SALT LAKE CITY — December is often known as the most generous time of the year, and Utah tends to garner a particularly high rate of charitable giving.
When it comes to donating time and money, there are many options and opportunities in the Beehive State. To help you nagivate where you can best give your money, time and goods, we've created an open list of organizations and charities that benefit those in need.
The list is not all-inclusive, so feel free to share other ideas in the comments section below.
1. BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF UTAH — This program provides children ages 6-17 in Utah who are facing adversity with strong, professionally-supported one-on-one relationships that can impact their lives for the better, according to the program’s website. In the spirit of the holidays, the website's homepage also gives those who might not have the time to volunteer the chance to make a monetary donation to the organization's cause.
2. CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES OF UTAH — Catholic Community Services of Utah is accepting monetary donations, in-kind donations — in the form of furniture, clothing, household items or other tangible goods — and also encourages people to donate their time as mentors and tutors for refugee families to help them learn English and navigate life in Utah.
3. THE CHRISTMAS BOX INTERNATIONAL: PROJECT ELF — The Christmas Box International, named for Richard Paul Evans' best-selling book, serves "unique children and teens who were victims of abuse, neglect and homelessness," according to their website. Their holiday program, Project Elf, is currently accepting monetary donations and unwrapped gifts for those in need.
For Salt Lake, Utah Valley, Moab and St. George counties:
Email: Sherri Engar at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Weber, Davis and Cache counties:
Email: Kim Nay at email@example.com
4. GRANITE EDUCATION FOUNDATION SANTA SACKS — The Granite Education Foundation is looking for both monetary donations and gifts, which include "clothing, hats, blankets, hygiene kits, books, toys and gift cards for the older students," according to their website, for the area's lowest income families. All items must be new. They are also looking for volunteers willing to help with delivery and gift assembly.
5. GRANITE EDUCATION FOUNDATION FOOD KITS — If you're looking for a service project for your family or community, consider assembling a food kit. The Granite School Education Foundation is accepting a variety of food kits to help stock food pantries throughout the Granite School District. Donated items will go toward a child's family, food insecure students and families who are new to America. Food kits can be delivered to the Granite School District at 2500 S. State near the northwest entrance by the flagpole from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Email: JeAnna Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: SALT LAKE VALLEY — Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity is collecting donations of money, stock, land and cars to help build affordable homes for families in need. Monetary donations can be submitted online or by mail. You can also donate or buy furniture through Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Salt Lake City, the proceeds of which go toward helping to eliminate poverty housing within the community. Various volunteer opportunities are also available by submitting a volunteer waiver via mail, email or fax; no construction skills necessary.
7. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: UTAH COUNTY — Habitat for Humanity of Utah County’s ReStores are collecting donations of appliances and home construction items to help build safe and affordable homes for families in need. Visit the organization’s website to see a list of accepted donation items and locations. You can also donate aluminum cans, scrap metal, vehicles and land/real estate. Monetary donations are accepted online, by mail or in person via check. Several other donation and volunteer opportunities are listed online.
8. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: WEBER AND DAVIS COUNTIES — Habitat for Humanity Weber and Davis counties is accepting land donations and collecting house building items to sell to help construct homes for deserving families. A list of accepted donations and drop-off locations is listed on the Ogden ReStore website. Monetary donations are also accepted via PayPal or mail. Instructions to donate a portion of your online Amazon purchases to Habitat for Humanity are also available online.
Email: Neyla Hadfield at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
9. INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE — The International Rescue Committee “delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster,” according to its website. Through the website, people can offer “rescue gifts” — monetary donations that are contributed to specific causes, including a year of school, healthy pregnancies, clean water and women’s small business training to name a few. Rescue.org also gives people the option to make a general one-time or monthly donation.
10. LIFTING HANDS INTERNATIONAL — The Utah program Lifting Hands International collects humanitarian aid for refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, which currently houses roughly four million refugees between the two countries, according to their website. Those wishing to help can donate items ranging from clothes and blankets to hygiene and first-aid kits. Those wishing to donate also have the options of purchasing items from an Amazon wishlist and buying items from a bulk items list.
11. THE ROAD HOME — The Road Home is accepting a number of different donations this holiday season, including items for men's and women's holiday gift bags, gift cards, monetary donations and items for their yearly Candy Cane Corner store, which allows participants to get gifts for their loved ones. They are looking for new toys, clothing and household items to stock the store, as well as volunteers who are interested in sorting and wrapping gifts.
12. RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES: SALT LAKE CITY — The Ronald McDonald House houses families during what is often some of the hardest times in their lives, as loved ones are hospital bound and families are far from home. Their website states that they have received plenty of gifts this year for children but need gifts for teens and adults. They request "all gifts be new, unused and in original packaging." They are also accepting volunteer groups to help decorate guest space and help make the holidays more joyful by leading activities.
13. THE SALVATION ARMY — The Salvation Army is collecting donations of clothing, furniture, automobiles, household goods and appliances. You can find drop-off locations or schedule free pickup on the organization’s website. Donated goods are then sold at The Salvation Army’s Family Stores, and the proceeds fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers to help those recovering from addiction. You can also make monetary donations online or donate airline miles. Volunteer opportunities are coordinated locally.
Phone: 800-SA-TRUCK (800-728-7825)
14. STARTUP SANTA — Startup Santa wants your books — or more specifically, your books donated through your company. They're keeping a running tally of how many books local companies have donated (if your company isn't listed you can add it), and will show a winner at the end of the drive. All book donations should be delivered to any United Way location and must be in by Dec. 15, 2017.
15. UNITED WAY OF NORTHERN UTAH — New this year, the United Way of Northern Utah has partnered with Enable Utah and YCC Family Crisis Center to "provide warm coats and clothing to individuals in need of help during the cold Utah winter," according to their website.
16. UNITED WAY OF SALT LAKE — United Way of Salt Lake is accepting both monetary and in-kind donations and has a number of volunteer opportunities this holiday season. They are offering five different group volunteer events and have partnered with Sub for Santa to help local schools and families who are in need.
17. UNITED WAY OF UTAH COUNTY — According to United Way of Utah County's website, the organization has partnered with Sub for Santa for over 35 years, last year helping 5,100 local children receive Christmas gifts. They are accepting money, new gifts — especially new books and teen gift items — and time from those willing to sort, pick up and deliver gifts. In addition, they are accepting sponsorship for families, individuals and those they call "Golden Angels," "an elderly adult or an adult with a disability who does not have any support."
18. USERVEUTAH — UServeUtah is dedicated to helping you serve all year 'round and not just during the holiday season. During their Holiday Service Pledge Drive, individuals can sign up to volunteer throughout the community all year long.
19. UTAH FOOD BANK — Give the gift of time, money or food and assist the Utah Food Bank in their fight against hunger with their holiday food and fund drive. Volunteer opportunities are available but fill up fast and must be scheduled in advance. Visit the Utah Food Bank website for a complete list of food pantry locations throughout the state. Other donation options include vehicles, donor-advised funds and stocks.
20. UTAH HUMANE SOCIETY — Give the gift of companionship this holiday season with an adoption from the Utah Humane Society. And if you can't bring a dog or cat into your home at this time, the Humane Society will accept your monetary donations to help care for the animals they foster.
21. WHEELS FOR WISHES — With a commitment to helping local children's hospitals, Wheels for Wishes' website states that they have donated more than $30 million to local charities and hospitals since their founding in 2010. If you have an old car you'd like to donate, they will happily help you through the process of giving it to them.