By Claire Ala
American consumers spent $9.62 million on personal expenditures in November, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Other statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed $3.44 million worth of goods, specifically $569,627 was spent on recreational use such as computers and vehicles, $167,342 on durable goods such as jewelry and watches and $797,615 on non-durable goods such as games, toys, cosmetics and other household items.
This list of numbers and items can go on and on. A whopping $6.18 million was spent in November for services, for example haircuts, dry cleaning and eating out. However, the total income for nonprofit institutions was only $1.03 million.
If these numbers are just for November, imagine what Americans will spend for the holidays during December. Many Americans lose sight of the gift of giving and end up spending absurd amounts on materialistic things. Remember the less fortunate, the families with kids who have no holiday meal to look forward to and zero presents to open. Be more than a statistic and embrace the gift of giving. There’s more to the holidays than eggnog and unwrapping silly gifts. Here are 12 charities that need your help this holiday season!
1. American Red Cross
Don’t have much money to spend? Donate blood! You can save three lives this holiday season. Visit redcrossblood.org/donating-blood.
2. Feed Fayetteville
By promoting a sustainable food network, this organization wants to end any hunger problems in Fayetteville. Read more about their mission and check out the event calendar to see an organized view of upcoming events, such as volunteer opportunities. They also have a needs list on their website. Visit feedfayetteville.org.
3. Peace at Home Family Shelter
Help end domestic violence. The shelter will be holding an event called Santa Sack on Friday. Santa Sack helps women and children who have escaped abusive homes. The event helps families by toy donations/gifts for the moms. They still need help with set-up today and at the event, along with donations. Find out details at peaceathomeshelter.org/events.
4. Fayetteville Animal Shelter
Four-legged friends need loving, too. Check out their Facebook page for a list of necessities that can be donated, which includes canned cat and dog food, cat and dog beds, cat toys, hard plastic peanut butter dog toys, bleach and paper towels. Visit facebook.com/FayettevilleAnimalShelter.
5. Heifer International
Give a gift to someone special and total strangers through Heifer’s Living Gift Market Guide. Heifer describes this gift idea as an “honor (to) a friend or loved one by giving in his or her name, while at the same time empowering an impoverished family by providing an animal and training in its care.” This is a wonderful idea for someone who is hard to shop for and cherishes nonprofit work. See heifer.org.
6. Toys for Tots
Buy a toy for a child. Of the donations, 98 percent goes toys and books for less fortunate children, and only 2 percent is spent on covering fundraising costs. No donations go to paying salaries! Search here for drop-off locations: rogers-ar.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/donate-toys.aspx
7. Habitat for Humanity
It’s easy to take for granted a roof over your head. Donate or volunteer your time to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. Since 1991, 47 homes have been built and financed by this organization. Help this number continue to grow. Visit habitatwashingtoncoar.org.
8. Full Circle Campus Food Pantry
Donate food or money, or even a lending hand stocking the pantry’s shelves at the University of Arkansas organization. They have provided a list of items they need at service.uark.edu/4473.php.
9. Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center
Spare a day to spend with a senior citizen. Many of us spend hours watching television or surfing the Internet, take an hour out of your free time and entertain the elderly. The center also works with the Meals on Wheels program. Visit facebook.com/pages/Fayetteville-Senior-Activity-and-Wellness-Center/10150099275620648?ref=stream.
10. Seven Hills Homeless Shelter
Seven Hills helps fight poverty and homelessness by providing a safe haven and assistance for the homeless. The shelter helps people who can’t meet basic needs, for example meals and showers. They also offer a housing program, job search assistance, counseling and more to aid individuals in becoming self-sufficient. See their page for volunteer options or a list of needed goods for December. Visit facebook.com/7hillscenter.
11. Fayetteville Future Fund
Give back to Fayetteville. This is an organization that allows you to give back to your community while working with peers on deciding which local charities to support. The Future Fund website states “your contribution is invested in a permanent endowment, the money you donate now will continue to grow and benefit our community when your children and grandchildren are in their 20s and 30s.” This is a gift that will keep on giving for years to come. Membership fees and more information can be found on their website: arcf.org/LocalOffices/FayettevilleArea/FayettevilleFutureFund/tabid/349/Default.aspx.
12. Ranger’s Pantry
Animal shelters are crowded. This charity helps to keep shelters from overcrowding by helping pet owners who are suffering from financial problems by giving them food for their pets. These pet owners and their families are able to keep their furry loved ones instead of having to lose them to an animal shelter. Discover how your donation can help at accesscommunitylink.org/2012/11/27/rangers-pantry-have-a-purrfect-howliday-donation-drive.