Brightening the Holidays: Knoxville’s Charitable Organizations {2015}

Brighteningtheholidays

The holidays can be filled with bright and merry moments for those fortunate enough to be surrounded by family, health, and love. But for many of our neighbors, it can be a dark and lonely time, during which life’s misfortunes seem to weigh most heavily. As we enter into the time of year filled with acts of kindness and generosity, we find ourselves looking for organizations with which we can work to make the holidays brighter for those who need it most.

Since launching two years ago, several of KMB’s post have been about teaching our children (and reminding ourselves) about the importance of being thankful and appreciative. We’ve participated in a 30 days of thankful photo-a-day project, learned how to make a DIY thankful board perfect for Thanksgiving, taught our children how to perform random acts of kindness that have a far and lasting reach into the hearts of perfect strangers in need, and have encouraged our children to write down what they are thankful for with this easy to make DIY thankful tree. So, it’s no surprise that when I asked my fellow KMB contributors about their favorite charitable organizations in Knoxville, the list was long; in fact, many of the KMB ladies and their families are actively involved in some wonderful charitable organizations in town.

With no further ado, here are some of our favorite charitable organizations:

Child Help East Tennessee Auxiliary – dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Youth and young adults are encouraged to participate in the Wings Ambassador of Help program.

Clothe My Children – works to eliminate social inequities caused by the lack of adequate clothing. Volunteer for their upcoming clothing distribution event 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. Volunteer by sponsoring a child or several children in a family by purchasing and wrapping toys, games, books and clothing. Email Rebecca McKnight for more information.

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. Click here to download their Adult Volunteer Application.

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.

Hosea’s Heart a survivor led non-profit that exists to end the sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of women through prevention, intervention, and restoration. You may help by donating, assisting with outreach items, joining our prayer team, or inviting our founder to speak at your church or event. For more information, please visit www.hoseasheartknox.org or contact [email protected]

Hug Knoxville – a community of parents and children doing kid-friendly service projects together around Knoxville. Events listed on their Facebook page.

Knoxville Area Rescue Missions (KARM) – offers rescue services of food and shelter to those in need. Donate and/or volunteer through KARM’s various events including the Baskets of Hope on Sunday, November 22, 2015; the Thanksgiving Celebration on Thanksgiving morning from 11am-1pm; and Coats for the Cold distribution day on Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 8am-noon. Coat collection days are November 2-24, 2015.

Mission of Hope – delivers hope to the 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. Accepts non-cash donations and offers 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 18, 2015 and December 22-23, 2015 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 (deadline for financial contributions is January 8, 2016).

Project Gabriel – founded by own very own Lauren, Project Gabriel gives support, encouragement, and community to the 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.

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 Angel Tree – provides clothing items, gifts, and toys to Knox County’s (and surrounding metro area) neediest children during the holiday season. Donate and/or volunteer by becoming a tree staffer, gift processor, sorter/checker, or gift wrapper.

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

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.

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 Knoxville page for information about volunteer opportunities.

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

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

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