Sometimes we look at charitable giving as a lazy way to support a cause or organization. It’s all too easy to write a check, send a Venmo, or drop some change in that Salvation Army bucket — those actions don’t really involve a personal encounter with people who are poor or suffering. We give money when we can’t give something that’s really valuable to us: our time or energy or compassion.
But it doesn’t have to be that way if we’re thoughtful and intentional. In fact, if we consider the fact that the money we possess is ours because we earned it — we invested our time and effort and intelligence into it — then charitable giving can actually be a way to give of ourselves in a full sense.
That’s the challenge before us with this #GivingTuesday — what are the causes, issues, and organizations that we want to give the fruits of our labor to? Because that gift really does make a difference. Of course, nonprofits need our volunteer time and energy. But money is what keeps the lights on and pays for the expertise of social workers and puts soup on the table for those who are hungry.
Our #GrottoStories series have included many people and organizations making the world better, and we thought these stories would be a great place to start if you’re looking for a way to make an impact with your giving. Here are some organizations that would welcome your support.
Misericordia is a Chicago support center for those with developmental disabilities as well as their families. We told the story of Casey, who works in their Sweet Shoppe and enjoys dancing at the center. Give here.
Suzy DeYoung is a bona fide chef in Cincinnati, and witnessing the food waste in the restaurant and catering business gave her an idea: transform all of that waste into meals for the hungry. She founded La Soupe, and is now turning 20,000 pounds of food waste into 30,000 meals every single week. Give here.
Chicago’s Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership (CSPL) develops leaders in Catholic spirituality to take direct, grassroots action to change unjust racial, economic, social, and environmental structures. We followed them on a pilgrimage to El Paso to study the immigration crisis, and we also shared the story of a DACA recipient who helped mobilize voters even though she was not eligible to vote, herself. Give here.
Dany Williams has an amazing story: her mother died of a drug overdose on the streets, and she’s taking the concern and grief she feels for her mother and channeling it into service by offering free professional haircuts to those who are experiencing homelessness. Her Haircuts from the Heart salon is a service of Franciscan Ministries in Cincinnati — support them here.
Gary Short has been *literally* washing feet for 25 years. If you’re a person experiencing homelessness, your feet take a beating — you’re on them all day and might not have good footwear. Footcare for the Souls welcomes folks experiencing homelessness and cares for their feet. Support them here.
When Ashley Oplinger’s daughter, Bridget Faith, was stillborn, her grandmother quilted a special cradle that became an important way in which she was grieved. As a way to honor the gift of her daughter’s life, Ashely founded Bridget’s Cradles and is committed to gathering volunteers to serve other families who lose their children before they are born. Support them here.
This summer, we told the story of Kyra Harvey, an activist in Indianapolis who is disrupting the bail system and offering pretrial support for those facing charges and incarceration. She knows the impact incarceration can have on a community — her own family had to find a way to get along without her father when she was growing up. She’s part of the Bail Project, which aims to restore the presumption of innocence and help people navigate their legal challenges. Support her work here.
This San Francisco-based project sends trained volunteers out on the streets to do one simple thing: listen. And the impact of that simple gesture has been transformative. They are now supporting mental health and emotional wellness in 15 countries. Support their work here.
We told the story of Julie Mennel, who is working to make sure everyone — no matter their status or income — gets the legal service they need to seize opportunities to improve their lives. The legal aid clinic where she serves helps people expunge their criminal records. Support her work here.