something for christmas…

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christmas is always a wonderful time to serve and give to others.  in the spirit of christmas, we thought it’d be great to work with a charity and give to a specific cause we’re passionate about. after a little research this christmas season, josh and i have chosen to give to save the children.  their stories and mission really touched us, especially as new parents, and we hope our contribution can make a real impact in the lives of a few children and their families.

when we think about it, there seems to be both immediate concerns like basic needs and emergency relief and also things we can do now to make a future impact.  in addition to helping with immediate needs, we like the idea of donating something towards education because it seems to have the ability to provide real change and bring about good in the lives of children around the world. these are the things we want to focus on, and save the children tries to help with all of these.

why are we even talking about this? because we’ve had such great experiences with giving that we’d love to encourage you to donate as well!  if not to this charity, then perhaps to another one.  and if people can’t donate, they can try volunteering.  we really love hearing what other charities people are passionate about.  what are some of the charities you donate to or volunteer your time for?

merry christmas!

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**photos from save the children website.

  1. Paola

    This year I’m buying all the food that I can and I’m donating it to my Church. They will give it to the people who need it in our community.
    Last year I gave a little money to UNICEF. Hopefully I’ll try to do the same this year! UNICEF works great! xo

  2. Sheila

    Thanks for reminding people about children this time of year. I work as an advocate for young children in Iowa and I am amazed by how little attention children get. It seems the only time we talk about them as a nation, is when a tragedy happens. Thank you again – you picked a great charity. They worked in Iowa a few years ago when we had some terrible flooding in Cedar Rapids. Merry Christmas!!!

  3. What a great cause! Thanks for sharing. Our big family celebrated yesterday by cooking and serving food we donated to feed nearly 60 men, women and children at a local mission. So many pounds of bacon, haha! We made it a point to not only provide food, but also conversation. It was wonderful and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to help others. Merry Christmas, Taza!

  4. Sarah

    This is cool! My husband and I donated to Heifer International and “bought” shares llamas or alpacas for families in South America as Christmas gifts for my niece and nephews. We like the idea that the family who receives the llama or alpaca can use the wool for warmth or sell the wool for other goods.

  5. Shannon

    what a great thing to do!

  6. This is so awesome, Naomi! God really put it on my heart do something bigger this year and last week we found a sweet little princess named “Blessing” in Kenya to sponsor. I’ve committed to not only sponsoring her every month but to praying for her daily.
    I went through Compassion International.
    I’m really happy to see giving hearts in you guys… Merry Merry Christmas family of 4 :)

  7. This is so awesome, Naomi! God really put it on my heart do something bigger this year and last week we found a sweet little princess named “Blessing” in Kenya to sponsor. I’ve committed to not only sponsoring her every month but to praying for her daily.
    I went through Compassion International.
    I’m really happy to see giving hearts in you guys… Merry Merry Christmas, family of 4 :)

  8. Megan

    last christmas eve, my family and i went to the Ronald McDonald house and cooked breakfast for all the families that were staying there. it was so fun to see their eyes light up by such a simple service. those poor families go through a lot while their children undergo cancer treatment to organ transplants etc. it was a good way to serve a lot of people, if you didn’t have a lot to give.

    merry christmas taza and family!

  9. Candice

    Look into heifer.org. This is an amazing charity that lets you buy a goat or cow or other animal for families in need. They can use these animals to sell milk and when the animals have babies they pass them on to other families. You can buy mosquito nets, books, give money to educate a child and put them through school, a chicken for food and eggs, you can even buy a family a fresh water well or give money to buy a single mother a seeing machine and classes so she can support herself. There are so many options. It is an amazing charity that my family supports all the time.

  10. I love Doctors Without Borders. Their service and compassion for war-torn countries is absolutely amazing!

  11. Chelsey

    I think that it’s so cool that you took time to think of others before yourself this Christmas! I sponsor a child with Compassion, and it is such a blessing to me receiving letters and drawings from my little Ugandan boy! i have also gone on two missions with YWAM and am currently preparing for my third, and it also has been such a blessing to my spiritual life and all other aspects of my life to meet face to face with these hurting children. i pray that God will bless you and your children for your contribution! Merry Christmas Josh and Naomi!

  12. Annika B.

    What a great cause! We have a godchild in Ethiopia, who gets food and education the whole year because of our monthly donation. It was important for me (as a mom of two little ones) to give something back to a child that is not that fortunate. We chose this way because we liked the idea to accompany this child on its way. The charity organization is called World Vision. Thanks!

  13. Audrey C.

    What a wonderful post! We sponsor a child through Embrace It Africa (http://embraceitafrica.org/embrace_it_Africa/Home.html). This is a small organization run by students and its so transparent–you know that what you’re giving goes to your child and to help the community of Bethlehem, Uganda. We love hearing from our sponsored child and knowing that he can go to school because of our sponsorship makes us feel great year-round! Merry Christmas!

