For many, the “most wonderful time of the year” is also the time when an excess of food and gifts further highlights the gap that exists between those who have and those who need, but sometimes giving hearts are bigger than their owners’ wallets. Here are ten ways to give in the greater Richmond area this season (and all year ‘round!):
1. Donate women’s work clothes to Dress for Success Central Virginia.
This organization collects gently used suits, dresses, blouses, accessories, shoes, and handbags and provides them, along with career development tools and support, to disadvantaged women seeking jobs and economic independence. These items can be dropped off at 210 E. Clay Street in Richmond from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.
2. Donate goods to St. Joseph’s Villa.
St. Joseph’s Villa is a broad-reaching organization that seeks to assist children and families struggling with homelessness, poverty, mental illness, learning disabilities, and developmental disabilities. Their website clearly outlines items and goods needed and also provides information about seasonal giving opportunities. Among many other things, they are currently accepting school supplies, clothing, housewares, linens, toiletries, diapers and pull-ups, and used trucks and minivans.
3. Give children in Africa the opportunity to learn and play by sending old Lego bricks to Play Well Africa.
This organization, started by a six-year-old boy, collects Lego bricks, sets, and accessories and sends them to schools and Peace Corps volunteers in Kabale, Uganda, and Botswana to be distributed to the children there. While Richmond doesn’t have a local donation center, Lego bricks and sets can be mailed to Play Well Africa, PO Box 1160, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.
4. Use the power of words to give back to Wounded Warriors.
The Wounded Warrior Project provides a variety of outreach, financial, employment, and mental and physical health services for injured service men and women and their families. Currently, WWP is only accepting monetary donations, but you can raise awareness about their program by donating a Facebook post or Tweet to their cause.
5. Give goods to Safe Harbor, an emergency shelter, advocacy, education, and hotline services organization that protects victims of domestic and sexual violence.
They collect new, unopened, and unexpired personal care items, household items, and food. Currently, Safe Harbor also has two registries of items from Target and Bed Bath and Beyond that will be used to furnish their new human trafficking shelter.
6. Clean out old formal, homecoming, and prom dresses and donate them to Cinderella Dreams.
This organization collects new and gently used formal dresses and accessories between February 1 and February 28, 2017 at all Richmond area Puritans Cleaners (who will clean your donated dresses at no cost to you) and YMCA locations to donate to area teenage girls.
7. Donate food to FeedMore.
FeedMore is one of my favorite Central Virginia organizations. It is comprised of the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and the Community Kitchen, which work together to fight hunger in children, families, and homebound senior citizens. While they accept any healthy, nutrient-dense, and shelf-stable food products, they also offer alternative ways to give, such as planting an extra row of vegetables in your family’s garden.
8. Collect dog and cat food, blankets, towels, and leashes for animal shelters.
Local ones include:
- Chesterfield County Humane Society
- Bandit’s Adoption & Rescue of K-9s
- Henrico Humane Society
- Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation of Richmond, Virginia
- Richmond Animal League
- Richmond SPCA
9. Donate used suitcases and bags to Case for Hope, which distributes them to area foster children.
These can be dropped off at Pasture restaurant at 416 E. Grace Street, Richmond.
10. Offer your time.
All of these organizations, plus hundreds more in the Richmond area, need volunteers to help them distribute goods, answer the phone, and provide services to those in need. Find a cause you’re passionate about and call your local organization—time spent helping someone else is guaranteed to ease your holiday stress and adjust your perspective.
Happy holidays from all of us here at Key Web! We leave you with this reminder that kids should probably run the world: