Christmas is about giving, not receiving. With nearly fifteen million children in the United States living under the poverty line, donating to a Christmas charity is one way you can help their Christmas season to be warm and bright. The Cincinnati area has many such charities to choose from.
Toys for Tots Program
Founded in 1991, the Toys for Tots program is run by the United States Marine Corps. The charity is devoted to providing Christmas gifts for children who would otherwise have none. They take donations of both money and toys, and you can drop off new, clean toys for them at several donation stations set up around the country, or donate money via the Internet. In Cincinnati, Toys for Tots is run by the Tri-State Toys For Tots Campaign, and their website, complete with a list of donation sites in Cincinnati, can be seen here.
The Family Giving tree is a charity, founded in 1990, devoted to providing Christmas gifts and school supplies to underprivileged children. They accept both money, toy and school supply donations, and have a unique donation style where you can sign up to grant a specific child’s wish for a certain toy, and supply it either by buying it yourself and donating it or by signing up and donating the money for the gift online. Though the Family Giving Tree operates throughout the year, they operate a specific Holiday Wish Drive each Christmas.
The Salvation Army, founded in 1891 by Captain Joseph McFee, has two Christmas charities. One, the Red Kettle, is quite old, and is the archetypical Christmas charity- the kettle set up on a streetcorner, with a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus ringing a bell. The money donated to the Red Kettle goes towards providing food, Christmas gifts and clothing to poor families, hospital patients and nursing home residents along with providing Christmas dinner for the homeless. Their second program is the Angel Tree, which provides Christmas gifts, clothing and food to children who have one or both parents in prison.
To donate directly to the Salvation Army in the Cincinnati area, you can direct your donations to their Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky office.
In the Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, you can either donate money or pack a shoebox yourself full of gifts for a child, which will be collected and shipped to a child in a poor country for a Christmas gift. You can determine which demographic you’re shipping to (i.e. a boy or a girl, and what age group between 2 and 14). Shoeboxes must include at least $7 to offset shipping costs, and can be donated between the dates of November 14 and 21 to make sure the gifts arrive on time. Samaritan's Purse has five drop-off locations in Cincinnati this year.
Whether this is the first time you've donated to a charity or one of many, know that by donating money, gifts or just your time to another person you're acting on the true spirit of Christmas.