‘Tis the season to reflect on our blessings and seek ways to make life better for those around us. Whether volunteering your time, making a monetary donation, collecting items to give, or just doing good, there are many ways to help NJ charities right now. Scroll down for places where they could use some extra help in making others feel special this #GivingTuesday and holiday season. (featured photo credit: istock/KseniaBazarova)
NJ Charities: Here are some ways to give back this holiday season
Attend a special event
Hoboken Jingle Bell 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run
Put on your Santa suit and lace up your elf shoes. It’s time to sprinkle some holiday cheer. All runners will receive a Santa Suit that they can wear on race day. And if you do not want to run the 5K, you can join the 1-Mile Fun Run.
100 Sinatra Drive South, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Asbury Park Polar Bear Races
It’s the 60th anniversary of the Polar Bear races, and you can participate in a 1-mile run, a 5K run, or a 5K Racewalk. There will be commemorative t-shirts for all participants, awards for the top three male and female finishers, and age group awards.
Asbury Park Convention Center, 1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Donate to a gift drive
Project Self-Sufficiency Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive
The Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive collects new, unwrapped toys for distribution to children and teens in need throughout Sussex, northern Warren, and northern Morris counties. Items can be dropped off at Project Self-Sufficiency in November and December. There are a limited number of other drop-off locations, and you can check their website for more information. Donations of gift wrap, ribbons, gift bags, and boxes are also appreciated.
127 Mill Street, Newton, NJ 07860, and additional locations
Through this signature program of Monmouth County’s Family & Children’s Services (FCS), you can help brighten a family’s holiday season. Operation Sleighbells serves more than 1,500 children annually by enlisting hundreds of local businesses, churches, organizations, and families to donate warm coats, hats, gloves, toys, and infant necessities to families who may be struggling, and both the sponsor and the recipient remain anonymous.
191 Bath Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740
Kids crave routines, especially in places like foster homes and shelters. The Pajama Program helps create comforting bedtimes for kids and boosts literacy through pajama and book donations. The New Jersey chapter strives to encourage that change locally, and they have drop-off locations spread across several counties—to find one near you, click here. Like many NJ Charities, make sure to call ahead of time for some location drop-offs.
PO Box 36, Middletown, NJ 07748
Share a meal with someone in need
Move For Hunger’s Season of Giving Food Drive
More than 9.4 million Americans are struggling to put food on the table. Spread some holiday cheer by holding a food drive in your neighborhood. Enlist your kids to create and distribute flyers to encourage friends, family, and neighbors to donate non-perishable items like instant potatoes, canned vegetables, gravy, cake mix, pie filling, and hot chocolate. Celebrate the season of giving and show your kids that it can be fun to help others—it’s a win-win.
7 Third Avenue, Neptune, NJ 07753
Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey Family
The Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey in Camden is a home base for families whose children receive specialized treatment for life-threatening illnesses and diseases at nearby hospitals. They also operate 11 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in area hospitals in South Jersey. You can volunteer, donate, or give financial support.
550 Mickle Blvd., Camden, NJ 08103
Center for Food Action
The Center for Food Action (CFA) in Englewood provides food, housing, utility assistance, and advocacy services to northern New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents. Help families keep meals on their tables by collecting food this holiday season—and beyond. Bring your food donations to any of their five open food pantries during business hours.
192 W. Demarest Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
JBJ Soul Kitchen
JBJ Soul Kitchen (with two locations in Red Bank and Toms River) is a nonprofit Community Restaurant run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation that serves paying and in-need customers. You can also register to volunteer—expect to talk with the patrons, serve food, and clear tables (for 15 years or older).
Red Bank- 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
Toms River- 1769 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753
Volunteer or donate to local NJ charities
Volunteer at RWJBarnabas Health
Volunteers provide a vital part of the high-quality care the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospitals are known for. When you become a volunteer, you join a team that genuinely touches the lives of patients, families, visitors, and staff. By contributing your time and talent, you’ll be helping others, meeting new people, and learning new skills. Check out the volunteer programs for adults and teens at the New Brunswick campus.
Moms Helping Moms
The Moms Helping Moms Foundation provides low-income families in New Jersey with essential mom-and-baby items like diapers to give their children a safe, happy, and healthy start. You can donate money, time, and items or host a period or diaper supply drive.
223 Stirling Road, Suite E, Warren, NJ 07059
TRUE Mentors in Hoboken is a not-for-profit organization founded to help children develop strong relationships that allow them to reach their full potential. Sign up as a mentor for the 1:1 program or enrichment clubs program.
601 Jackson Street, 4th Floor, Ring Apt. #2, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer
To continue fulfilling research grants, this family-run charity in Middletown works to help researchers and doctors discover better cancer treatments for children. Each year, the nonprofit selects a different childhood cancer to focus on and sends all its donations to those research teams. Support the cause by starting a fundraising campaign, helping a specific family, volunteering your talents, or making a monetary donation.
PO Box 4064, Middletown, NJ 07748
The Michael Gerard Puharic Memorial Fund, Inc. is a Matawan-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing comfort and easing the burden for parents carrying and caring for seriously ill newborns. Consider volunteering, donating, or organizing a fundraising event.
PO Box 787, Matawan, NJ 07747
Asbury Park Music Foundation
The foundation’s life-changing music programs provide underprivileged youth in the area with confidence, discipline, and opportunities that improve their future success and economic mobility. Invest in kids who benefit from this program by giving money, buying merch from their online store, or even donating new and gently used instruments or video/audio equipment (check the FAQs for more details).
621 Lake Avenue, Unit 1C, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Color A Smile
Color A Smile is a Morristown-based organization that distributes cheerful drawings to senior citizens, troops overseas, and anyone needing a smile. It’s a fun way for littles to give back—and they get to express their creativity at the same time. Simply download a printable art page from the organization’s website (or have your kids create their own drawings), color it in with your littles, have them sign it, and then send it to Color A Smile. Looking to get more involved? Organize a coloring party with friends and family to spread joy to others this holiday season.
PO Box 1516, Morristown, NJ 07962
Bridges Outreach, Inc.
Bridges works to end homelessness through volunteer-driven outreach and individual case management focusing on health, housing, and independence. Consider donating, dropping off clothing, or buying something from their Amazon wishlist. You can also organize a drive to collect much-needed items. And if you want to provide meals, get the whole family to put together fresh and sustainable lunches at home.
120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901
Bridge of Books Foundation
Wondering what to do with all the books that your kids have outgrown? This organization in Rumson can help get them into the hands of underprivileged kids. They provide books throughout needy communities in New Jersey to support literacy skills and encourage a love of reading. Want to get more involved? Host a book drive and have your kids create flyers to get the word out. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for drop-off days and times.
PO Box 39, Rumson, NJ 07760
Catsbury Park focuses on unwanted cats, where you can donate, buy from their online shop, or even browse pets you can adopt. Or, if you’re looking to bring a pet into the family, you’ll fill out a detailed survey, and then Catsbury Park staff will use that information to match you up with a cat from a shelter.
Adoption Center and Lounge: 901 3rd Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Meals on Wheels
Nine million seniors face the threat of hunger, with millions more living alone and feeling isolated, especially during the last year and a half. Meals on Wheels provides meals (and a bit of socialization) to senior citizens and needs your help more than ever. You can sign up to prepare meals in the kitchen or deliver meals to seniors—the need for volunteers varies by community. If you want to help in other ways, make a cash donation or start a fundraiser to raise even more money for this vital program.
1-888-998-6325 to find a local chapter in NJ near you
Which NJ charities will you donate to this #GivingTuesday?
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