The American Red Cross blood drive was held Feb. 5, 2014 at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. The blood donated will be sent to a Red Cross blood component laboratory where it is processed into several components; red blood cells, plasma, platelets and/or cryoprecipitate. A single blood donation may help up to three different people. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashlee Galloway)

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are an excuse to spend copious amounts of money. An old co-worker of mine spent more than $1,000 on clothing alone during the Thanksgiving scramble. One’s hard-earned cash should be spent with themselves in mind, but also with those who might be less fortunate on the radar. Christmas offers the perfect opportunity to give back. It might be difficult to pick the perfect organization to donate to, so I’ll make it a little bit easier. Here are some organizations worthy of your donation.

American Red Cross

Tragedies consistently strike the U.S., leaving drastic needs for blood and platelet donations. Red Cross locations are aplenty across the nation. Utah alone has a handful where you can make an appointment or do a walk-in visit. You might not think a 500-milliliter bag of blood could mean anything, but it might be the difference between life and death for someone else. Of course, there are qualifications you must meet in order to donate. Time spent out of the country and health issues could halt the donation process, but a blood donation is a worthwhile venture. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible to donate, the best way to find out is to ask an American Red Cross representative. Those who receive your donated blood will be forever grateful.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah

My mother puts a bag of hand-me-down clothing on the curb every once in a while to await a curbside pick-up by an important organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah take the used-item donation from the street and later distributes them to support Utah families. The pickup must be scheduled in advance and be on the curb by 8:00 a.m., but it’s completely free and will end up with someone in need. Plus, you can clear room in your closet for that Black Friday wardrobe you just bought. Not everyone has used items to give away, which is completely okay. Try making a monetary donation online— it’s quick, easy and will go towards a good cause.

House of Hope

House of Hope is a private, nonprofit organization devoted to both treating and supporting women and children who struggle with substance abuse. Your gift supports programming which provides the tools and support necessary for an individual to be successful in their treatment. Monetary and in-kind donations are welcomed at House of Hope. Your contribution will go where it is needed most, but you can donate to a specific program if you wish. A lot of us know someone who struggles with drugs or alcohol and most of us know how hard it can be when a loved one has an addiction. Remember this when making your next donation to the House of Hope.

The Road Home

This non-profit social services agency seeks to help homeless individuals in Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front overcome their homelessness. The Road Home offers an emergency shelter for single men, single women, families and emergency services, case management and housing for the homeless. The holidays are all about homeliness, and The Road Home assists people in acquiring a warm home. Your donation can help shelter a person for one night. After all, it only costs $12 to do so. Bedding, clothing and other items are also in urgent need by The Road Home and would be welcome gifts.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Christian church. The international non-profit organization ensures to give locally, to help specific communities get the help they both need and deserve. Cash and goods donations are both accepted by the Salvation Army. If you’re unable to give monetarily, give your time with volunteer opportunities. Contact your local Salvation Army to inquire about any open opportunities.

Shelter the Homeless

It’s hard not to notice an issue with homelessness in Salt Lake City. Shelter the Homeless, a non-profit organization, seeks to help those individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The organization can gather the necessary resources to create housing solutions for the homeless population by partnering with the community. Plus, every dollar you donate will be matched by the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation. The holidays are about giving, so why not give to those who need it most?

We’re constantly pestered to donate at the register, and typically we refuse. I’ve noticed when I attach an extra dollar or two to my total, it makes little to no difference in the amount of money I have left to spend. The holidays are all about gift giving, so why not contribute to a worthy cause. Big Brothers Big Sister of Utah, The Road Home and the other organizations are always in need of extra funds. Your donations will offer support and help to those in need, so make a contribution this Christmas.

a.whitten@dailyutahchronicle.com

@adelinaydg

Adelina Whitten is a senior writer for the arts desk. She is a senior studying Communication.

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