It's the end of October and some of us are beginning to think of the holidays. Fall foliage paints the landscape with beautiful hues of color, the weather turns cooler and furnaces hum to life for the season. Store shelves are stocked with candy for Halloween trick-or-treaters (and for people like me who try to avoid buying it until the last minute). Pumpkins turn into Jack-o-Lanterns, mums grace the porches. Thanksgiving plans get rolling with menus, locations and travel ideas being discussed. Then there's Christmas, Hanukkah, New's Year Eve and Day. It's a busy time.
It's also a busy time for charities. Many people wait until the end of the year to donate to non-profits and most of us support organizations that serve a cause we believe in. But if you're new to giving or if you are looking for a new direction in which to donate, charitynavigator.org is a great website to get you started. Vital information is provided on all non-profits listed on this site (for instance what percentage of money donated actually supports the cause versus the percentage used for expenses/overhead, etc.).
Of course, not all non-profits are listed on the charity navigator website. A few of the ones I support aren't, but they still do significant work and need our support. The list below includes organizations that I feel are important. Included are St. Joseph's Indian School which serves the Lakota/Sioux children and their families of South Dakota, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is a refuge for elephants that are old, sick or retired from zoos or circuses, Monero Mustangs Sanctuary is located in New Mexico and rescues wild horses native to the area, Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry is a food bank located in Naperville, Illinois.
Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry
Greater Chicago Food Depository
American Red Cross
Northern Illinois Food Bank
National Trust for Historic Preservation
World Wildlife Fund
St. Joseph's Indian School
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
The Elephant Sanctuary
The San Diego Zoo
Spina Bifida Association
4 Paws for Ability
Monero Mustangs Sanctuary
Donations are accepted year-round, not just year-end and in addition to monetary gifts, some gladly take non-perishable food items, clothing, toys, etc. If you have personal time to give, volunteer. Sometimes that's what it takes to make you feel as if you're making a difference. And you are.