I believe strongly in serving others. I've been on the receiving end before, and I feel it is incumbent on me to continually pay it forward in whatever way I can. We are blessed when we serve, and as my sister pointed out
"I'm poor, so I can't afford not to serve!"
So today I'm sharing information about a few groups that I think are worth supporting:
A lot of folks help in soup kitchens, give to toy drives, or donate to angel trees. Those are all great ways to serve! Remember that if you don't have money, you can still give goods or time!
Give to your church charities
Many churches have programs for giving to the needy. If you don't have one already, I recommend checking out my church's humanitarian projects here. We have a lay ministry and lay missionaries who do the work, so everything goes to the needy. My grandparents worked as volunteer missionaries in the humanitarian services distribution center for 18 months, and have some awesome stories to tell; My parents-in-law are currently in China working with a wheelchair distribution program.
This group gives farm animals (chickens, sheep, cows, llamas, goats, rabbits, and even water buffalo!) to people in need all over the world, to help them afford to support themselves. You can donate as little as $20 for a dozen chicks, ducks, or geese, all the way up to $5000 for a "Gift Arc" of 15 animal pairs. You can get some fun combinations such as the "Knitting Basket" (two sheep and two llamas) or a bundle of tree saplings. The full list of donation packages is here.
I've already mentioned them once this year, but I just had to again. I love that this is 100% volunteer--there is no overhead, everything goes to the families in need. There is even a cool raffle you can enter for $1/ticket. Give to those in need, and maybe win some presents for yourself! (New things have been added since I last mentioned it, so even if you looked then, you might want to look again.)
If you have other great charities you like to support, I would love to hear about them!