Holidays are a time for giving to less fortunate

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Holidays are a time for giving and there is no better time than right now to spread some holiday cheer to those less fortunate.

Here are some amazing local charities that are accepting donations that can be dropped off or made online.

If you’re going to be doing some last-minute shopping online, the majority of you will probably be using Amazon.com. Don’t forget to log into smile.amazon.com instead where Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price on eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. If you have items in your Amazon.com cart, they will still be there even when you log in with the same login information through smile.amazon.com. If you don’t have a local charity, you can type in one of our local schools; Tuscany Hills Elementary, Cottonwood Canyon Elementary, Santa Rosa Academy, 4250 Elsinore High School PTSA, or Temescal Canyon High School Booster Club.

ABC7 and Southern California firefighters are celebrating their 25th anniversary of the Spark for Love Toy Drive. They have successfully collected more than 10 million toys since its inception. New, unwrapped toys and sporting equipment for under-served children and teens are collected and distributed locally.

Secured, tax-deductible donations can still be made online.

For more than 20 years, nonprofit organization Helping Our People in Elsinore (H.O.P.E.) have been assisting the people of southwest Riverside County who need basic necessities.

Current Needs are canned soup, ravioli and chili, shampoo, conditioner and body wash for men and women, bar soap, body lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers of all sizes, baby wipes, adult Depends, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent and softener, trash bags, towels and washcloths, combs and can openers.

Items can be dropped off in person at 506 West Minthorn St. Lake Elsinore. Online donations are accepted at dreamcenterle.org/donate. H.O.P.E. is also in need of volunteers. and they are always looking for volunteers.

The Valley Resource Center based out of Temecula is a public, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to connecting the community to local, low-cost and free comprehensive resources through community organizational outreach and providing philanthropic programs to enrich the lives of veterans, seniors and families in the community. In the past year alone, they have sent more than 40 care packages to deployed military members, shared hundreds of local resources, filled more than 65 backpacks with school supplies for needy families, raised more than $600 for a WWll Veteran and replaced his flooring, and helped dozens of seniors with technology.

They are accepting donations at their drop off locations at Murrieta Gardens Senior Assisted Living Memory Care, 24200 Monroe Ave., Murrieta; Margarita Middle School, 30600 Margarita Rd., Temecula; Transamerica Financial Advisors, 27280 Via Industrial Ste., Temecula; Winchester Community Center, 32665 Haddock St., Winchester. Check their website for a list of current items needed for the Adopt-A-Troop program or make a donation online at valleyrescourcecenter.org/donate.

Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley ReStore in Lake Elsinore and Temecula accept new and gently used furniture and home improvement items.

Proceeds from the Restores help build affordable homes for qualified families in the Inland Valley. ReStores have helped divert more than 2,600 tons of trash from local landfills. The money raised from sales in the ReStores goes directly into the programming they offer to the community and have many other benefits as well.

It has become a training ground for volunteers that are unemployed or displaced in their careers and gives them an opportunity to learn in a retail and merchandising environment. Donation drop-offs can be made at both locations Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For a donation pick-up request, call 951-471-1188 or e-mail donation@havitativ.org.

Gift-Giving Tips:

  • Verify Tax-Exempt Status

If you’re not sure whether donations to a particular charity are tax-deductible, confirm a group’s tax-exempt status by checking with the group or by going to the IRS website.

  • Give Directly

If you’re contacted by a professional fundraiser for a charity you want to support, hang up and give directly instead. The fundraiser might be keeping 75 to 90 percent of the money.

  • Request Privacy

If you don’t want to be bothered by endless fundraising appeals, tell groups you support that you don’t want your name and contact information sold, exchanged, or rented to other groups or for-profit companies. You also can ask the groups not to send you further appeal letters, email, or phone solicitations. Check the charity’s privacy policy before giving.

  • Be on Guard

Some low-rated charities have names that resemble those of high-rated ones.

Remember, not all charities are alike and not all give as much as you think. To find out more information about a local or national charity, visit the Better Business Bureau’s database at give.org, Charity Navigator at charitynavigator.org or Charity Watch at charitywatch.org. When in doubt, donate locally to make sure your donation goes to those in need.

 

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Kerry Keith