Small Home/school for street kids in Lubumbashi Congo. I care about it, not becasuse my mom runs it :), but because their heart is to be where the harvest is Plentiful, but the workers are few. Hard, hard work but the prize is so precious. Souls and lives saved.

    18. What a wonderful Christmas gift exchange idea. The Ellianna Grace Foundation is a dear one to my heart, very literally. When I was 30 weeks along with my fourth child, who is miraculously now one year old, we underwent in-utero surgery in an attempt to fix his critical heart defect. We traveled from Texas to Boston for the surgery and then I spent three months living at the hospital while I waited for our son to be born, recover from surgeries and grow healthy enough to come home. He was two months old when we left Children’s Hospital Boston. The Ellianna Grace Foundation helped us with plane tickets and helped with meal cards while I lived in the hospital. They help other families who need the fetal intervention surgery and then they help with follow-up care at Childrens’ Hospital Boston for these amazing kids as they grow and require continued heart surgeries and treatments. Their support has be a real blessing to me and my family, and many other families as well.

    19. I work with a Christian organization, so I see a lot of worthy groups all the time, but I really love IJM or International Justice Mission ( ) What they do around the world rescuing victims of sex trafficking and slave labor, prosecution of perpetrators, and aftercare of victims is phenomenal. Though heartbreaking that a need for their organization exists, I am so honored to partner with them in any small way. Many popular Christian music artists have recently recorded an album to raise money and awareness for this organization – more info here:

    20. Heifer International is an amazing organization that provides assistance to impoverished families all over the globe to feed themselves and start small business to support themselves.

    21. I work for a non-profit called Forever Found and we help support the rescue and restoration of victims of Human Trafficking and Child Prostitution. Specifically we promote writers, artists, musicians and through the sale of art, we donate all or a portion of the artist’s proceeds to three Christian After-Care Homes (Life Impact International in Thailand, International Crisis Aid in Ethiopia, and StreetLight PHX in Arizona) that do the rescuing and restorative work in these kids’ lives. It’s a way of equipping everyone who has a talent to give that talent towards a worthy cause. We or any of the 3 aftercare homes would love to be part of your family’s Christmas!! What an incredible idea!! :) A small but devestating fact about child prostitution: Over 200,000 children are enslaved to prostitution here in the United States. Yes, that right, we have this horrific evil here in the US as well! Check out our website to see what we’re doing to stop this wrong!

    22. I haven’t read through all the comments but I have a few to suggest:

      The Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center is doing amazing things ( Compassion International is a very meaningful organization and well respected for how well they run ( I also absolutely love the mission of Food for the Hungry (

      Also, as a foster parent, I would suggest you look into your local foster care agencies and see how to donate to them.

    23. I want to share an opportunity with you to help change the life of one child in Ukraine by helping bring him to Texas to live with his forever family. My friends Josh and Jessica Carlin are in the process of adopting Danil (Daniel). You can read Jessica’s blog post announcing the adoption here…
      Reese’s Rainbow is helping them through this process. You can read Danil’s and the Carlins’ page here…
      International adoptions are very expensive. The Carlins are not wealthy but have hearts after God’s. Danil is in danger of being transferred to an institution where his care will diminish greatly. It has been amazing to see how God has been working for months in the hearts of many to find Danil’s forever family. We are so blessed to get to help the Carlins by giving to Danil’s adoption grant through various raffles and the Chip In at Reese’s Rainbow. We KNOW that Danil will love being a part of their family.
      Maybe God wants YOU to be a part of this blessing too. :D

    24. Hi there, love your blog!

      So ironic that I was challenged to give money to someone in need just last weekend. With all of the causes and organizations I was overwhelmed until the Lord led me to Amazima Ministries International ( It was started by an incredible girl named Katie Davis who lives in Uganda and at the age of 22 is the legal mother to 14 orphan girls. Read about her life and mission on her blog

      Thanks for all the inspiration you give! I made the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing. My roommates and boyfriend are eternally grateful :)

    25. We live in Salem, Oregon, and we essentially support three local charities. Not that we are opposed to any of the national or international organizations, we aren’t. Many do wonderful and necessary work. Some have the ability to pull in huge dollars from around the country or world, and I like knowing that our dollars are staying closer to home. It gives our children the opportunity to see firsthand what these organizations do. Our little boy had cancer, so we support two groups out of Portland that help cancer kids and their families (Children’s Cancer Association and CHAP), and our other favorite is the local mission (Union Gospel Mission). Sometimes we deliver our donations in person, and the kids get to walk in with tangible gifts or money. It’s always a memorable moment for our family.

    26. Take a look at – an amazing work by an amazing young lady (22). She’s working in Uganda with orphans and other deprived children – and has adopted 14 of the children she works with. She went there straight out of high school – not without opposition from her family – and she’s, well, just amazing. Take a look!

    27. I would highly recommend Heffer International. You can donate the amount of money necessary to buy a family a flock of chickens, or a pig or a cow. The organization teaches the family how to care for the animal, which can provide food and an income. Families that receive animals (I think they each get a male and a female) are required to “pass it on” when their animals reproduce. It’s the whole “if you give a man a fish you feed him for one day, but if you teach him how to fish…” Great organization.

