Millions of adults and children struggle with poverty, making the holiday season a bleak one. For those who aren’t struggling, this time of year is an opportunity to step up and give to those less fortunate.
There are thousands of organizations, both local and nationwide, that make it easy to give this holiday season. Whether you can give a lot or a little, know that your donation is making someone else’s holiday a littler happier. We encourage you to check out this list of charity drives and events and find one you and your family can participate in this year.
- Every year, WGAL, The Salvation Army, Family Owned Markets, and the Pennsylvania and Delaware Cleaners Association sponsor the annual Coats for Kids Drive. Running through Saturday Dec. 10, Coats for Kids accepts donations of new or gently used coats to give to needy kids across the Susquehanna Valley. Find the drop-off location nearest you by clicking here.
- One Warm Coat is a national program that provides coats to anyone in need. They have given away more than 4 million coats after over 20,000 coat drives. Monetary donations are a great way to help as 95 percent of every dollar donated goes to supporting their programs. Don’t worry; if you can’t give money, there are plenty of other ways to help.
- The Coats for Kids Foundation is a service of Operation Warm. Operating since 2002 in 37 states, Operation Warm seeks to provide new winter coats, gloves, and hats to kids in need. The idea is that a new winter coat will not only keep a child warm and dry, but improve their self-esteem. You can help by making a secure donation that will go toward the purchase of a new coat.
- Toys for Tots has long been one of the best ways to donate during the holidays. Aside from delivering toys to your local drop-off location, your family can also help by donating funds, volunteering your time, or registering to start your own toy drop site.
- The Make-A-Wish Foundation holds Make-A-Wish Toy Drives all year long. These toys are given to kids living with life-threatening medical conditions. The easiest way to give is to chose an item from the Make-A-Wish online wish list.
- Give to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. You can find a donation location near you by clicking here. You can also support the food bank by attending the American Music Theatre’s 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland. Food drive bins and monetary donations can be made in the American Music Theatre lobby. Get more info on what foods are needed here.
- Support the Lancaster County Office of Aging’s 2016 Holiday Program. This program gives grocery store gift cards to those in need, allowing them to pick fresh foods or those that match specific dietary needs. You can support the program by writing a check to the Lancaster County Office of Aging (memo: Holiday Program) or by purchasing a $25 gift card from Giant or Weis Markets. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 9 by mail or can be dropped off on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St., Suite 415, Lancaster, PA 17603.
- Take the kids to the Choo Choo Barn for Canned Food Fridays on Dec..2, 9, and 16. If you donate at least one non-perishable food item per person, you get free admission! The food collected this year will go to help the United Methodist Church Food Cupboard and the Chester County Food Bank.
Holiday Charity Programs and Events
- Attend the Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair. This event is put on by Gifts That Give Hope and features local non-profit organizations who make fair trade, sustainable, or social enterprise products. Proceeds are split to benefit the non-profits involved. This year’s fair will take place on Dec. 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601.
- Run or walk the Lancaster Santa Stumble. This event is for those 21 and up only and proceeds benefit the K9 and Mounted Patrol units of the Lancaster Police Department. Get registration info and more details by clicking here.
- Be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army of Lancaster. You can sign up for as few or as many bell ringing shifts as you like. Not a fan of bell ringing? You can help in other ways as well. Just contact Adrienne Kautz by phone at 717-397-7565 or via email at Kautz@use.salvationarmy.org.
Whether you donate money, toys, clothes, food, or your time, we hope you’ll make the decision to give back this holiday season. From all of us at Hagelgans & Veronis, we wish you and your family a very Happy Holidays!