What Five Local Charities Need, Right Now

Last week I mentioned that my favorite part of Thanksgiving this year wasn’t the eating or the eating– it was participating in the 40th Annual Trot for Hunger, benefiting So Others Might Eat. I know many of you feel the same way about trying to do good, especially around the holidays, so I thought it might be useful to compile a list of what five great local charities need, right now:

1) Sasha Bruce Youthworks. Addressing D.C.’s budget shortfall meant painful cuts which disproportionately hurt “safety net” organizations like this one, which works to help runaway, homeless and at-risk youth and their families. Sasha Bruce Youthworks was one of the first organizations that President Obama visited (and volunteered at!) after his inauguration. Jim Beck, Director of Development, said:

During the holiday season, the types of things we need are warm winter clothes: lightly used winter jackets, hats, socks and underwear of all sizes for young people. We also need gifts or toys for toddlers through teenagers. We are trying to have nice holiday parties for the kids in our care, who are not with their families.

Need more information? Call 202-675-9340.

2) Miriam’s Kitchen tweeted this wishlist, yesterday:

ON OUR WISH LIST: Sleeping bags, winter boots, coats, gloves, and socks. It's very cold outside for our guests, thank you for your help!
Miriam's Kitchen

If you have questions about donating clothing, call (202) 452-8926 or check out their site.

3) Bright Beginnings is a “nationally-accredited child and family development center” which helps homeless families with children. Right now, they need two things, according to Joan Woods, Director of Development and Communication:

Grocery store gift cards or Metro cards in 20 or 25 dollar increments. Recent metro fare increases have hit homeless families especially hard, and we try to help these families get their kids to school. We can give a grocery gift card to a family in crisis, so they can buy medicine, formula, diapers, whatever they need.

If you’re looking for places to donate money (vs. in-kind gifts), try these two:

4) The API Domestic Violence Research Project is looking for $100 to start a Zipcar membership, to help them better serve more clients in the D.C. area. If you can’t swing that, just $25 covers the cost of training materials for one Community Outreach volunteer. More, from a Board Member:

DVRP is a small organization that has provided services to thousands of Asian Pacific Islander survivors of domestic violence since 1996. With the increase of calls and requests for working with one of our trained bi/multi-lingual advocates, and the reduction of gov’t money, a donation will literally go the extra mile this holiday season.

Donate here.

5) The Tahirih Justice Center. Chuck Bean of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, put this amazing organization on my radar (and told me about Bright Beginnings and Sasha Bruce Youthworks, too!). Tahirih protects immigrant women and girls from gender-based violence:

Tahirih is a very successful, award-winning non-profit. Their grant was cut recently so they’re left filling a hole that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars deep. They are able to leverage pro-bono lawyers to help, but they need base support…and less funding means less woman they can advocate for.

To give to Tahirih, go here. Are there any local groups or non-profits you work with or give to? Let us know in the comments.

  • Sam T.

    There are several giving circles that have sprung up in and around DC that have their members pool contributions and decide ‘grants’ to groups. Some are distributing $5000 to $25000 a year!
    A great idea because there is more scrutiny of who doing good work, is better managed, is starting out, expanding, under the radar and could most benefit by extra or seed funding. Fun and a good education. Readers might think of starting their own giving circles in 2011. One suggestion: look at groups producing real reforms, social change, and not just services delivered. Take some risks, invest in worthwhile and promising organizations or projects.

  • Cher333

    This is a great idea, and might be a good way to replace my now-defunct book club (who has time to read novels?) Can you suggest someone to talk to or a good article on how to get started?