The holidays are a great time to make new memories with friends and family but also a time to share with friends yet to be made, an opportunity to change the life of another without expecting anything in return. OK, so that sounds overly sentimental and like something Steve Urkel would have said on the Christmas episode of Family Matters, but it’s true. There are many Dallas residents in need of your help, and not just your uncle who lost money on his pumpkin farm investment.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best organizations you can donate to, volunteer at, or at the very least, spread the word about so others can have the chance to contribute. This by no means covers all the great charities in DFW, so if there are any you think should be included, please comment and share links for everyone to see.
North Texas Food Bank
Located in Plano, the North Texas Food Bank provided an estimated 77 million meals last year over a 13-county area. This was done in no small part by the generosity of donors and volunteers providing much-needed resources. The organization estimates that more than 800,000 North Texans are facing hunger, but with the continual support of the surrounding community, the North Texas Food Bank can keep their pace of serving 200,000 meals daily. Even the smallest of amounts helps their mission, as $1 can fund up to three meals for those who would go hungry otherwise.
Trains at NorthPark
Through Jan. 5
The annual train display at NorthPark Center can be an ideal opportunity for North Texans to volunteer their time. Located on Level 2 of the shopping mall between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, the Trains at NorthPark has provided both entertainment and support for families each holiday season. All proceeds from the Trains at NorthPark will benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, an organization that provides housing for families of children seeking medical care. Whether it’s by donating your time to help run the shop, or buying tickets to view the elaborate displays, your contribution will go toward helping a grateful family. More information at thetrainsatnorthpark.com.
Toys for Tots
More ubiquitous than mall Santas, Toys for Tots boxes mark the approach of holiday season in DFW. They’re out for good reason, as the success of the program inviting individuals to donate new, unwrapped toys for children, ages infant/toddler to 14 years old, puts smiles on many faces Christmas morning. If you would like to do more than just donate a toy, the organization is always in need of office supplies, gas cards, pre-paid cellphones and your time.
To contact Toys for Tots directly about volunteering, they can be reached at 817-281-9076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Salvation Army North Texas Area Angel Trees
Estimated to reach more than 45,000 children this year, The Salvation Army Adopt an Angel program continues to expand and assist needy families and children during the holidays. Those looking to give can always select a child from the many Christmas trees to provide items requested on their card, but the Salvation Army is always looking for an extra set of hands to sort through the many donations received, as well as other roles. You can find a job to fit your schedule.
SPCA of Texas Home for the Holidays
Through Dec. 23
For 29 years the SPCA has hosted its adoption center at NorthPark finding animals new homes and families to take care of them. Even if you don’t have space for a new member of the family to stain your carpet, you can still purchase pet-themed items at the center, with proceeds going to the SPCA’s mission of providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home.
While the majority of us can rely on friends or family in our worst times, the homeless individuals of Dallas rely on organizations like The Stewpot for assistance getting their feet back on the ground. Since 1975 the Stewpot has helped the homeless with programs ranging from social services to warm meals, and your help would be greatly appreciated by donating money, food or your time in the kitchen during the daily meal services.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children
Any child admitted to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital is ensured to receive excellent care, and the medical center is able to do with the support of volunteers and donations. Adult volunteers must be 18 and have completed high school to apply for any one of the numerous available positions ranging from assistants in the patient playroom, providing guidance at the information desk or serving up a fresh treat from the popcorn stand.