    28. Show Hope is a fantastic one that provides holistic care to children with Special Needs in China through their home Maria’s House of Hope (named after the founders daughter, Maria, who died in an accident two years ago, and was adopted from China). This is Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman’s organization…we love it! Check it out at:

    29. You are a Mom so check out Tom’s shoes. I like the fact that they donate shoes to American kids too who seem to get lost in the shuffle when it comes times to take care of needy kids and while I dont mind helping incredibly needy kids around the world we have many of our own kids in need this winter.

    30. I always support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. What they do for children and families is amazing. My best friend always supports Ronald McDonald House and they are amazing as well.
      I love what you are all doing for Christmas, that is truly what this season is about!

    31. Ours would be the Best Buddies program or Special Olympics.

      Both are worthy causes. Best Buddies works hard to pair special ed students with regular ed students to promote community and friendship. Our daughter Sara is 18 and has Down Syndrome and has been involved in the Best Buddies program for four years now. She is also a state swimmer for Special Olympics.

      There is also the National Down Syndrome Association : )

    32. Ronald McDonald House! When my twins were born in another city (my sister was our surrogate and she lives in another town), I slept in the hospital lounge for several nights when they were admitted to the NICU. A social worker noticed and told me about the RM House, which is very inexpensive housing for the parents and siblings of children in the hospital. Volunteers provide meals as well so all you have to focus about during your stay at RM are your children’s recovery. I can’t begin to describe how RM helped me through a very difficult time. In fact, I am tearing up now. So, consider a local RM House to help families with sick children. And this is a wonderful idea!

    33. What a wonderful way to show love this holiday season!

      I volunteer for Carenet, a local organization of 6 crisis pregnancy centers in King and Pierce counties. We provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and options counseling for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Abortion minded women are approximately 80% more likely to choose to parent or make an adoption plan for their child after seeing an ultrasound. We also provide parenting classes and baby items for women that choose to parent. It looks like you have a lot of options already but check out our website for more info. Cheers!

    34. I think that the Ronald McDonald House is a great charity. My cousin got cancer at the age of 8 and the Ronald McDonald house set them up with a place to stay in Seattle while they were getting situated in Seattle with Children’s Hospital. Do I guess that either one. Ronald McDonald House is and I’m not sure if Children’s Hospital takes donations but either one I think would be good, but they are pretty popular for donations. I don’t know if that detracts.

    35. Hel bring FREEDOM to sexually enslaved and exploited women on Southeast Asia. With the small donation of $24, you can provide a night of freedom and possibly a lifetime of freedom for a young woman. Amazing.

      My mom and I always give to Heifer because they’re are working on actually solving the problem of poverty. Give a cow–>milk for children, manure for fresh vegetables–>cow has a baby–>family gets money from selling the baby cow–>another family gets milk and fresh vegetables and the cycle starts all over. Amazing! And so easy for children to understand why giving another family in another part of the world a cow is important. (And its fun to be able to say that you have goat or a sheep to someone for Christmas!)

    37. This girl is doing AMAZING work in Africa with orphaned children…she has moved there permanently and has adopted 14 girls. She not only raises and loves these children, but also does a lot of work in many neglected communities in Uganda. You can read more about her story and ministry here:

      What a great thing your family is doing!

    38. Samaritan’s Purse for sure is a GREAT one. They even have a gift catalogue that depending on the size of donation can be earmarked for sports equipment, family needs, milk, farm animals, fruit trees, etc. We also are HUGE supporters of Dalit Freedom Network. This organization supports the plight of the Dalits in India, a people group that is not even considered human. They are building schools for children to educate them and also to help keep girls from being sold into prostitution. They seek also to provide economic development through things such as tailoring schools for men and women to learn a trade. They are providing healthcare and are planning to build a medical center. And, they are fighting for social justice. It is a ministry that has an impact on a large scale and is making a difference. They even have a holiday matching program. Any donation is automatically doubled! Check them out!

    39. I know a girl who’s daughter has infant onset Krabbe disease which is considered fatal. There is actually a group called Hunter’s Hope that helps children and their families who are affected by this disease. I do know that there is a hospital in NC that is waiting for one more child to become part of a study group that will hopefully allow doctors to find a cure for this disease. The more I read Katie’s blog, the more that I am impacted by the faith that she shows as she watches her daughter fight this disease. Hunter’s Hope is a great organization!!!!! and families with children that have Krabbe are definitely in need of help as there is so much care that is required.

    40. I have been lucky enough to volunteer at The River for a few years now. The River is a place where women can come to listen, learn, laugh… and wash clothes. We are ministry of presence meeting women where they are- sharing God’s love one load at a time. We reach women who might be labeled “at risk” of falling through the cracks. We’d love for you to peek at our little blog:

    41. I really love the work of Heifer International ( They provide goats, chickens, bees, etc., to people all over the world who are in poverty. Their mission is to provide people with something they can tend to and make a profit from, such as selling their animal’s milk, eggs, or wool.

