The Best Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

Photographed by Nicole Maroon.
This year has been called many things, and few are very positive. Across the United States, communities are suffering from lack of access to medical care, lack of food, lost job wages, and more thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — as well as our country's systemic racism and other structural inequities. This year has also been one in which America has had to confront its ongoing epidemic of police brutality, something that has been plaguing our country since its founding.
But as difficult as it can be to contemplate the persistent poverty, discrimination, and human rights violations all around us, it is also important to do so, and gives us all the opportunity to figure out how we can best help ameliorate and end these injustices. One way to do just that is by participating in Giving Tuesday; this year it falls on December 1, the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) and it has become an annual day of donations and charity opportunities in the U.S.
This year, instead of simply getting gifts for your loved ones, you can also donate, provide aid, and help support charities who are directly helping some of the most important causes across the country. Check out the following organizations and funds to find some of the best places to give back this holiday season.

COVID-19 relief funds 

Many COVID-19 relief funds are still in need donations right now, but two of the biggest populations at risk and on the frontlines are restaurant workers and migrant farm workers. The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation is operated by restaurant workers and distributes funds directly to individual restaurant workers as well as to keep restaurants up and running. You can also donate to WeCount!, which established the first COVID-19 rapid response fund for undocumented and immigrant workers in South Florida. They’ve given nearly $200,000 in direct financial payments to hundreds of families since the beginning of the pandemic, and have provided medical support, food access, and housing for undocumented people.

Hurricane relief funds

Louisiana has been hit by multiple storms this year that have left devastation in their wake. You can help donate to relief efforts like All Hands and Hearts to help people recover from the damage. You can also donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to help people in Texas recovering from the disaster this year.

The Trans Disaster Relief Fund

If you’re specifically interested in helping LGBTQ+ people in need of disaster relief, you can donate to The Trans Disaster Relief Fund, created by the Transgender Foundation of America. This fund helps transgender and nonbinary people recover from catastrophic events, including natural disasters and diseases like COVID-19. 

Fair Fight

Stacey Abrams’ organization Fair Fight is not only helping to fight voter suppression, but to get out the vote ahead of the Georgia Senate runoffs this January. The runoff election is crucial to win to secure a Democratic majority in the Senate. When you donate to Fair Fight, you’re chipping in to be a part of the movement to ensure free and fair elections in places like Georgia and Texas, and directly helping organizers on the ground to support and protect voters.

Initiatives helping incarcerated people 

Incarcerated people in jails and prisons have faced the most devastating health disparities during the pandemic and have continued to be some of the most vulnerable to the disease. Restore Justice is among the organizations looking to help incarcerated people right now and is accepting donations to purchase N95 masks for people behind bars. In addition, Black and Pink, a prison justice organization advocating for LGBTQ+ incarcerated people, is providing funding to incarcerated queer and transgender people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Donations go toward hygienic supplies, food, medical supplies, and phone and video calls with loved ones. 

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Domestic violence, sexual violence, and abuse rates have skyrocketed because of the pandemic, but organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline are working to provide support to survivors. This is the only national, full-service hotline that answers calls 24/7 for survivors and people concerned about them. By donating, you’re helping to fund hope and support for survivors looking for help with abuse. 

No Kid Hungry

Food insecurity has been one of the most difficult issues people have faced in 2020. Many kids have not been able to go back to school in person — which is sometimes the only place they have reliable access to nutrition. By donating to No Kid Hungry, your money will help advocate for better SNAP benefits, and put food on the table for kids in need during the pandemic.

National Bail Fund Network

After a summer of non-stop protests against racism, police violence, and the police shootings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more, the actions haven’t stopped. Though they’ve slowed down in some parts of the country, many protests are still going on and many people still need help paying bail. You can donate to the National Bail Fund Network or a local bail fund in the directory, to help the people who have continued to show up to demand justice.

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