20 Great Local Charities for Your Family to Support this Holiday Season

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When the holidays roll around, it’s easy to focus on giving gifts to our children. No matter what age they are, we spend time trying to find things they’ll love, and we experience joy watching them open and appreciate their presents.

But the holidays can also be the time when we establish a tradition of giving to others in need, and talking to our kids about sharing our treasures, talents, and time. Research shows that kids have deeply rooted instincts to share and help others, starting from the time they’re very young. We can use local charities to help reinforce these insticts.

This year, which has been especially challenging for so many in our Valley communities, consider a “family giving” discussion and allow your kids to decide upon what deserving charity they’d like to contribute to. Perhaps they’d like to donate some of their allowance money, gift money, or they’d like to create a friend or neighborhood group to raise funds together for a cause they feel passionate about.

No matter how your family decides to give back, here is a list of 20 worthy, local organizations for you to consider. Many of their websites include videos for your family to see exactly how donations are used to assist those in need.

Arizona Humane Society

Every year, more than 10,000 homeless pets come through the AHS doors needing food, love, and lifesaving care. Make a difference today by giving to their 2021 “Holiday Drive to Save Lives.”

Arizona Science Center

The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science. Beyond their onsite offerings, the Center serves more than 200,000 students and teachers each year with engaging STEM education programs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, professionally supported matches between adult volunteers and children, ages 6 through 18, in Maricopa County and Pinal County. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Black Mothers Forum, Inc.

This forum started in August of 2016 when a group of dedicated Black moms in Phoenix first met and decided to focus efforts on addressing concerns about the safety and welfare of their children, especially their Black sons. They work to dismantle the systems that have adversely impacted the Black community and to create safe and supportive environments for Phoenix’s Black children and families.

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley is a community-based, character-building youth development organization. They deliver the highest quality programs and provide opportunities to assist youth and teens in developing their self-esteem, values, and skills in a fun and safe environment.

Child Crisis Arizona

Child Crisis Arizona exists to provide Arizona’s children a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect, by creating strong and successful families. Their work falls into three broad categories: Child Abuse Prevention; Child Abuse Intervention; and Early Education Services offering two Early Head Start Programs and an award-winning preschool.

Childhelp

With their national headquarters in Scottsdale, Childhelp exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children. They focus their efforts on advocacy, intervention, treatment, prevention, family resilience and community outreach.

Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence

The mission of the Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence is to lead their community to broad-based solutions to prevent domestic abuse. For over 38 years, Chrysalis has been servicing the needs of women, children and men throughout the Valley who are trying to break the cycle of violence and abuse with a wide array of comprehensive services.

Esperança

Esperança’s mission is to improve health and provide hope through sustainable disease prevention, education, and treatment for every life they touch. Within Arizona, they are positioned as a leader in providing health education and resources to Maricopa County’s most at-risk and under-served Latino youth, adults, and seniors, creating true social change.

College Bound AZ

College Bound AZ, a nonprofit community resource based in Mesa, shares the journey to college with aspiring under-represented students through mentorship, guidance, and support resources for their advancement to a better future through higher education.

Habitat for Humanity Central AZ

Since 1985, with the help of generous donors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has been privileged to build more than 1,170 homes, affect more than 2,500 repairs, and improve a place called home for more than 3,800 Arizona families. They partner with Arizona families who put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity helping build their homes and their neighbor’s homes and then they pay back an affordable mortgage. Habitat then directs those funds back into our community.

HopeKids

HopeKids provides ongoing events and activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition. They surround these remarkable children and their families with the message that hope can be a powerful medicine.

I Am Teen Strong

I Am Teen Strong is a boutique website dedicated to making a difference in the lives of teen girls in Arizona. They offer a unique blend of life resources, information, and inspiration as they tackle issues that are significant, empowering, and socially conscious for today’s teen girls.

Make-A-Wish Arizona

Make-A-Wish Arizona is the founding Make-A-Wish® chapter, starting in Phoenix in 1980 with one little boy’s wish to be a police officer. They grant wishes to children who have been diagnosed by their doctor or medical physician as having a critical illness and who are between 2 1/2 – 18 years of age at the time of referral. Studies have shown that wishes help children feel stronger, happier, and more willing to battle their illness.

Nourish Phoenix

NourishPHX has been fighting poverty here in Phoenix since 1984. They provide food boxes, basic necessities like clothing, shoes, and toiletries, and offer education and employment assistance to their customers.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central and Northern Arizona

Ronald McDonald houses are a welcoming “home-away-from-home” and supportive community environment for families with children facing life-threatening illnesses traveling to Metropolitan Phoenix to receive specialized pediatric care. There are three Ronald McDonald Houses in the Phoenix area, where up to 78 families can seek temporary housing and support services every night of the year.

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

St. Mary’s Food Bank exists to help feed hungry families throughout Phoenix and nine Arizona counties. They also offer children’s feeding programs, a food service industry training program, and a hands-on training program that teaches adults with barriers to employment to be successful in the warehouse & logistics industry.

Special Olympics Arizona

The first SOAZ competition was a one-day Track & Field event with 100 athletes and 20 volunteers and today has grown to 21 sports, 675 regional competitions, and 4 statewide competitions for 21,461 athletes and 24,743 day-of volunteers annually. SOAZ also provides health, arts, and leadership and advocacy programs for people of all abilities and ages. They work to realize founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision: to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities everywhere and transform the lives of everyone they touch – building a better, more accepting world for all of us.

Valley of the Sun United Way

Valley of the Sun United Way envisions a community where every child, family and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live, and has every opportunity to succeed in school, in life, and in work. They focus on improving our communities with assistance for health, housing and homelessness, education, and workforce development.

Waste Not

Did you know that 40% of fresh food in the U.S. ends up in landfills every year? Meanwhile, nearly one million people in Arizona are struggling with food insecurity. Five days a week, Waste Not’s fleet of refrigerated trucks and professional drivers collect excess prepared and perishable food from local businesses and deliver it directly (the same day) to their 85+ partner nonprofit agencies that serve those in need.

For more details about these local charities and many others, please check out Charity Navigator’s market report for Phoenix and surrounding areas.

Feel free to share your favorite local charities with us in the comments. Thank you for your generosity and Happy Holidays!

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Marybeth Bock is a native San Franciscan, who spent 13 years living and working in two European countries and four U.S. states as an Army spouse. (Faves: Germany and Hawaii). She’s been enduring the heat of Arizona for 14 years now with her husband, two adult-ish kids, and one crazy coonhound. An alumna of UCLA (Go, Bruins!), she has a Master’s in Public Health and loves to research and write about all health topics, particularly the mental and physical health issues of adolescents and women. Her writing can often be found on the Grown and Flown and Blunt Moms websites. As a new empty-nester, she is thoroughly enjoying the role of “College Mom”, and is finding more time for crafting, hiking, Happy Hour and travel. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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