    42. Emily, I think I told you that we recently adopted from Ethiopia. We love to support orphan ministry in Ethiopia…there’s a great charity called at that sponsors kids all over, but many many in Africa and Ethiopia. The are great at mentoring kids and teaching them about Christ’s love:)

    43. Hi there! There is any amazing ministry that I hold near and dear to my heart. Their cause is amazing and I have supported them for some time now and wish I could do so much more. Mercy Ministries is based in Nashville, TN and there are Mercy Homes popping up all over the globe now (not near enough homes, though). Mercy takes in women who are battling difficult life circumstances… self abuse, unplanned pregnancy, eating disorders, sexual abuse, drug abuse, etc. and shows them that they are in fact loved when they feel like they aren’t. They have a bigger calling in life that they can achieve. They can be restored through Christ and His love. They take these girls in free of charge because they don’t want any strings attached to how these girls are cared for. They don’t want them to be seen as a way to make money.

      My words can’t do justice to the amazing miracles that are achieved through this ministry. They’re website is Make sure you watch the video at “Learn More” > “Video and Audio” > and it’s the top video. It grabs my heart strings every time I watch it.

    44. “Love 146 has initiated two core program areas to combat the issue of child sex slavery and exploitation, Prevention and Aftercare. In addition, Love146 works to grow a body of Research on the issue to enhance the knowledge base for the communities we serve, our partners and our work.”


      They provide services to register people for the national bone marrow registry. My 5 year old son recently received a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor in a forgien country. None of it would have been possible without the national registry. Something you could all do for free is join the registry. Most local blood donation centers carry the kit. It involves a questionaire and a cheek swab. Totally painless giving.

    46. I think you would enjoy reading about a local charity that oftentimes is ignored. The Daughter’s Project helps rehabilitate young women who have been forced into the sex trade industry in the U.S. People often think this is just an international problem, but it is actually occuring in our neighborhood. The Daughters Project helps these young girls find their way again while showing them the love of God. You can read more about their purpose: ” To help girls recover from the trauma of human sex trafficking and to help prevent them from being trafficked through community education. The foundation of this help will be Godly, biblical and holistic.”

    47. this is such a great thing for families to do!!! We support a friend of ours in India..she’s been there 12 years and has 46 kids and a full Indian staff…any extra money that we get goes to her b/c 100% of it goes to the care and education of the kids….

    48. I received the greatest catalog in the mail the other day from World Vision. You can buy a family in a 3rd world country a cow, goat, duck…there are tons of great options. It’s a nice way to help feed and generate income for a family living in poverty. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    49. what a fun idea! well i’m a young life leader in lexington ky so i’m a little partial to your uncle’s suggestion…in my eyes sharing the gospel is the most loving thing you could ever give to someone! but i also thought i would mention a friend of mine to you. it’s actually a couple rather than a “charity” so i don’t know if this would count 100% but my friend libby has an incredible story and a family in need. I’m sure you’re a busy lady but if you have the time i would recommend their story to you. you won’t regret the time you spend there!

    50. Two of my absolute favorites:

      1. To Write Love On Her Arms – This is a non-profit organization that has a massive movement to help people struggling with depression, addiction, suicide or personal injury (cutting etc). They want to teach the vision that we are all created out of love and to be love and that every life matters! They do a lot of fantastic work!!

      2. Wounded Warrior Project – I have a HUGE softspot for the men and women in our military that keep us safe every day. Its because of them that you and I can even celebrate a free Christmas this year. This group focuses on helping injured soldiers and their families after they return from fighting overseas. They do some incredibly inspiring work!!

    51. Hi Emily, I know you live in the Seattle area like me and there is a great, local organization that serves foster children in our area called Treehouse for Kids. Their website is if you want to check them out. My work hosts a donation drive every Christmas for their warehouse which is basically a really large free store where foster kids get to shop. They also provide tutoring to foster kids and their “little wishes” program allows foster kids to take dance classes, buy their band uniforms, get their school pictures taken, etc… all things their foster family might not be able to afford. Anyways, good luck with the decision process and I think that is great what your family is doing!

    52. A favorite non-profit is International Justice Mission ( Not only do they rescue victims of human trafficking and slavery (and provide a Christ-centered recovery program), but they also prosecute perpetrators and work with local justice systems. I know you will have a hard time selecting one charity, but thanks for the opportunity to share!

    53. My family is starting the same tradition this year, but we’re pooling our money to make a greater impact on one organization. So this year, my eldest sibling gets to choose, then next year my second oldest sibling and so on. I’m sixth of seven, so it’s going to take awhile to get to me! We have all agreed that we won’t be offended by anyone’s choice (we’re all on the same page about a lot of things, so I can’t imagine being offended). I like so many local organizations but one of my larger favorites are Heifer International which really empowers folks by the simple gift of a cow or other farm animals. It’s such a tangible thing. Also read an article couple years back about the top 10 places to make guaranteed-effective impact donations: (world hunger), (local hunger), (breast cancer research), (help women in war torn areas), (sustainable agriculture), (environment), (childhoood illness), (humane society), (emergency healthcare to hard hit areas), (relief efforts/community rebuilding). How’s that for giving too many choices?:) Good luck and bless you and your family for making this decision.

