Holiday Donations!

So, a lot of people need your dollars this year.  The federal government isn’t doing its job.  One thing that you can do even if you don’t have money to donate is call your senators and tell them to stop letting Mitch McConnell take Covid relief hostage to allowing firms to put their workers in danger without fear of lawsuit.  Because that’s what is happening– Mitch McConnell won’t even allow a relief bill to go to the floor unless companies are legally allowed to be negligent.  And if that gets passed, there will be a race to the bottom because only negligent companies will be able to compete.  People need relief and they need workplace safety.   We cannot have a bill that forces negligence on companies.

So, with that in mind, if you have dollars, people need them.  I think the best place for those dollars this year is anything that provides children with basic necessities.  So– donate to a foodbank, either your local bank or a state spinoff of Feeding America, or Feeding America itself.  Kids need food most of all.  Money is the best gift because they can use it to buy in bulk, but your unexpired cans, dry goods, diapers, toiletries, etc. are also useful.

A lot of people are having more troubles with anxiety, family problems from too much proximity, and so on.  There are a number of different crisis hotlines you can donate to.  The suicide prevention hotline, the crisis text line, and for LGBTQ folks, the Trevor project.  For victims of abuse, there’s the domestic abuse hotline, but you may want to look up a women’s shelter near you to donate to, either cash or in-kind.

If there is a non-profit for refugees near you, check out their webpage.  I bought some things off an amazon list for the one in our nearest city.

As state and local budgets get cut, you may want to donate to libraries.  I donated to the state library that’s letting me get free e-books, though I do that every year.  They have a lot of programs for kids in the city in which they are located, which has been having spotty schooling, and I want them to be able to keep that up.

If you’re on twitter, a lot of folks have been spreading the word about smaller projects– when they look legit and the donation is in-kind (like, on their list are things that probably don’t have a ton of resale value but are things that people need), I will often buy something off the amazon list of one of these projects.  It’s not that I don’t believe people with gofundmes are deserving, it’s that I don’t know if the person running the gofundme is actually legitimate or a scammer.  So I bought some reasonably priced kitchenware off one of these lists.

Here are some charitable donations pages from previous years.

Grumpy Nation, what charities would you like to highlight? Post in the comments below!

22 Responses to “Holiday Donations!”

  1. Steph Says:

    I set up a recurring donation to my local food bank, and I also donated to the food pantry on my campus. I don’t love the extent to which faculty are encouraged to donate to this food panty BUT it is partially subsidized by the college, and I appreciate that the program is there for students who need it (there was no comparable program for students at my undergrad, and no stores within walking distance either). The pantry is open through the school year but is focused on breaks – about 5% of our students are staying on campus over the break, and they need food and hygiene supplies. I’d encourage folks to check for a similar program at their local campus(es) – I’d love if there was more community support for ours, instead of relying so heavily on faculty.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our university set up a bigger more general program when Covid started and a lot of our students started losing their jobs. It also provides temporary support with small cash gifts (and possibly loans, I’m not sure– we already had a small loans program for people with financial aid delays though so probably not). It’s been added to the student alumni fundraising committee’s purview according to the emails I get, so not just faculty! (I gave last Spring but should probably give again!)

      • Steph Says:

        That sounds like a great program! IDK how much this particular program is advertised to alums (I assume it is to at least some degree), but it’s in our faculty announcement emails at least 1-2x a week. Despite the fact that they cut faculty pay…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:


        Fortunately we haven’t had our pay cut yet, though we are in a no raise situation.

      • L. Says:

        I would be annoyed if we got frequent requests to donate, but our campus food pantry doesn’t put much pressure on us. When we get the annual “please donate to your employer” email, I sometimes donate to the food pantry either with cash or by getting something off their online wish list. I don’t mind giving to support students who are in need, but I really don’t believe in donating to my employer.

  2. Miser Mom Says:

    Our local paper today described how donations to charity are generally up, but costs and requests are up even more. For example, Meals on Wheels has to pay a lot more drivers instead of relying on volunteers, etc, while the people requesting food help is up 77%. So there’s a lot of struggling happening.

    So, yeah, I’m generally really bad at buying X-mas gifts that most people would think of as normal X-mas gifts, and this year I’m totally using the pandemic as an excuse for not buying more garbage. My family members are getting bars of soap that a friend of mine made (really, really nice soap, at least?) and a donation to a food pantry or other charity.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Soap is a great gift these days! I way overbought small hand sanitizers once they came in stock regularly, so I started using it as prizes in class. (At the change of the season, the fall scents were too tempting, so I gave away a lot of the stronger summer scents so make room.)

  3. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I was just summarizing our list for a future post too! I definitely am also focused on food and water much more this year given how need has sharply spiked. The food bank that serves our region is now looking at serving half a million people. -__- it’s so bad out there and people need to eat. But we also gave to several food banks and organizations across the country because it’s not just our region that’s suffering.

    I’d recommend also looking at the Navajo Water Project and The Human Utility which addresses two kinds of water needs, if you were so inclined.

  4. Leah Says:

    I’ve donated quite a bit to our local nature center. I’ve also given several donations to our local gymnastics gym; our kids love it, and it’s been hard hit by all the closures. They don’t charge a lot so that people can access their classes, but it also means they don’t have a lot of cushion when they can’t hold classes. I know my husband donated to our local foodbank as part of a work competition. We also donated to the local domestic violence shelter (both us and by doing a “virtual” 5k fundraiser our school put on to sponsor families from there for Christmas — I say “virtual” because about 30 people who are still on campus masked up and ran at the same time, tho spread out). I’ve also donated to our zoo, including donating all the money I had spent on signing our kids up for summer camp. Summer camp sign ups happen in February, so before we knew the extent of everything.

