It’s that time of year again — time to count your blessings and consider sharing either your time or treasure with those less fortunate, if you’re able!
Between the stubborn pandemic and Hurricane Ida’s disastrous impact on Louisiana, many of our neighbors are in need of assistance this holiday season. So, whether you want to lend a helping hand, or are in need of one, please check out the list of charitable organizations and events below.
Many people in our region and state are still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Ida. This page (linked above) lists many organizations that are involved in relief and recovery efforts by providing food, shelter, medical services/supplies, and debris management. And each listed charity comes with a star-rating that assesses their financial efficiency and transparency, so you can make an informed choice about where you send your dollars.
Second Harvest Food Bank leads the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response — and their services have been more vital than ever in the wake of the multiple hurricanes and the pandemic. They provide food and support to 700+ community partners and programs across 23 parishes. While food donations are always welcome, the most efficient way to give is a financial donation. With every dollar donated, you help provide FOUR meals for a family in need. Plus, $0.97 of every dollar donated goes directly to programs that feed the hungry. There are also volunteer and food drive opportunities for those who want to support them in other ways.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana
This organization identifies, assesses, and monitors the most pressing needs in our region. Then, they fund programs, support collaborations, convene experts, advocate for change, and foster new and needed community services to address the issues based on best practices. People can support this endeavor to provide quality health and human services for our community by donating funds or contacting the HandsOn Volunteer Center to discover the many programs, projects, and resources that need the time and efforts of individuals.
ACCESS, which stands for adapting and changing children’s environment with successful solutions, raises funds to provide financial grants to families of children Southeastern Louisiana and the Gulf South Region with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and autism.These grants are used to purchase adaptive equipment, assistive devices, home/car/van modifications, and other interventions that are not covered by private insurance and/or Medicaid. The organization hosts its annual fundraiser BooFest at Halloween, but they also accept individual donations and sponsorships.
Families Helping Families works to provide the individualized services, information, resources, and support needed to positively enhance the independence, productivity, and inclusion of local individuals with disabilities. To maintain their endeavors, like their lending library, adult program, education, and health services, they are dependent on the commitment and support of community members who can choose from a broad array of volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. New Orleans: https://fhfofgno.org Northshore: https://fhfnorthshore.org/
Boys Hope Girls Hope is a nonprofit agency that helps children-in-need realize their full potential through education. It is the goal of this organization to help children and young people in their care to complete a college education, then put their education to work for the benefit of others, including their families and communities. This 100% privately funded organization’s annual fundraising events are critical to maintaining the housing and care that their scholars depend on for future success.Check out their website for upcoming fundraising events and other ways to support and donate.
This organization provides long-term residential treatment to help individuals who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol lead sober and productive lives. Priority is given to pregnant women. They typically host multiple fundraising events — including a fall golf tournament and a March for Recovery — throughout the year. Ways to support this group include volunteering for their fundraising events, or donating cash, vehicles, or thrift items.
Children’s Hospital of New Orleans
Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit pediatric medical center offering a complete range of healthcare services for children from birth to 21 years, is the only free-standing full-service hospital exclusively for children in Louisiana and the Gulf South. The hospital is happy to receive in-kind or non-monetary donations throughout the year, and toys, clothing, toiletries and other appropriate items are greatly appreciated, as well. Due to infection control policies, all donated items should be brand new and in original packaging. Information on donations and Amazon wish lists is available on the website.
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Covenant House is more than just a shelter. They also provide food, clothing, and comprehensive services to youth, most of whom are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic and/or street violence, and the resulting trauma that often leads to substance abuse, mental health issues, and more. There are multiple ways to contribute to this organization. In addition to their need for volunteers and monetary donations, Covenant House has an online Gift Catalog that allows you to choose items you’d like to purchase for homeless kids.
The main service provided by this organization is the delivery of specially created care packages to families of newborns in neonatal care at hospitals in the New Orleans area. These packages contain items that are particularly useful to these families to aid in family bonding, care for parents or siblings, and to provide a sense of normalcy during this hectic time. Packages are delivered to 10 hospitals in May in celebration of Parents of Preemie day, in December to celebrate the holiday season, and throughout the year, upon request. Those who wish to support this organizations can choose to donate online, become a member, or join a committee.
This organization’s mission is to keep homeless families together and move them from homelessness to self-sufficiency through a three stage service model that involves providing crisis intervention services, residential stability, and help in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Those wishing to support Hope House can either do so with a financial donation, by participating in one of the fundraising events hosted by their charity partners, or see their Amazon Wish List for items currently needed.
The New Orleans Mission provides food, shelter, clothing and spiritual guidance to the city’s homeless, hurting, and hungry. Their commitment is backed by the financial support of generous local residents, churches, organizations and corporate donors, but they are always looking for volunteers to help in their efforts. Groups, families and individuals can bring food to impoverished areas or serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the mission. Coming up on November 19, they’re hosting a fundraising gala at their Lynhaven Retreat in Hammond.
