One of the best things you can do this holiday season (or any time of the year, especially this year) is to help those in need.
There are thousands of worthy organisations worldwide that are helping those affected by Covid-19 or that are continuing their regular work because hunger, poverty, violence, and so on didn’t go away just because the pandemic came to the forefront of our attention.
Whatever non-profit or charity you choose to support, if your personal situation allows it, will be endlessly grateful for your donations, your time, or anything else you can give.
If you have a bit more to spare and are looking for other incredible organisations to support, here are some that I am giving to this year.
World Central Kitchen
World Central Kitchen has, in my opinion, been the standout hero organisation of 2020. Founded by chef and restaurateur José Andrés, WCK has spent the year partnering with restaurants to provide food for those in need (while also helping many local businesses survive), handing out snacks to those waiting in long lines to vote, and cooking meals for workers on the front lines of healthcare, firefighting, and hurricane relief.
They’ve also offered international aid after the explosion in Lebanon and during the bushfires in Australia.
If you donate to one organisation on my list this holiday season, please make it this one.
One in eight people in the United States face hunger and food shortage issues, and the numbers are even higher in Philadelphia. Philabundance is a fantastic organisation working to change that in the Philadelphia area with assistance to food banks and food rescue programs.
Also, last month, a virtual race inspired by the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Conference (fittingly and punnishly called the ‘Fraud Street Run’) raised over $50,000 for Philabundance. A great cause and another chance to dunk on Rudy Giuliani? What could be better?
A few years ago when I was doing my Masters in Literature & Publishing at NUIG we had to choose a charity to which we would donate the proceeds of our literary journal. We settled on COPE Galway, a local organisation assisting those who are experiencing homelessness and/or domestic abuse. They also have services for other vulnerable members of the community such as seniors.
You can donate directly or, if you’d like to receive something excellent in return, you can pre-order this year’s MALP course journal, ROPES, at their website.
Villa Kitty Foundation and Cats of Gili
When I was in Southeast Asia earlier this year I swore I wasn’t going to pet any stray animals, not wanting to end up in a hospital being treated for rabies. That lasted about four days until I couldn’t resist and began petting every cat in sight.
While we were in Indonesia I also visited two rescue organisations, Villa Kitty Foundation and Cats of Gili, which both work to feed, sterilise, and take care of the medical needs of the many stray cats on their respective islands.
Bali and the Gilis rely heavily on tourism, which of course was decimated by Covid-19, so these organations could definitely use some extra support to do their work.
Elephant Nature Park
I’ve written before about my experience visiting Elephant Nature Park, an organisation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that takes care of elephants rescued from logging companies or circus shows.
They also look after hundreds of stray cats and dogs and work with other local international rescues to help them find homes in Asia and abroad.
Like Bali, Thailand relies a lot on tourism, and Elephant Nature Park gets most of its funds from tourist visits to the park. Without tourism, they are struggling, but still working hard to make a better future for the elephants and other animals in their care.