    54. Hi! This is such a great idea! I love that through charity, you find the true meaning of Christmas. It too often gets lost in all the excitement of gifts. If you’re looking for an organization dedicated to women and children then you should definitely check out the YWCA. Its mission is eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. YWCAs all over the world are dedicated to helping women and families empower themselves through education and programming. (I happen to work at my local YWCA, so I know firsthand the great work that the agency does.) The national website is

    55. My husband and I are sponsoring a village through this organization. The total to build a clean water well is 5,000. These people spend most of their time walking miles to get water that isn’t clean. Clean water for them means less illness which means they can be available to get an education and have a job which would hav a huge impact on the poverty levels in these countries. They also share the gospel. Never Thirst Water is the not-for-proft and our specific project to adopt a village is “Giving Life”…

    56. My family has been doing this for years and we love it!!!! My grandparents started this tradition and this one tradition I hope to have my children and grandchildren do also. They preferred we give to a charity than purchase a gift for them. My grandparents set it up so that each year a different child or grandchild gets to choose a local charity from where they (child or grandchild) live and everyone in the family sends their contribution to the person that was chosen for that year and then one large check is sent to the charity. We send it in as an honor to my grandparents. My grandparents always have a family Christmas weekend each year. (Always the weekend before Christmas) On that weekend the person’s whose charity was chosen for that year presents my grandparents with information about the charity and how much was donated in their honor. We have been doing this now for the past 10 years and I must say it is one of the things I look forward to each year. To see my grandparents faces and to know this is what they have chosen to leave as part of their legacy – to give!

    57. Hi Emily, I will share one of the charties that I support in my area…and another idea for you. “Nonna’s Flowers” When a person finds out they have cancer, it is literally the scarriest day of your life! You could take the money and put it towards making the little posey pins. They can be given as a gift in the Radiation Oncology Clinic…at your nearest hospital. Don’t overwhelm yourself…just make a few at a time and deliver them a couple times a year. That’s the sweet thing about giving they are greatful for whatever you bring! (I will be launching my Pillow Philanthropy for St Francis in January on my one year anniversary of cancer free!)
      Just a thought…
      now here is the name of the other organization that I support! My daughter, Chrislyn is on the board of directors. (and Ryan…you rock in my book!) *L*

    58. I love the Christmas gifts you can give through Gospel for Asia – It’s really fun to look at what they’re giving! I love this one because not only do you give a tangible gift now, but the missionaries who bring the gifts can also share the gospel and offer hope for eternity!

    59. Hi! :-) So what a great idea to give your money like this for Christmas — I might see if my family would want to do this too! :-) Anyways, my husband and I run a ministry in inner-city Atlanta . . . we just bought a house downtown (in the most dangerous neighborhood in Atlanta) so we can be closer to the kids we work with (our ministry is through – we have a summer camp for kids who can’t afford it as well :-)

    60. Check out Mocha Club at They have different options of where you can help support and send money. Such as Child Mothers + Women At Risk, Clean Water, Education, HIV/AIDS + Health Care, Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children. You can give a one time gift or give $7 a month (like one mocha!) Its a great cause! And it’s awesome to see the work they are doing.

    61. Several years ago we started offering our family members the choice of a donation to charity or a gift card. Happily most choose charity. Our own children are limited to 3 gifts each from us. (If it was good enough for Jesus… :) They also get to choose a donation to a charity of their choice. They truly look forward to this.
      I truly adore Samaratan’s Purse. They began as Operation Christmas Child (the shoeboxes) and now have an entire gift catalog where you can buy chickens or goats, etc for people in need in Africa, etc.

      Another favorite is the Worchester Wreath Company. They are the company who creates the pine Christmas wreaths for companies such as LL Bean. For every wreath that they sell they also donate a wreath to place at a gravesite of an unknown soldier and others who lost their lives defending our country. We donate each year for 3 wreaths to be placed.

    62. Excellent charity. It’s a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

    63. Hi Emily! This is a Christian org. but, if we had more money (which, I’m sure we could actually scrape some more together…anyway) I would give/will give consistently to “Samaritan’s Purse”. I know that this org. is all over the world, but I just feel like when disaster hits, etc–they are there–meeting needs and sharing Christ. They also have a giving catalog so loved ones can give a specific amount for a specific thing. I love to read their newsletters about which corner of the world they are helping in the name of Christ. Well, I know whether big or small, that you will find something that works for you and touches your heart. Blessings for your choice! –k

    64. I LOVE Reece’s Rainbow. In other countries down syndrome children are treated very terribly. This is a Christian organization adopts out ds children all over the world. Just looking at the website makes me cry every time. We would love to adopt from them, we have a few friends who have already. Many of the children listed must be adopted soon or they will be sent to an asylum! Can you imagine? So terrible. My heart aches :( Donations sent can be put toward children who you would like to see adopted.

