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Ideas to give back locally this holiday season

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CINCINNATI -- It’s the time of year for falling snowflakes and warm Christmas family feasts, but what about those without a home or a hot meal to eat?

Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving to kick-off the season of donations and is in its second year. The campaign is held the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. WCPO has compiled a list of ways you can give-back to the community in need this holiday season.

Foodbanks, Pantries & Soup Kitchens:

  • Freestore Foodbank: 289,940 people living in the 20 counties served by the Freestore Foodbank and its community partners aren’t sure from where their next meal is coming. Of that, 92,600 are kids.
  • Feed Cincy Now: An effort of City Gospel Mission to feed and care for Cincinnati’s hungry and homeless this holiday season.
  • Eastern Area Food Pantry: This Emergency Assistance Program provides assistance with food, resources, referrals and information to Clermont County families.
  • Be Concerned: Be Concerned has operated one of the largest free food pantries in Northern Kentucky since 1987. They help low-income residents of Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties each month.

Child & Teen Donations:

  • Ronald McDonald House: Cincinnati's Ronald McDonald House has been caring for critically ill children and their families for more than 30 years.
  • Toys for Tots: The Cincinnati-area Toys for Tots organization distributes thousands of toys to area social service organizations and families throughout the Tri-State.
  • Children's Hospital: With a donation to Cincinnati Children’s, you can bring hope and healing to a suffering child, a struggling family or a concerned caregiver.
  • The Children’s Home: A private, nonprofit organization and a leading provider of education and mental health treatment for children facing significant social, behavioral, and learning challenges.
  • Lighthouse Youth Services: For the 2013 holiday season, Lighthouse Youth Services is set to team up with some players of the Cincinnati Bengals in Fountain Square. on Dec. 3. They're holding the Lighthouse Youth Services Happy Holidays gift drive, which will help get gifts to 2,000 children, teens and young adults in need.

Family Help Donations:

  • Brighton Center of Northern Kentucky: The center focuses on creating opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency through support services, education and leadership.
  • St. Vincent DePaul: For more than 140 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has cared for those in need throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
  • Matthew 25: Ministries: M25M has sent more than 125 million pounds of aid across the United States and into more than 35 countries worldwide.
  • City Gospel Mission Christmas gifts for children:  Low-income parents have the opportunity to pay $8 per child to select one new toy and one new clothing item. Volunteers help parents choose the toys and clothing and help wrap the gifts.
  • The Salvation Army of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky: The goal of The Salvation Army is to 'do the most good' with the resources entrusted to their care, in service to those of all ages, races, creeds and lifestyles.

Donations for the Homeless:

  • The City Gospel Mission: Help support Cincinnati’s homeless: City Gospel Mission annually serves nearly 139,000 hot and nutritious meals and provides 29,000 nights of safe shelter to the homeless.
  • Great Cincinnati Homeless Coalition: The coalition is a unified social action agency, fully committed to its ultimate goal: the eradication of homelessness with respect for the dignity and diversity of its membership, the homeless and the community.
  • The Henry Hosea House in Newport: This is a non-profit agency that serves the poor and homeless of Northern Kentucky. Monetary donations for the Henry Hosea House are being accepted at all branches of Citizens Bank of Northern Kentucky.
  • Welcome House of Northern Kentucky: Welcome House collaborates with the community to provide a continuum of quality services for individuals and families who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to eradicate homelessness, foster stability and promote a just society.
  • Over-the -Rhine Community Housing: The local non-profit works to provide housing and programs to change the life of Over-the Rhine residents by offering health care, job services, education, faith-based organizations and community associations.

Pet Donations:

  • Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry: This pantry has already provided pet food assistance to more than 3,000 local families and their pets. Donations from the community make it possible to continue their mission to keep more beloved pets out of county shelters.
  • SPCA Cincinnati: An animal shelter and humane society that continually strives to strengthen the human-animal bond and improve the welfare of animals by fostering the humane care and treatment of all animals.
  • Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati: Pets In Need is committed to helping pets stay healthy and together with the people who love them.
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare: A company committed to rescuing individual animals, protecting entire populations and preserving precious habitats.

Senior Donations:

Veteran Donations:

  • The VA Hospital: Cincinnati VA Medical Center relies on the goodwill of their benefactors and volunteers who wish to give something back to America's heroes.

Abused women shelters:

  • YWCA battered women’s shelter: The YWCA provides safe crisis line assistance, protective shelter and necessary supportive services for battered women and their children to move them toward self-sufficiency, independence and freedom from abuse.
  • Women Helping Women: Women Helping Women empowers survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking by providing advocacy, support and options for safety and educates the community to create social change.
  • Women's Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky: The center's mission is to lead the community in the social change needed to end domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse
  • Kentucky Domestic Violence Association: The mission of KDVA is to end intimate partner violence, promote healthy relationships and engage communities through social change, economic empowerment, educational opportunities and other prevention strategies.


  • Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity: HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.
  • Cincinnati Parks Foundation: This foundation's mission is to build broad-based private/public partnerships supporting the conservation and enhancement of our city's parks and greenspaces.
  • Cincinnati Zoo: Rated by peer zoological parks as one of the best zoos in the nation, the Cincinnati Zoo continues to set the standard for conservation, education and preservation of wild animals and wild spaces.
  • Crayons to Computers: Crayons to Computers (C2C) was founded on a simple idea: teachers need tools to teach, and students need supplies to learn. C2C has become a mainstay with local educators who rely on the free store for their every day classroom needs.
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center of Cincinnati: Through education and inspiration, the center tries to encourage everyone to take part in the ongoing struggles for freedom.
  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati: The group's focus is on education, income and health because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life – a quality education that leads to a stable job, income that supports a family, and good health. United Way works each and every day to strengthen these building blocks for everyone throughout the Greater Cincinnati region.
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation: The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps make improvements through the Tri-State's communities with philanthropic projects and fundraisers.

For any other charities that you may be considering supporting, check whether they are legitimate at http://cincinnati.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews/.

Are you giving back to the community this holiday season? Tell us where in the comment box below!

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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