Current Obsessions: The Gift of Giving

Happy New Year! This week, in lieu of our usual roundup, we’re instead sharing our other current obsessions: favorite organizations doing good in the world. In place of presents or just because, here are a few worthy places to donate to, this season and all year round.

And from all of us at Remodelista, Gardenista, and The Organized Home, wishing you a happy and healthy year ahead.

A snug favorite. Photograph by Tom Fallon, courtesy of Retrouvius, from A Rustic Townhouse Remodel by London’s Masters of Salvage.
Above: A snug favorite. Photograph by Tom Fallon, courtesy of Retrouvius, from A Rustic Townhouse Remodel by London’s Masters of Salvage.


“I love the mission of New York-based organization Heart of Dinner: “to combat food insecurity and isolation within NYC’s elderly Asian American community,” reports Fan. The nonprofit delivers weekly care packages filled with culturally appropriate hot meals, pantry items, and fresh groceries to elderly AAPI in need of assistance.”


“My college friend Christa d’Souza is very involved in this effort to resettle 450 Afghani female students. All donations go to the girls’ needs,” says Julie. Find it at 30 Birds Foundation.


Maine Needs is doing a world of good locally, but they’re also setting an example for how to donate mindfully and generously no matter where you live,” Annie writes. “In a world where many people think of the donation bin as a catch-all, they’ve been called ‘the pickiest donation center in Maine,’ encouraging community members to think of donating like gifting and to contribute only new and best-condition clothes and household goods. ‘One time, we received a garbage bag full of baby clothes covered in black mold, and it made us question if this effort was sustainable,’ they say on their site. ‘Another time, someone tied up their folded clothes in twine and made cute little tags that we couldn’t get over.’ If you’re not local, you can contribute to the cause by donating money; $20 buys three cleaning kits or two full packages of diapers.” She also suggests Planned Parenthood, this time of year and always, and, for animal lovers, the aptly named Best Friends rescue organization, “which rescued our sleepy but opinionated senior pup from the kill shelter.”


“During the course of researching his new book, Cheap Land Colorado, my husband got to know La Puente, a multifaceted charity that operates one of the largest rural homeless shelters in one of the poorest parts of the country.” She also suggests The New York Botanical Garden, “for providing a cultivated green oasis in the Bronx where I live,” and the Center for Reproductive Rights, “for obvious reasons.”


“Unicef has an amazing gift shop at the holidays. Choose from a wide range of donations: For £10, you can buy a gift box of essential supplies including high-energy peanut paste, water purification tablets, measles vaccines, exercise books, and pencils. A donation of £135 buys a “school in a box” for 40 children. This comes in the form of an aluminum suitcase packed with educational materials including a solar/wind-up radio and an inflatable globe for geography lessons.”


The New York Flora Association funds science and conserves plants. NYFA mission’s is to’promote an appreciation and knowledge of the flora of New York through conservation, research, and public education and outreach.’


“With sea levels rising, so has my interest in The Surfrider Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting the world’s beaches and oceans plus reducing the impact of plastics in marine environments.”


Gardenista contributor Joy recommends The Raptor Trust. “From humble beginnings of saving injured birds, especially ducks in their home’s bathtub, the Soucy’s The Raptor Trust has grown into a nationally known bird rescue and rehabilitation facility. Birds are an integral part of our ecosystem, and with habitat destruction, we need to save the birds—all of them.”


And Gardenista contrib. Melissa says: “Mom’s Clean Air Force is a powerhouse nonprofit rallying parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to protect children from air pollution and climate change. The organization works both locally and nationally on policy issues. They write, ‘We consider ourselves Mompartisan. Protecting children’s health is a nonpartisan issue.’ Another pick: Perfect Earth Project is working to change the landscaping industry’s harmful ‘noise and poison’ approach by promoting toxic-free lawn and landscape care.”


“The more I think about ‘outdoors,’ the more I realize that people see the world in an upside-down way. Buglife promotes the diffident, overlooked and misunderstood creatures that are the foundation of life on earth and in your backyard.”

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