    65. Have you heard of the organization, “Giving Anonymously” We just learned about this and it’s outstanding! You can anonymously give money through the organization which delivers the check… then the recipient(s) can call and leave a voice message that gets recorded as an mp3 file and sent to the giver. It’s a neat way to give… when you hear of a need or know someone who could use a little help, or it’d be cool to give to the organization. They’re non-profit, but do get occasional gifts of support to help cover their overhead. We have been blessed through friends giving through them, and once we realized they were even out there… it has been so exciting for us to consider the possibilities! :) Just thought it’d be cool to share because you could essentially, give to someone you know… someone you suspect has a specific need… and be anonymous. ;) Yet, you’ll hear the message they leave. It is a humbling, beautiful experience…

    66. Check out UNICEF! They work solely to help children in need. They provide children with clean water, relief aid, health care, etc. Such a great cause. It really makes you stop and think that with all we have, there are still children out there without clean water and other basic necessities. It’s definitely my favorite cause:

      Also check out It shows you how to tell how efficient a charity is that you are thinking of donating to. Some charities are very high (in the 90%) with the rest going towards fundraising and operating expenses, while others are extremely low. I think it is important that if you give to a cause, you make sure it is actually going to the cause :)

      Good luck!

    67. Some of my family’s favorites:

      Samaritan’s Purse (
      Joni and Friends (
      Locks of Love (
      Camp Firefly (
      Compassion International
      World Vision

      This is such a great idea for a Christmas tradition! So many people have so little, and the Lord has blessed us with so much – it’s wonderful to share with those in need, instead-of (or at least in-addition-to) piling more ‘things’ on those who already ‘have’.



      I give to an organization called The Apparent Project. The founders are close friends of mine that I worked with for Young Life in Spangdahlem, Germany. They founded this organization because they were adopting from Haiti and were shocked when they found out that the majority of orphans there actually have living parents. The parents give up the rights to their children because of extreme poverty. The Apparent Project exists among the haitian people to provide them the skills needed to rise above poverty and to be able to keep their children. The Clay’s live and work among the people of Haiti, so all of the money donated goes toward the needs of the people in the community of Port-au-Prince at the time. Projects can range from feeding programs, building housing, secondary education, art education, to beading, sewing, cosmotology, parenting skills, computer skills, and basic medical care.

    69. Hey Emily, check out Heifer International (…such a great organization. Every year for Christmas, my husband’s grandmother gives us all of our gifts, plus a $10 bill. Then when everyone has opened their gifts, she tells us that we are so blessed, we should share that blessing with others. She asks us to donate to whatever animal she is purchasing from Heifer. Luckily enough, we all have $10 cash on hand :) All the kids were taught from their first Christmas to share their blessings, and it’s one of the traditions I love most about my new family. I highly recommend this organization! Good luck choosing :)

    70. I had the hardest time trying to figure out what to get teachers last year for the holiday’s….I remember my daughter receiving a beautiful necklace for a b-day present one year, and it was from St. Judes (I ended up buying one for each of my nieces last year for christmas, it said ‘dream’ on it!) so I went into their site, and found I could made a donation in each teachers name, and they would receive a holiday card from me that I coudl customize…they were so gracious and thankful, I’ll be doing that again this year…St. Judes is an amazing organization, and do so much for all the children who need them.

    71. There’s a backpack program for school kids that hands out backpacks on Friday afternoon that are filled with shelf stable food for the child to eat over the weekend. A lot of kids from lower income families and who receive free meals at school all week are suspected to not eat much at home over the weekend. This program feeds them and any siblings they may have that are younger than school age. We’ve been doing it in our community for a couple of years now and it really is a blessing. It also helps find those families who might need assistance during the holidays. It’s a government funded program for the most part, but the local programs often have specific needs that can be met quicker through private donations.

      Kudos to you on starting a great new tradition!

    72. We just hosted a coffee house last night to raise money for a great organization called International Justice Mission ( They work to provide legal representation and aftercare for people (mostly women and children) caught in slavery, sexual trafficking and other forms of violent oppression around the world. They work to prosecute the worst of the worst. It’s an amazing organization.

    73. Our family supports National Down Syndrome Society, My 3 year old granddaughter was born with Down Syndrome. She is far from being “down”! Down is the last name of the man who discovered the chromosome At 3 year’s old, she knows all her upper/lower case alphabet, numbers to 20, all primary colors plus some, her shapes, PLUS she is reading 5 words. When this little one came into our life’s, I immediately knew she was closer to the God-like person God has been trying to create than I… with my defects. She is an angel. AND, of course, she is ours!!!!!

      Your area should also have a local affiliate. Buddy Walk’s are held locally! All donations are so appreciated…large or small!!!!

      Hugs are given on the 21st chromosome! Hugs to you and your family!

    74. I wish I had more time to expound upon it, but I couldn’t do their website any justice. It has one of the highest charity ratings of any organization and it gives 100% of donations to the communities it helps to provide clean water and wells for. It is truly making a difference. I have kiddos and we can look on google satalite images of the new wells they are in the process of building. We can SEE the difference. Very tangible and educational for the whole fam. Good luck!

    75. I recommend your local (or statewide) CASA program. That’s Court Appointed Special Advocates and they train volunteers to work with child neglect cases. When a case appears in court, the judge assigns one of the volunteers to learn everything they can about the case and to work with the child throughout the duration of the trial. My good friend is the fundraising event coordinator in Austin, TX and I’ve come to know some of the work they do and they truly are amazing people helping children make it through the CPS system.