  14. Jessica

    I love World Vision! They share the gospel and give. It always does my heart good. You can donate animals, share of wells, seeds, educational funding, etc.

  15. Stella

    Giving & volunteering are subjects that I am so passionate about! I feel incredibly blessed & want so much to show my gratitude for the material things I’ve been given by giving back to others. So glad to see you talking about this on your blog. So many people think volunteering takes a lot of time, but there are SO many opportunities out there that can match anyone’s needs, interests & time availability.

    I’m currently volunteering with a local mentoring program. I was matched with a 13-year-old girl from a low-income family who has some unique challenges and I absolutely love the time we spend together (usually 2-3 times a month we do some fun activity like going on a hike, making a scrapbook, etc.) I’ve volunteered with a variety of organizations throughout the years & have always enjoyed my experiences. Giving money is great & important too.

    Merry Christmas Eve!

  16. Theresa

    Beautiful! I love that you posted this! Such a wonderful reminder of how we can give back to the community! Thanks for this!

    Theresa
    http://bomamma.blogspot.com

  17. Carley

    Every Christmas my family serves at a local community outreach; providing a free Christmas dinner to those who don’t have the ability to have one of their own.
    My husband and I also decided to not give or receive any gifts at Christmas due to the stress, consumerism, the greed etc..and instead fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
    But my favourite is our sponsor children through Compassion Canada. we want to teach our future children about the importance of giving rather than buying into our North American culture of perpetual want.

  18. Melissa

    We always try to do some kind of special service with our family for Christmas, but this year things just got a little out of hand…my husband had the fabulous last minute idea of going caroling to the elderly people in our neighborhood. I am NO singer, but our little trio did a great job and I hope it touch their hearts. Giving doesn’t always need to be monetary, but I certainly plan to donate to your charity. Thanks for the info and inspiration. Merry Christmas,
    The Real McCoy(s)

  19. Kim

    I love International Justice Mission! Great post. :-)xo, Kim

  20. Stephanie C

    My husband and I donate to Junior Blind of American in our families’ names for Christmas. One of our family members stays there and it’s a nice way to give back – we love this organization so much!
    I also occasionally volunteer for The Help Group as a camp counselor for autistic children, and am a part time volunteer/intern at a Mental Health Facility in Skid Row.

  21. Jennifer F

    I’m really passionate about supporting not for profits and charitable organizations, both by volunteering and through financial support (when I can).

    I live in a city where there is substantial wealth contrasted by substantial poverty, one of my favorite local group is Power to Be (they support kids and families by providing them with access to outdoor activities) and one of my favorite national groups is Canadian National Institute for the Blind (although I volunteer for them annually). Instead of Christmas presents I typically choose organizations within that persons city – my favorites are local soup kitchens, womens transition houses and single father resources.

  22. megan

    I love to share the joy of giving. Save the Children is amazing and I’ve known a few friends who have worked for them in Africa in the past. Whether your heart is touched to help children in your own country or abroad, Save the Children fits that need.

    I would also love to suggest Kiva.org. I’ve worked for them in Ecuador as a Kiva Fellow and I still tell people about this organization as often as I can. You can truly see the impact with as little as a $25 loan. I make at least one loan a month and look forward to the day each month when I receive updates and repayments – so that I can lend the same money again and again! From the US to Uganda, you can choose who you’d like to support. My 76 loans give me great joy and, believe me, the people you lend to really appreciate it! They’re amazed that strangers around the world took time and money to support them, trust them, and believe in them. If anyone is interested, join here: http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/mbond

    Merry Christmas!

  23. HEIDI

    I decided to support http://www.eyes4zimbabwe.org by donating in the name of my friends this year. They provide sight-restoring surgery to young and old with a $15 surgery. What a blessing and gift that we can help give. I’ve had such great responses. Instead of another gift we need to find room for, this is a gift that keeps giving.

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Kim

    Thanks Naomi, it was a great reminder to me. It’s christmas night here in australia. I just saw megan’s post in the comments. Spent a little time reading about KIVA and donated some funds to help a gentleman’s dream come true. Thanks for the inspiration xo

  25. Megan

    Kim – your post made my Christmas morning here in Quito, Ecuador. I love that the internet can connect us in so many ways. From Ecuador to Australia to the Davis family in New York to everyone else (wherever you are): “Bendita sea la temporada que hace vibrar el mundo entero al ritmo del amor” (Blessed is the season which vibrates the whole world to the rhythm of love).

