13 Local Charities to Support This Holiday Season

When holiday shopping, pick up an item or two for one of these organizations.

The holidays can seem like a manic blur of writing and checking off lists, buying gifts and cooking meals. Among the chaos, the spirit of the holidays often falls through the cracks. That’s why the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City created Giving Tuesday. Now in its fifth year, the holiday—which will be observed on Nov. 29—serves as a reminder to help the less fortunate. Below are organizations that you can support on Giving Tuesday or in the weeks surrounding the holidays.

1. Philabundance

Arguably one of the most well known food drives in the country, 93. 3 WMMR’s Preston & Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger collects more than half of Philabundance’s donations per year. The radio show and its volunteers will collect items at XFINITY Live! from Monday, Nov. 28 to Friday, Dec. 2. If you can’t make it to the food drive, you can also donate to Philabundance online.  

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2. Toys for Tots

Nearly 70 years old, this Marines-backed toy drive is a staple at offices across the country. In addition to Toy R Us, Macy’s, Five Below and A.C. Moore locations in the area, you can make donations for a child in need at one of these spots:

View a complete list of Toys for Tots drop-off locations.

3. CityTeam Chester

As a nondenominational Christian nonprofit, CityTeam works to combat hunger and homelessness in the area. In addition to taking food and diaper donations, several local businesses are hosting a toy drive for local impoverished children, including:

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4. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army does more than just arm every grocery store with a red bucket and a bell-ringer come the holiday season. It provides meals for the hungry as well as toys for children. Drop toys off at any of these locations:

5. Plaid Pajamas Project

This two-year-old organization founded by Berwyn’s Pamela Badolato provides new pajamas to those in need. As the project’s tagline reads, “They don’t have to be plaid, but they do need to be new!” A few of the drop-off locations include:

View complete drop-off listings for the Plaid Pajamas Project here.

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6. Cradles to Crayons

It didn’t take long for Boston-based nonprofit Cradles to Crayons to make its way to Conshohocken. The Philadelphia chapter was established in 2006, four years after the organization’s start. Since then, it has been collecting all the essential items young children need to thrive at home and in school. 

There are several ways to help out this season. If you’re doing holiday shopping at Scout & Molly’s in Paoli, be sure to bring along a new or gently used children’s coat by Dec. 31 for a 10 percent discount on your purchase. And if you’re getting glammed up at M Matthew Salon in Berwyn, donate new or gently used children’s clothes and winter gear for a chance to choose a gift from the salon’s giving tree. You can also donate directly to the organization, which is currently low on underwear, socks and winter coats.

7. Laurel House

This Norristown-based domestic violence agency works tirelessly to provide programs and shelter for affected women and children. This year, the shelter is asking for gift cards so that the women can enjoy picking out and preparing their own gifts and food for their children. They also have wish lists for those who would prefer to buy specific items. Donations can be made at the Laurel House headquarters.

8. The Kolbe Fund

After Kate Schnittman’s 4-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with cancer, she soon realized the value of urban hubs known nationally for their exceptional healthcare. But some are not lucky enough to afford lodging accommodations on top of skyrocketing medical bills. That’s why the Kolbe Fund helps cover travel and lodging costs for families seeking medical care. This season, they are asking for donations so they can keep providing care for families in need.

9. Joy of Sox

When Tom Costello, Jr.’s wife spoke to a podiatrist at a homeless shelter, she found that one of the fewest donated items to shelters was socks, which often leads to foot issues. That inspired him to start a nonprofit dedicated to collecting new socks for the homeless. With the cold weather coming, warm feet will be even more important for those most at risk. Learn how to donate here.

10. Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Perhaps the area’s best-known philanthropic foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has been fighting childhood cancer since 2000. This Giving Tuesday, they are specifically asking for donations to their Travel for Care Program, which offers financial assistance for transportation, lodging and meals for families who need to travel for care. 

11. Main Line Animal Rescue

Having never received money from adoption fees and state funding, this animal shelter relies solely on donations. For Giving Tuesday, Main Line Animal Rescue has set a fundraising goal of $50,000 to continue saving animals and finding them appropriate homes. Donate here.

12. Operation Warm

Dick Sanford started this Kennett Square-based charity in 1998 after seeing children without coats huddling for warmth waiting for the bus. After he worked with community members to bring the children coats, he realized the need for such an organization. After 18 years, Operation Warm is asking for monetary and coat donations.

Also, use Operation Warm and Hollister’s geofilter on Snapchat, and Hollister will donate $1 to Operation Warm, up to $10,000.

13. Chester County Food Bank

With Thanksgiving kicking off the food-centric end of the year, CCFB is aiming to provide a meal for every needy family in the county. If you can’t donate a turkey by Thanksgiving, you can choose one of these items to donate for the holidays or make a donation here.

What are some of the charities you’ll be donating to on Giving Tuesday and beyond? Let us know in the comments. 

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!