    76. Feed My Starving Children:
      Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. – Proverbs 22:9
      Non profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s starving children hungry in body and spirit. Children and adults hand pack meals formulated specially for starving children. Meals are shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world. People can volunteer to pack food or donate money. $10 feeds two kids for a month and on up…

    77. oh – and I think I should have told you that the WHOLE cd series is called “Learning to See When the Lights go out” I figure that’s kind of important if you go to the website to search it! lol

    78. This is a great organization started by a young college grahic design graduate- designing and selling Tshirts for a cause (food, water, education, etc.) and ALL the profit goes to that cause. Please go to the site, you must read the story!

    79. Hey Emily –
      this might take a while to explain – but I think it’ll be worth it. Here we go!
      In 1993, my pastor and his wife lost their son in a very tragic car accident. His name was Mark. They started a ministry in his name MARKINC {} that offers help and hope to hurting people. They basically put together cd’s with interviews with people who struggle/have struggled/are related to those who struggle with certain things. For example – There are Cds on: Breast Cancer, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dying with Dignity and Grace, The Loss of a Loved One, Alchoholism, Infedelity, First Responders {Police, Fireman, and EMTs who are the first ones “on the scene”} and now they’re in the process of the very difficult “Coming Home From War” series, which has many cd’s that deal with soldiers, their families, and their struggles. MARKINC makes ZERO money on these projects because they give EVERY cd away for FREE. So they completely rely on donations from people. I know they would be super-greatful for anything they received.

      and what a great idea from your family! how generous. Blessings to your family this christmas.

    80. hahaha! My husband is a lifetime member of the NRA. That comment in your post cracks me up.

      What about something local like a MOPS group or a crisis center for abused women and children or a Ronald McDonald house? I know I am always more willing to give if the cause is local.

    81. Every year my family all chips in however much money each wants to give and it goes to World Vision to purchase animals for families in need to become self-sufficient. We let my son (the only grandchild at this point) choose how to divide the money. It provides a great learning experience for him trying to decide how best to maximize the gift and discussing how our small sacrifice can change the life of someone in need.

    82. Voice of the Martyrs is an incredible organization that takes practical steps (food, blankets, shelter, legal steps) to support Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer for simply being believers. They send you very cool literature highlighting specific stories of grace and courage under tremendous pressure (including, of course, the threat and reality of death…hence “martyrs”) and even prayer calendars which tell you how you can best pray for the people (and the leaders) of specific countries that persecute Christians.

    83. You have so many comments and not sure if you have picked one yet. But I saw one put the food bank, I think that you should do that two to three times a year, clean out all the old canned items and dried goods. Coming from someone who grew up in a house were sometimes, the food bank is the only reason why we had food…I SUPPORT it several times a year. So that is a good one. As well as any women’s shelter or animal shelter. Again, I grew up in a domestic violent home and more than once, these women’s shelters were s safe haven for periods of times, my mother was not one of the smarter ones that used the programs offered to the full potiental to get completly away from the dangerous man and situation, but even still, they are wonderful in getting clothes, food, a safe house, counseling etc etc to these women that are completly broken down. Animal Shelters are always in need of donations. I commend your family, this is a wonderful idea.

    84. Just found your website and love it. My daughter and I made flower pins last weekend!
      Some charity suggestions: World Vision–I’ve had different sponsor children for the last 20 years. My kids can really connect with our current boy in India who my daughter’s age. They support children in need in the U.S., too. They also have great ideas for giving specific gifts for the holidays.
      We also gave to Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres ) last year for the first time. Not Christian-based, but I agree with your comment above. Obviously doing a lot of good.

    85. I would give to a local food bank.
      Do you know how many children who live right here in the Unites States go to bed hungry every night?
      Many are homeless along with their families and the only meal they may get is one from school if they were able to attend that day.
      One of my Best friend’s daughter’s teaches High School Chorus and twelve of her thirty students in one class are homeless! That is astounding!
      I lOVE that you and your Family are doing this.
      While I love the Christmas Season I dislike the commercialism and waste.
      All of the charities mentioned above sound wonderful too.

    86. is an organization close to my family. My parents moved to India for 3 years and had a chance to meet the owners and witness the good coming from this group. Tenderhands give girls an education and keeps them off the streets and from prostitution. It also provides their mothers with work so that the families learn to change their ways.

    87. One of my favorites is The Smile Train. This charity performs the surgery to repair cleft lips and palates. How wonderful to give the gift of a smile and it lasts a lifetime!

    88. Sponsor a child or just make a donation to Compassion International ( We sponsor a 6 year old boy in Tanzania and an 8 year old girl in Ecuador. We get letters all the time from Zenob and have developed a wonderful relationship with him – they are just precious gifts – and our entire family prays for him and loves him as he is one of our family. Compassion is such a wonderful organization. Check out the website for testimonials!

    89. There are just a multitude you could give to. So many people need help. But animals need help too. You might want to consider your local animal shelter, or look a little deeper and see if you can find something that really touches you – an animal adoption facility maybe. Just a thought. But bless you and your family for doing this. It’s wonderful.

    90. what about Compassion? I love everything they do from teaching deprived women how to care for children to actually sending the children to school and church. It could be fun to sponsor a child and then your children could take part as well by writing letters and exchanging pictures with the child.