New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter
The largest shelter for homeless families in the metro area, New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter has served more than 3000 women, men and children since 2007. In fact, two-thirds of the people we serve are children and their services go much deeper than shelter and meals. An average of 80-85% of the families they’ve helped have transitioned to sustainable, independent living. In addition to a financial donation, those who want to support them can volunteer, donate items, or make a planned gift.
Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Dept Thanksgiving Celebration
Thanks to the generous support of their sponsors, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office will host its Annual Sheriff’s Thanksgiving Dinner Celebration on Thanksgiving Day; November 25. Due to Covid-19, they will be delivering food, instead of hosting an in-person dinner, again this year. If you are able to help deliver food, they ask you to commit to picking up and delivering meals to two separate addresses, on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. Sign up to volunteer and get more details on their website.
Raintree Children & Family Services
This organization’s mission is to provide needed services to at-risk children and youth in New Orleans area parishes, encouraging hope and creating opportunities for growth and independent lives. Those wishing to contribute can volunteer individually or as a group, or donate money or an item from the online wishlist. You can also attend/participate in their fundraising event, their annual gala, which has been moved to March 17, 2022.
Saul’s Light is dedicated to providing support and community to bereaved families and those with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This support is provided in three ways: NICU support, bereavement support, ongoing connections to community. There are many ways you can make a difference to bereaved and NICU families in New Orleans by donating, volunteering, or partnering with their organization.
VOA of Greater New Orleans has been serving the most vulnerable since the 1890s, when they started helping indigent women and children. Today, they sponsor a wide variety of programs that assist children, families, seniors, veterans and persons living with disabilities in 16 parishes in south Louisiana. Of course, they accept donations throughout the year, and there are always youth mentoring programs that are in need of volunteers, but they’re also currently gearing up for their annual Christmas Wish Project to spread some holiday cheer to those in need this season.
Child Advocacy Center – Hope House
This independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes by providing a path to recovery and a bridge to justice for victims of abuse. The CAC’s facility, Hope House, provides a warm, non-threatening environment for child victims to share their story, and receive professional support services to help with the healing process. The public can support this organization by donating funds, volunteering at events and fundraisers, or participating in the Men Who Cook fundraiser on November 7. There’s also a raffle to win a house! Drawing is December 5.
Northshore Food Bank provides food assistance to more than 400 individuals and families each week who live at or below the federal poverty guidelines and have found themselves in need within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. In addition to distributing food, they also offer additional key ministries, including their Resale Shop. During Thanksgiving time, Northshore Food Bank provides to eligible participants during their regular distribution a special holiday food box filled with items needed to prepare a traditional holiday meal at home. Their Pallets for a Purpose fundraising event takes place on November 12. The theme is “A Night in Vegas,” and it’ll feature casino games, full buffet and bar, plus raffles.
Our Daily Bread Food Bank of Tangipahoa Parish
Our Daily Bread is a local food bank that has faithfully served the disadvantaged of Tangipahoa Parish since 1999, and has grown to assisting 3,000 families each month. Their commercial kitchen and dining area provides hundreds of hot meals to the community each week, and in their traditional food bank role, they are committed to aiding in disaster relief efforts both local and nationally.
STARC provides individuals with disabilities in St. Tammany and four surrounding parishes with a lifetime of Services, Training, Advocacy, Resources and Community Connections. Their programs and services in early intervention, day care, respite care, work training, vocational employment, home care and residential living help move individuals through a life-long process toward greater well-being and independence.
PRIDE Youth & Community Resources
PRIDE stands for Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug Education, but it also has a teen component in which young leaders sign contracts promising to be drug-free and help their peers be drug-free as well. They hold multiple socials and community events in their efforts to promote the healthy, drug-free development of the youth and families within St. Tammany Parish. There are many ways to contribute to this organization, including making a one-time or monthly donation, or shopping online through AmazonSmile.
St Tammany Hospital’s Hospice Angels of Light
This long-standing tradition, which benefits St. Tammany Hospital’s Hospice program for terminally ill patients and their families, takes place on Thursday, December 9 at 5:30pm in the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Lobby in Covington. People are invited to honor or memorialize a loved one with the purchase of an angel, which will adorn the Tree of Life. Please RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Info on purchasing an angel and other sponsorship opportunities are on the website.
Tangipahoa Voluntary Council On Aging
This organization aims to help residents of Tangipahoa Parish ages 60 and older remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible. Volunteers and case managers serve home delivered meals to seniors, plus there are centers in Amite, Hammond, Independence, Ponchatoula, and Kentwood where seniors can go for free hot congregate meals and lunches. They also provide helpful information on resources such as Medicare, transportation, and activities for seniors and their spouses.