If you know us, then you know giving back is an integral part of our identity — we even put it in our tagline. To us, it’s not just a buzz phrase. It’s a way of approaching life. We know we are fortunate, and we want to help those who aren’t as lucky.
The holiday season is an especially important time to put this into practice. Every child deserves an amazing holiday, no matter what they celebrate — and we want every veteran to see how appreciated they are, every adult in need to know they have a place to go.
Everyone has their favorite charity, but we also wanted to highlight a few you may not have heard of to check out this year.
1. USPS Operation Santa®
Kids’ letters to the North Pole should never go unanswered! That’s the premise behind this postal service-sponsored program that invites people to “help” Santa get the gifts kids wish for. Read over real kids’ letters (they’re priceless!) and find the one(s) you want to assist, then buy the gifts and ship them at the post office. It takes just a few minutes to deliver huge smiles.
Learn more: https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com
2. AniMeals of PA
This nonprofit provides free food to companion animals belonging to low-income senior citizens. The organization delivers up to 300 pounds of supplies each month. Get in touch to see what its current needs are.
Learn more: https://animealsofpa.com
3. Annie E. Sterline Library
This independent library in Lewisberry doesn’t receive support from the state or any township. It relies on donations and volunteers to provide badly needed books and other resources to the community. You can donate time or money to help out.
4. Capital Region Literacy Council
While we’re on the books theme, consider donating to the CRLC, which provides free books to more than 120 low-income-area schools across southcentral PA.
5. Center for Independent Living of Central PA
The CILCP offers advocacy and programming services for adults with disabilities. Its mission is to ensure people with disabilities receive every opportunity to choose and participate in all aspects of society. The center is looking for donations to buy computers and iPads.
Learn more: https://cilcp.org
6. Central PA Operation Warm Hearts
This organization gives scarves, blankets and hats, most of them homemade and hand-knitted, as well as socks to the homeless people who live in the area. They need Ziploc bags and packing tape, and they’re also raising money to purchase new socks.
Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/OperationWH
7. Homefront Hugs Foundation
Founded by the wife of a former Air Force pilot from Pittsburgh, this organization offers unconditional support for troops serving abroad and veterans who have returned home, as well as their families. They have a great page that details what you should and shouldn’t send in care packages to troops overseas. Get in touch to discover their needs for the holidays.
Learn more: https://www.homefronthugs.org
8. Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club
Do you love the outdoors? Do you and your family go on regular hikes in the Central PA area? Then you may want to support the CVATC, which maintains and manages the 17 miles of Appalachian Trail in the area. They’re currently looking for donations of hedge and string trimmers or money toward those tools.
Learn more: https://www.cvatclub.org
9. Open Word Ministries
This Camp Hill-based organization helps cover books, tuition and uniforms for children going to school in Kenya, and it also sponsors free eye exams for the kids and their neighbors, including getting them free glasses.
Learn more: http://www.openwordministries.net
10. Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg
Every kid deserves a bike, and the volunteers at Recycle Bicycle rehab and recycle old bikes and pass them on to kids who can’t afford them or have special needs. Through the end of the year, the organization is running a fund-match campaign that doubles the value of your contribution.
Learn more: http://recyclebicycleharrisburg.org
You can also check out some of our favorite area charities from last year’s holiday post, “Give Back During the Holidays and All Year Long With These 5 Places to Do Good in Central PA.”
Did we miss one you love? Let us know by posting on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear how you’re doing good this holiday season.