    91. our family favorites: heifer intl. – this is a great one!! it’s the whole “teach a man to fish” principal….so much better and longer lasting than a simple hand out. it teaches people how to be self sufficient AND requires that they share their bounty with their neighbors. the gift that keeps on giving! :)
      st. jude’s children’s hospital {or any non-profit children’s hospital} – their motto is that no family is ever turned away, regardless of ability to pay. and i’ve seen their financial “breakdown” chart thingy {that’s the scientific name! ;)} and am really impressed with how very small of a percentage goes to “administrative costs”….it’s all about the kids.
      Amazima {} – all i know about this one is from reading her blog. this young woman lives in Africa and has taken in 14 orphans and is parenting them, loving them and teaching them about Christ. i am in awe of her. have a few boxes of kleenex nearby if you decide to visit her blog.

    92. ; My suggestion is International Justice Mission. It’s a christian human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.

    93. My suggestion is a sensitive one and hard for people to read about. It is something that really breaks my heart, especially as the mother of young children. I was lead to this organization by a friend from FB after she posted the link sharing the statistics of human trafficking in the United States. Even if you don’t choose this organization I hope sharing will bring the subject to light.

    94. Our school donates regularly to Heifer International . It is a wonderful organization:} I copied the following from their website as they truly say it best:
      To End Hunger & Poverty
      Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

      By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

      With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.

    95. Love146 – the goal is abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. This organization is amazing. AMAZING. We have supported them for several years and have been involved with the organization. They are indeed a worthy cause.

    96. My husband and I have a requirement for charitable organizations in that 85% or better has to go to services provided (and NOT administrative costs) since we want to get the most bang for our buck. One of my personal favorites is Health Wagon. The provide mobile medical services to the people of the Appalachian regions. I love that it helps people in our country who truly need help. Over 90% of the money goes directly to provide services (I forget the exact percentage). Their website is (not to be confused with the dot com.). Check it out. Thank you.
      P.S. My Jewish husband passionately supports the Christian Appalachian Project and that is his suggestion. He says they have a very good rating also. Hope this helps.

    97. March of Dimes. November is National prematurity awareness month. MOD is committed to helping families who have babies in the NICU and need assistance with medical bills as well as funding for research on how to better care for these babies and how to prevent more preemie births. As a mother who has had 2 babies born prematurely (a 27 weeker and a 24 weeker) I love this organization. Thru research they’ve done they have helped make it possible for me to have just delivered a 37 week old yesterday.

    98. I work for Missouri Girls Town Foundation. I know you don’t live in Missouri but this organization provides a home to girls ages 8-18 who have suffered significant trauma from sexual abuse, physical abuse or severe neglect. The organization’s goal is to provide a fresh start in life to these girls so that they may live productive, independent lives. Funding to provide education, housing, vocational skills, food, clothing, etc. for these beautiful girls comes almost entirely from donations. This time of year is especially hard for the girls, since most children their age are thinking about presents and families and santa. These girls have had their childhood Christmases destroyed by loss of innocence, abuse and heartache. Perhaps you could consider adopting one of the girls for Christmas (or just supporting the organization)?

      I read your blog everyday and feel like this is something you would have a heart for.

    99. Lifesaver ministries. A crisis pregnancy center that provides housing as well as counseling and other services for women who decide to carry their baby to full term. My mom has been donating to them for years now. At Christmas she “adopts” a family through them and sends gifts.

    100. – I completely trust them. My kids love to pick out “gifts” from their Christmas catalogue – a goat, money for a medical kit, baby chicks, bibles for orphans, etc. One year my 4th grade sunday school class held a bake sale on the street corner to raise money for Samaritan’s Purse – the 4th graders are now 9th graders and still remember the joy of ordering items from the catalogue. I completely trust Franklin Graham with my money.

    101. I photograph children that have Cystic Fibrosis for a calendar one of the local CF Moms coordiates and has put together to raise money for a cure..I got involved because one of my very best friend’s son was diagnosed when he was 4…There are so many precious kids dealing with this disease day to’s a DAILY maintenance thing…they are on the cusp of finding a cure…
      Here is the website for the foundation:

      and here are some of the kids locally that have it..Through photographing them, I have become very inspired to see these kids live to a very old age :) ( If you are on Facebook, my page is Heather Crawford Photography..and the album is Cystic Fibrosis Calendar Kids)


    102. We do this same thing in my family! We all seem to do local ones. It just seems to makeit hit home so much more?! Habitat is a favorite. As well as Guiding Eyes for the Blind my mom is actuall y a puppy raiser. No matter where you decide to give, I beg you to use the Charity navigator. It gives GREAT information about how much money is used for running vs staff vs actually helping!
      Best of luck, I can’t wait to hear what you choose!!

    103. the red cross is always the first response to an disaster, don’t think you can beat that. habitat for humanity is wonderful there is also christmas boxes sorry i don’t know any links.
      what a wonderful christmas idea!!

    104. Having surrendered to go on the foreign mission field, I am a little partial to missions. Life on the field is rather slim to say the least…can you imagine being away from family, friends, Christmas decor. or the typical winter weather? An extra gift would be such a blessing, a card or gift would goes so far. One i like is located at, they are training American firefighters to know how to assist and respond to urban crisis in Israel. You might also consider a local Crisis Pergnancy Center. You’ll get so many suggestions. They all could benefit.

