Tis the season! And here’s a reminder… #charitable holiday gifts

dreamstime_xs_17639348There are several ways to get into the Christmas spirit without contributing to consumerism. I’d love  to hear your ideas, but   here are mine — mostly local orgs, but obviously you can apply these suggestions to your own location.

I have to admit this policy stops with the youngsters, Gunnar, 5 years, and Kaia , 2 years.


Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 3.42.57 PMBut if you have no young children to shower with gifts, Toys4Tots, which was founded in 1947 and is sponsored by the US Marine Corp Reserve, is a wonderful organization: http://toysfortots.org

Toys for Tots also landed on the Forbes top ten Gold Star charities list: http://www.forbes.com/maserati/246.htmlAnd here’s the full list of 200 largest charities and their biggest-bang-for-the-buck ratings : http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/14/200-largest-us-charities-11_rank.html.

But if you don’t want to use one of the biggest charities, and you favor helping people to help themselves…

For example, some of my family donate representing our surname in lieu of presents for the family.

Heifer: Forbes’ Gold Star List.


For example, some of my family donate representing our surname in lieu of presents for the family. My brother contributes to the Heifer Organization, which donates animals that can help provide revenue for families, such as goats, chickens, or cows. http://www.heifer.org.  


If you’d like to provide a small loan for someone to start his/her own business, Kiva will help: http://www.kiva.org

If education is your cause:

Personal fave: tutoring for the EPA Read Literacy Program

Personal fave: tutoring for the EPA Read Literacy Program


Khan Academy has an online math program and they also have a beta program for schools; it allows students to learn at their own pace when solving math problems, move on to the next, more complicated problem: http://www.khanacademy.org

You could tutor for the East Palo Alto READ, a literacy organization, a branch of the San Mateo program: https://www.facebook.com/pages/East-Palo-Alto-Branch-of-San-Mateo-County-READ-Literacy-Program.

And in my book, KQED public television and radio is practically a necessity: http://www.kqed.org

If you would like to help hungry folks:

I’m partial to Second Harvest Food Bank because I like to support local causes and I don’t want to think of anyone being hungry, especially during the holidays. And it can be really easy; they sometimes stand outside grocery stores, so you can buy the suggested food item(s) and drop them off in the bin right outside the store. 

If you feel the same about hunger, here’s overall view of all of the San Francisco Bay Area organizations that help to limit hunger: 


Or choose your local food bank from the list below:
The link will take you directly to your local food bank’s secure donation page.
To find your food bank on a map, click here.

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

Napa Valley Food Bank

Redwood Empire Food Bank

San Francisco and Marin Food Banks

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County

Community Food Bank of San Benito County

Or if you prefer to contribute to a different kind of worthy cause, consider the American for the Arts Action Fund whose website is: http://www.artsactionfund.org/

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


Or help save our national parks: http://www.nationalparks.org

I hope this post inspires you to donate now. Wouldn’t you like to share some of your ideas?

Thanks for reading… K. T.


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