    There is a lot to support, I know. For us, we’ve sat down and thought through our values and where we want to spend money. I worry that nature stuff will get left by the wayside due to enormous human needs, and we really love our time outside, so that’s where most of our money has gone.

  5. Candi Says:

    I’m also giving to our local no-kill cat shelter. I support the shelter anyway cause I love the kitties, but it’s especially needed this year as donations are down but the stray and hurt cats don’t stop. Adoptions are up though, so that’s a plus

  6. Debbie M Says:

    I love all y’all’s ideas (and sticking two apostrophes in a single word!). But this year, I just continued my usual donations, splitting up 10% of my take-home pay between issues I’d previously decided were most important to me (because they still seem super important):
    * Environment – Rainforest Foundation, Inc.
    * Poverty – GiveDirectly, Inc.
    * Pain/abuse/torture – RAICES, Incorporated
    * Environment/Poverty/Rights – Planned Parenthood Global, Inc.

    Then I made a few much smaller, more self-centered donations, also as usual:
    * local public radio
    * local public TV
    * local wildflower center
    * wikimedia (wikipedia)

    And I sent some of my pandemic relief check to more pandemic-specific causes:
    * National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control
    * a semi-local food bank recommended by a friend
    * an under-employed friend

    I’ve also recently started sending monthly donations (just $3) to a politician I like (AOC) so she doesn’t have to beg rich people for money. She’s the one who educated me on this issue. (I can’t stand my current senators or reps, so I’m not funding them.)

    My only in-kind donations have been donating blood. Well, occasionally I’ll bring something I don’t want to a Little Free Pantry one of my neighbors created.

    None of us can donate to all the important issues, but when lots of people choose a few of their favorites, all kinds of causes get supported. Thank you all for your help (and helping me feel less guilty about what I’m not doing)!

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Here’s an email from indivisible

    CW: COVID-19 references and mentions of deaths.


    Hi, my name is Elice and I work on our digital campaigns at Indivisible. I’m usually the person behind the words — you’ve likely read my emails or texts before. But this is the first time here that I’m writing to you directly, and there’s a very specific reason I’m doing so.

    A few days ago, someone I’m close to was diagnosed with COVID-19. I went through all the emotions: distress, fear, concern, and landed somewhere around anger. And even more so, I felt extreme guilt. Guilt for not having done enough to protect my loved ones from COVID-19, guilt for not being close enough to help provide care, and guilt for not even being able to financially support them in the way that I wish I could.

    At this point in my life, nine months into this pandemic, I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been touched by this illness. I saw a horrifying statistic that here in D.C., the place that I call home, 1 in every 1000 residents have died as a result of COVID-19. We’ve lost colleagues, friends, family, neighbors, and countless more lives in just under a year. It’s horrifying. Enraging.

    And guess what people in Congress like Mitch McConnell are up to: nothing.
    N-O-T-H-I-N-G. People are dying and falling irreparably ill all around us, and the Republicans with control of the Senate (I won’t even mention what’s left of the Trump administration) could care less. They complain about face masks. They attend large gatherings. For what? To prove the liberals wrong? Honestly, I could not tell you the logic. If anyone should feel guilty over the pandemic, it’s them. But that’s not why I’m writing to you today.
    Here’s where we are

    Congress has passed a 1-week continuing resolution to allow more time to reach a compromise on COVID-19 relief before the holidays. But let me tell you — I don’t want a compromise. I want justice. So I’m writing today to ask you to call your member of Congress today. Here’s what you can do:

    1. Don’t give your members of Congress (we call them “MoCs”) an easy pass on this. Let them hear your voices — we need COVID-19 relief, and we need it now. That means stimulus checks, expanded Unemployment Insurance, student loan relief, support for state and local governments, and more. Our voices are louder and stronger when we band together and we want our MoCs to hear us loud and clear right before they make their decisions and close out the year. Check out our resource here and then make the call to demand fair and just relief.
    2. Find ways to support your community. In the fear and despair that I’m feeling this holiday season because of this pandemic, I ask that you support your local community. Find a mutual aid network near you to contribute money, time, or resources, if you are willing and able to. We have a resource here that you can check out for more on local groups to support and how to find them. I know that I’m planning to help deliver groceries in the next few weeks with my local mutual aid network, and help out however I can. Join me from afar in your community.
    3. Support our work. And again, this is only if you are able to, pitch in a few bucks to support our work. The tools that we use to drive calls to Congress and send these emails, staff time, policy toolkits, and more — cost money. Because of your support, we’re able to take these calls-to-action and make them our priorities so we can put a big megaphone on them and hopefully change the hearts and minds of those on the other end of the line.

    When people like Mitch McConnell don’t have our backs, we’ve got each other. That’s what Indivisible is all about and that’s what we’ve had to do up until now to get by. But enough is enough — we need serious, impactful COVID-19 relief and we need it now. Join me today for our call-in day and this holiday season to give back.

    In solidarity,
    Elice Rojas-Cruz
    Indivisible Team

    P.S. I know that this ask is personal for many of you. If you’d like, record a video addressing your MoC about how COVID-19 has impacted you and your community, and what a relief bill would mean to you. Submit your video here.

  8. Omdg Says:

    I thought gofundme took 10% of your donation off the top. For a service that’s supposed to take out the middle man and administration, that seems kind of steep to me, kind of like an index fund charging a 4% service fee.

  9. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I’ve given to the food bank, domestic violence shelter, and library. Our library just closed for essentially no reason so I’m feeling a bit salty about further donations.

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