I’m taking a break from the gift guides for a bit, to shift the focus from commerce to kindness. After the initial holiday shopping rush comes #GivingTuesday. While it’s a shame that this day of Giving comes after the shopping days and not before, you and I know that giving is truly something you can do all year round. Here are just a few ways to help out this holiday season (and every day…)
ICT SOS is a Wichita-based human trafficking organization. They act as a liaison between specific local professional organizations who work with trafficked youth and the Wichita volunteers who seek to find solutions! By connecting local agencies with volunteers and resources, ICT SOS helps facilitate their missions of fighting sex trafficking. Help out by becoming a volunteer or at events like their upcoming gift wrapping party, where participants will wrap gifts donated for the youth served by their service partners.
The Union Rescue Mission is the largest emergency shelter and life-change center for men in the state of Kansas. The Mission’s 28,000-square foot facility in Wichita provides overnight housing and meals for homeless men and hosts a 12-month addiction recovery program. They also distribute food, diapers and infant formula to families and single mothers in need. Donate cash, much needed items, or check out their numerous opportunities for volunteering your time and talents.
Ronald McDonald House Charities are such a comfort and help to so many families; when parents have to travel to receive specialized medical treatment for their seriously ill or injured children, Ronald McDonald Houses are a home away from home. They provide rooms, meals, and support in a scary and stressful time. Even dropping your spare change into one of their collection boxes can be a huge help, but you can visit their website for more info on contributing.
Christian Aid & Relief is an organization that provides disaster relief and humanitarian aid to people around the world who have been devastated by natural disasters and other tragedies. They also drill wells so that people have access to clean water, in addition to helping individuals with catastrophic medical and personal needs. You can donate here.
You can help someone stay warm by donating new (or sometimes gently used) coats, hats, mittens, etc. There are lots of places where you can drop off these items, including all Wichita YMCAs, Wichita or Sedgwick County Fire Departments, or places like Inter-Faith Ministries. (Before bringing your items, please be sure to check what each place is accepting; depending on the organization, some will only take new items, some only coats, etc.)
A few other places to check in with are Open Door, a food pantry and shelter and The Lord’s Diner, where volunteers can serve hot meals to those in hunger. Both of these places have a need for volunteers and monetary gifts.