Caught in the Web

 'Tis the Season to GIVE


by Laura Emery, Field Editor 

If thereís a best season for charity, itís probably the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Itís the time when we give gifts, cherish family, reconnect with old friends and feel the urge to spread good cheer by giving to charities. Our spirit of giving soars during the holidays.

How do you choose a charity? The first step is to know what organizations are out there, and thatís where the World Wide Web can help. We canít list every charitable website, but here are some ideas for charitable giving during this holiday season.


Trees for Troops, a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, provides real Christmas trees to armed forces members and their families in the U.S. and stationed overseas. Since 2005, more than 103,000 real Christmas trees have been provided to troops and military families in the United States and overseas through Trees for Troops. Thousands of trees have been donated by growers and the public, and FedEx has provided the in-kind service of shipping these trees to more than 60 military bases while logging more than 352,011 miles.


This websiteís tagline says it all: ďYou search. We give.Ē GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. Itís a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. The money GoodSearch donates to your charitable cause comes from its advertisers ó the users and the organizations do not spend a dime.


Right now, an estimated 1.7 million children have a parent in prison. The number is huge Ė but so is the opportunity to help these children. According to the organizationís website, ďAngel Tree is a ministry that reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. This unique program gives your church an opportunity to share Christís love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.Ē There are children right in your community who are among the most at-risk children in the nation. Angel Tree provides an opportunity to connect with those families and begin ministering to them at Christmas and then continue through a variety of year-round ministry opportunities.


Donate a new toy or give a donation to help make Christmas a little brighter for a needy child in your community. The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. 


This is a unique project of Samaritanís Purse that enables caring people to share love with hurting girls and boys in the far corners of the globe. Take an ordinary shoebox, fill it with toys and other presents, and you have an extraordinary gift for a child in need of joy and hope. 


Salvation Army fundraising campaigns are conducted on local and regional bases. There is no fund≠raising at the national level. The organization gets its funds through traditional Christmas kettle campaigns, direct-mail programs, corporate and foundation gifts, planned giving, and government contracts. The Red Kettles and bell ringers are perhaps the most visible community-wide Salvation Army icons. During the holidays, the nickels, dimes and dollars put into the kettles provide needy families with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, gifts for children, coats and shoes for needy kids, and visitation to the elderly and imprisoned who have no one to care for them.


Make this holiday season special by helping make a childís dream come true. Make-a-Wishís unique holiday donation options will help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been enriching the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundationís mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.


With the United Way, a little goes a long way. It is a coalition of charitable organizations that has traditionally pooled efforts in fundraising.


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