Major disasters around the world not only generate heavy news coverage — they also move people to donate money, supplies, and a helping hand to those affected.
Away from the limelight, however, are countless smaller everyday health crises that also need the help of developing nations and their citizens.
It's easy to feel powerless when you see reports of famine, starvation, disease, violence, and poverty, yet many organizations are already in place to ensure that charitable contributions have the maximum impact.
Helping others lets parents teach kids important lessons about the value of sharing and sacrifice — plus, most kids enjoy discovering that they can make a difference in the world and help those who are less fortunate.
Talk with your kids about how your family can make small but meaningful contributions to those in need. Discuss the issues that interest you and then start researching which groups can make best use of your help.
Of course, these are just a few of many worthwhile campaigns and groups. Whatever causes you decide to support, pay a visit to the websites of the Better Business Bureau or the American Institute of Philanthropy to be sure that an organization is legitimate and fiscally responsible.
During the holiday season, many families look for ways to help those in need. It's a great time to get started — you can even do your online holiday shopping through portals that connect shoppers to major retailers and donate a portion of all sales to various charities. But remember, your family can make a difference all year round.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: December 2010
|American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.|
|Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance This site offers information on more than 300 charities and whether they meet the Better Business Bureau's standards.|
|SERVEnet This site contains information on volunteering and community service opportunities.|
|UNICEF UNICEF is a leading advocate for children's rights.|
|Save the Children This non-profit organization works to create positive, lasting change for disadvantaged children in the United States and 41 other nations.|
|Nothing But Nets Nothing But Nets is a United Nations Foundation campaign to prevent the spread of malaria in Africa. Money donated to the group goes to buy nets to protect people from being bitten by mosquitoes that carry malaria.|
|Habitat for Humanity A nonprofit housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.|
|Making the Holidays Less Materialistic It can be hard to look beyond all of the product-driven hoopla surrounding the holidays. Here are five ways to curb materialism and reinforce the real reason for the season.|
|Community Service: A Family's Guide to Getting Involved One of the most satisfying, fun, and productive ways to unite as a family is volunteering for community service projects. It sets a good example for your kids and helps the community.|
|Donating Your Old Clothes Do you really need 20 sweaters from 7th grade? Giving away what you don't need helps people who are less fortunate and gives you a warm feeling too.|
|Natural Disasters: How to Help Many people find the best way to deal with the news of a tragedy is to help. Find out what you can do.|
|Volunteering Volunteering gives you an opportunity to change lives, including your own. Get ideas on things you can do and tips on getting started in this article for teens.|
|Natural Disasters: How Families Can Help When natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes strike, it's natural for people to want to help. Here are some ways to do that.|
|Be a Volunteer Volunteering gives you a great feeling because you know you're making a difference. Find out more in this article for kids.|
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