Brighten the Holidays: Knoxville’s Charitable Organizations {2017}

The holiday season is upon us and I can’t think of a better way of living the true holiday spirit than helping those in need. We teach our kids about the importance of being thankful and showing others kindness and generosity — now is the perfect opportunity to model that behavior. Whether it be contributing financially or with your time, no gesture is too small to make an impact.

Below is a list of local charitable organizations, many of which are near and dear to the KMB contributors:

Angelic Ministries – provides furniture, clothing, linens, kitchen supplies, and other needed household items at no cost to people in need. Click here for how you can help.

Child Help East Tennessee Auxiliary – dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Click here for ways you can help.

Clothe My Children – works to eliminate social inequities caused by the lack of adequate clothing. Volunteer and/or donate any gently used items.

Dear Santa – run through the Helen Ross McNabb Center, the Dear Santa program provides holiday gifts for children up to 18 years of age. Learn how you can get involved here.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) – ETCH leads the way to healthy children through exceptional, comprehensive family-centered care, wellness and education. Volunteer your time to hospitalized children and their families. ETCH offers year-round opportunities in Arts and Crafts, Child Life, Cuddlers, Pediatric Medical Library, and the Surgery Lounge to name a few.

Family Promise of Knoxvilleunites with the interfaith community to provide non-emergency housing to families with children who have lost their homes. Click here for volunteering information.

Food in the Fortrun through the Redeemer Church of Knoxville, Food in the Fort runs a food pantry, which supplies food to those in need. For ways in which you can help, click here.

For The Kids at UTK  – a UT student-run organization focusing on raising funds used to support ETCH’s families impacted by childhood cancer and blood disorders. Donate to help support the purchase of life-saving equipment for ETCH’s Hematology and Oncology Clinic.

Hope Initiative at Cokesbury Church – provides tutoring for students and mentoring for adults and families in crisis.

Hug Knoxville – a community of parents and children doing kid-friendly service projects together around Knoxville.

Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.) – as a program of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, H.A.B.I.T. sponsors animal-assisted therapy programs with the help of a strong core of volunteer pet owners and their loving pets.

Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley (HSTV) – is a no-kill rescue and adoption facility for animals. HSTV offers a low cost spay/neuter/vaccination clinic, dog training, educational services and volunteer programs. For ways to get involved click here.

Knoxville Area Rescue Missions (KARM) – offers rescue services of food and shelter to those in need. You can donate and/or volunteer through KARM’s events year-round.

Mission of Hope – delivers hope to families living in rural Appalachia through programs such as Back to School, the Annual Christmas Campaign & Blue Barrel Collections, and Scholarship program. If you’d like to make a donation, you may do so here.

Lost Sheep Ministries – helps Knoxville’s homeless, and low/no income residents; they accept donations and offer volunteering opportunities.

News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund – provides food and toys to disadvantaged East Tennesseans during the holidays. Volunteer to distribute toys and food baskets to families in need. Distributions take place on December 19 – December 23 at Jacob Building, Chilhowee Park, 3301 Magnolia Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37914. You can also make a contribution to the Fund to help stock the food baskets.

Project Gabriel – founded by KMB’s very own Lauren Morgan, Project Gabriel gives support, encouragement, and community to women and their families who have experienced perinatal and infant loss, including miscarriage and perinatal and infant death. For more information about Project Gabriel, you can get in touch with Lauren.

Random Act of Flowers – brings moments of kindness in the form of a beautiful floral bouquet. The recipients’ joy is enough to justify their work, but these deliveries have also been clinically proven to have a positive effect on health and well-being.

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee – East Tennessee’s largest hunger-relief charity, operating programs in 18 counties. The Food Bank distributes 16+ million pounds of food and grocery products annually through food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and schools. Donate and/or get involved by participating in the Virtual Food Drive.

The Forgotten Initiative – brings joy and purpose to foster care children and families. Check out their current needs for specific information about donation opportunities.

The Love Kitchen – serves over 3,000 meals each week to Knoxville’s needy, with more than 80% of those meals being delivered to home-bound recipients. Donate food items or money and/or volunteer your time.

The Pillow Project – in collaboration between churches, local organizations, and the Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC), the Pillow Project helps homeless families, individuals, and seniors by providing basic household items to those in need.

Toys for Tots – collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in Knoxville. Donate a new unwrapped toy at one of these drop-off locations.
 
Transfiguring Adoption – develops media, resources, and tools that nurture growth in foster and adoptive families. Click here for ways you can help.

United Way of Greater Knoxville – brings together resources to improve the lives of people in Knoxville by helping them achieve their potential for self-sufficiency. Donate and/or check out their volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) – provides services to prevent and end homelessness through case management and permanent housing solutions. Donate and/or volunteer.

There are many more organizations which could use our help this holiday season and throughout the year. Volunteer East Tennessee makes finding volunteer opportunities in Knoxville a breeze with their search engine and opportunity calendar. Make sure to check them out too!

I leave you with wishes for a lovely holiday season and a small reminder: no matter how large or small the gesture, there’s always a way to help our less fortunate neighbors.

Which are some of your favorite charitable organizations? Share with us in the comments, as we’d love to add more to this list!

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