    105. Mercy Ministries. They are a ministry geared toward women who have addictions and other problems in life. It is a rehab program that is life changing. I have read about it and seen videos. So awesome. You should look them up online.

    106. that’s a really beautiful plan! we are involved with “Drawn from Water” which is an orphanage/child rescue in Ethiopia. They seriously save children from being killed in various tribes who believe the babies to be cursed. It’s pretty amazing & heart breaking at the same time. You can read the blog & learn more @, the video about Bale is a tear-jerker!!! Blessings on you & yours…and can’t wait to see the Christmas goodies :-)

    107. TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. They offer support for the surviving families of fallen soldiers. I recently illustrated a children’s book with them that will be given to every military child that loses a parent. Over Memorial Day I went to their national survivor’s conference…meeting all of these parents, wives and children changed me forever.

    108. My favorite charity is Meds and Food for Kids: They are literally saving lives producing Medika Mamba – a peanut-based protein food that is made and manufactured in Haiti by Haitians. It’s so amazing. Also, even a more personal organization is Real Hope for Haiti — you can follow their blogs and the great work they are doing for the children of Haiti here: and here:

    109. I’m a Foster Mom and if you could see how sad these kids Christmases are. Two years ago we had 3 boys with us at Christmas who had never seen a Christmas Tree.

      Foster Agencies are ALWAYS looking for supporters to help give these kids a normal holiday season.

    110. I hope I can share this without sounding too “preachy” but this is near and dear to my heart. My church in St. Louis started something a few years ago. I don’t know what to call it other than God moving in amazing ways but most call it “Advent Conspiracy”. The whole thing pushes back on consumerism during the holiday season and encourages people to remember what Christmas is really all about. It encourages people to help those who really need to know God’s love by reaching them through basic needs, like water, and people donate to Living Water International. My description of how everything works barely touches the surface – you can learn more about what God is doing through this website: Don’t know if this is what you’re looking for but I had to throw it out. (and thank you for sharing all of your wonderful ideas, you family, etc. – I enjoy your site very much!)

    111. I love your website and think you’re amazing! My current favorite is found at My dear friend Emily Jones lost her husband last Thanksgiving in a caving accident in Utah. He was one of the most giving people I have ever known and his wife is amazing as well. They have two kids, one of which she was pregnant with when he passed away. Emily had a great amount of support since it was a very public tragedy, but her brother is currently riding across the country to raise money for the Liz Logelin Foundation, which gives grants to widows and widowers. They are just an amazing family and are so giving even in such a loss. The Liz Logelin Foundation, through the Nutty Putty Cyclers would be my suggestion! There is more about Emily and her family on the website. Good luck choosing one! I think that’s an amazing idea. Thanks for the inspiration.

    112. What a wonderful idea! I love it. Our organization of choice is NorthStar Youth Ministries, based here in Birmingham. Founded and run by our friend Paul, its mission is to help urban youth find their direction in life through high quality, holistic programs within a nurturing Christian environment. He moved his family to the inner city of Birmingham and has been making a huge difference in the lives of the inner-city youth there for years … he mentors them, started a Scout troop, does educational tutoring, leads sports teams and heads up a camp every Summer for the kids. It’s amazing! To learn more about it, go to . And thank you for even considering it! What a blessing.

    113. I have never commented before but I just want to say that I love your blog!

      One good cause would be Mothers Without Borders. A few months ago my MIL spent 2 weeks in Africa with this group (her life-long dream!) and they do things like building schools and other things for children. This is a Christian organization.

      Another idea would be Heifer International. You may have heard of them – you can buy specific animals for poverty-stricken families around the world. Sheep, cows, chickens… these things provide food and other benefits for these people, and help them become more self reliant (the animals give birth, thus giving people MORE blessings, and it just keeps on giving). I have personally never donated to them but I know some who have.

      Good luck… there are so many great charities out there! The key is finding something that will actually give most of your money to the cause, instead of to administration (although that is important, too).

    114. Emily,

      I love this idea!

      My favorite charity is The Parker Reese Foundation. My husband and I founded this nonprofit in January 2008 in memory of our only child, Parker. She was diagnosed at 29 weeks gestation with a rare and often fatal birth defect known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia. She lived for an amazing 20 hours. We wanted other families diagnosed with CDH to know they aren’t alone. We are a small charity but we are doing big things. I don’t expect you to pick our charity but I wanted to make you and your readers aware of CDH. Thanks for giving me the forum to do so!


    115. Check out Our mission, as copied from website:” to establish long-term partnerships with people and organizations who will invest their resources, skills and knowledge into underdeveloped communities in Haiti to bring about spiritual, emotional, physical and social healing. ”
      We are in the beginning states of building an amazing community center, a picture and more details are linked on this page: Praying for our dear friends over there as they are dealing with Hurricane Tomas now. (And I must say your blog is just lovely. Thank you for the inspiration!!:-)

    116. Seattle Children’s Hospital. Two weeks at Children’s with a newborn and I think the majority of my tears were tears of thankfulness that such a place exists.

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