  26. Julie

    this summer I went to teach english and dance with and wash babies in an orphanage in Fort Portal, Uganda. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I think about all the memories I made there and all the new people in my life I met there every day. Especially today. My blog has a pretty detailed account of my trip. MERRY CHRISTMAS TAZA!

  27. Billie

    In High School, I had a club that worked to raise money for an organization called Falling Whistles. They work to rehabilitate women & children affected by the deadly war in Congo, where children are kidnapped from their homes and used as child soldiers.
    The stories are really horrific and heartbreaking, but their smiles are so beautiful. It really tugged at my heartstrings and has become a charity very close to my heart! My school was able to raise between 12-15 thousand dollars for them.
    I really miss working side by side with their organization. They have a couple locations across the US.
    Here’s their site! http://www.fallingwhistles.com

    Merry Christmas to you Naomi and your beautiful family! I look up to you in so many ways :)

    xo
    Billie

  28. Ellen

    This is so great! I am a Young Woman in a stake (and ward!) with a ton of youth and we are always doing service projects…I love it so much! My ward volunteers at a mission to feed the hungry every Christmas Eve and it’s my favorite tradition!

    Your family is oh-so-adorable and I love seeing the sweet memories you share with us. Thank you!

  29. Ashley

    Taza, I love following your blog and your littles are the sweetest. My fiancé and I try to find some way to give back each year and I am very happy about this year. I sponsored part of a dog house through PETA for dogs who are without shelter and I donated some blankets we no longer use to a local animal rescue organization to make beds for the animals waiting to find their forever homes. My fiancé surprised me by sponsoring a little girl through Save the Children. We had talked about sponsoring a child for a while so the fiancé did his research and found Save the Children was the best. I was so excited when he told me. He also sponsored a tiger(they’re my favorite) in my name through World Wildlife Fund. We like to help our four legged friends as much as possible but I am really looking forward to our updates through Save the Children. It is true, it is (most of the time) better to give than to receive. I hope you had a great holiday and may 2013 be amazing!

  30. Anna

    I love that you do this and it’s such a good example for your children! My daughter held a hot cocoa stand this year and gave all proceeds to Save the Children. She was hoping to buy a goat for $50 but she raised $93! and was able to buy a goat and mosquito netting!

    • TAZA

      oh my gosh that is amazing! what a wonderful idea and how great for your daughter! i am going to hold onto this idea and do something similar in the future with my kiddos. thank you for sharing! merry christmas!

  31. Lindsay

    I love to donate to Donorschoose.org. It allows you to give directly to teachers, students and schools in need. They also have gift cards, which make wonderful gifts.

    I work at the national non-profit KaBOOM! – committed to saving play for kids. We are best known for building playgrounds. If you believe that all children deserve a safe place to play, please consider a gift to KaBOOM! – kaboom.org/donate

  32. Emily

    The Ronan Thompson Foundation. Go to ROCKSTARRONAN.COM and change your life.

  33. Erin

    I volunteered with Camp Sizanani in 2007, and so I like to donate to them every Christmas. They are a wonderful organization who provides education and fun to kids from Johannesburg, South Africa for ten days about 4 times a year:) Also, I like to give to the Sisters of Charity.

  34. Coryann

    Last Christmas, my husband and I decided to sponsor a child through Compassion. It has been such a gift to be able to support a little one in need.

  35. I have lived and worked in Africa (Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania) for 7 months of the past year and am currently building an Education Center in a small village in Ghana! Volunteering changed my life when I was a freshman in high school and took my first service trip to Mississippi post hurricane Katrina! I urge everyone to go out there and volunteer, and give to a charity that you feel passionate about! You can read more about my work in Africa (and how to donate) at http://www.together-we-are.com :)

  36. blog

    You are a very clever individual!

  37. Olivia

    In 5th grade, my teacher lost her baby a little less than a month after he was born. He passed of complications related to a difficult birth. That year, her and her husband attended a beautiful retreat sanctuary, Faith’s Lodge, where they could begin their healing process. I’ve gone back and forth between different animal shelters and Operation Rice Bowl, but this year decided to give to Faith’s Lodge in memory of all the beautiful children from Sandy Hook Elementary. I’m hoping that parents who have lost their children will be able to find peace and comfort this Holiday Season. http://www.faithslodge.org/

    Happy Holidays to the Davis Family!
    XO,
    Olivia

  38. Corinne

    Thanks for this post! I recently started donating all my blog proceeds (I don’t make much, mind you) to a different children’s charity I highlight once a month. Its nice to get some good ideas from all your wonderful readers, too.

  39. Vanessa

    What a great post! I know I never really gave in the past and ran into Child Fund and fell in love with the idea of giving especially for the holiday season! I’m so glad to see you and Josh doing the same :)

  40. Sheree H

    Beautiful idea! We do something similar too.

    Sheree
    thehartungs.blogspot.ca