In case you were thinking charities seem to be crawling out of the woodwork this month, they are, and they ARE. The reason for the season is the traditional year-end tax deduction: itemize your charitable donation AND benefit a worthy cause in the process. This might change next year, so now is the time!
Naturally, we think of the big outfits: Red Cross, Salvation Army, the medical charities, and children’s foundations. But, if you haven’t chosen a charity and made your year-end donation yet, consider some local alternatives.
Every community has a food pantry*, library, homeless shelter, or other cause that directly impacts you and your neighbors.
For the most part, you can visit these places and see your contributions in action… so much better than sending a donation off into the ether, no??
*Little-known food pantry facts: they will accept non-perishable foods up to 1 year past the container’s expiration date AND if you don’t like cans rolling around in your trunk, donations of MONEY actually go further, since they can purchase food at deep discounts from larger food banks.
If you’ve already spent your hay pennies for the year, may I suggest using a service like smile.amazon.com – Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to a charity YOU select. Give while you shop! Survey Monkey donates $0.50 a pop to your favorite charity in exchange for some minor brain-picking. It all adds up!
Here are my local favorites…
The BIRC – Brain Injury Resource Center of Wisconsin – a lifeline for veterans and all who suffer from the vast and largely invisible effects of traumatic brain injury. Founded by a family who experienced the need for education and resources firsthand. They have a totally cool gift shop in downtown Waukesha featuring handmade items… for the holidays, maybe…?
Historic Milwaukee, Inc. – The mother of community cultural awareness. Offers awesome neighborhood and behind-the-scenes tours of some of the city’s treasures including my all-time favorite annual event, Doors Open Milwaukee.
Sophia’s Promise – an actual Mom & Pop operation supporting families new to Type 1 Diabetes. They are amazing, strong people, absolutely dedicated to making diabetes suck less and eventually disappear. Sophia has met with lawmakers in Washington as a JDRF Youth Ambassador, and will probably rule the world someday.
Wherever you decide to spend your dollars, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year!!
One more picture…