Gift to the worldCredit: Deposit Photos

There’s nothing worse than wanting to serve your community and not knowing where the need is. I’m terribly grateful for people who are inspired to open charitable institutions who make it very easy to give. Listed below are my top ten favorite charities in the Vancouver Washington area.

1. Project Linus
This group of volunteers gathers handmade quilts and blankets and gives them to children who have to endure long-term hospital stays or exhausting treatments to become well again. The Portland/Vancouver chapter was established in 2001 and has donated over 35,000 blankets.

2. God’s Closet
Imagine paying one dollar to go to a room filled with clothes so your children won’t be cold this winter, that’s what God’s closet is all about. Each quarter there is a special one dollar per family event. The day before the event volunteers gather to separate clothing into neat piles of newborn through adult. The following day is open for volunteers to help guide the crowd through the room of clothes. It’s a wonderful community event which serves more than 900 families in one day!

3. Angel Trees
You can find an angel tree in many retail stores or at your local church. The idea is to choose an angel from the tree, purchase the gift, and return it to the organization hosting the angel tree. I feel you haven’t truly served until you have managed to do something for someone who can’t pay you back.

4. The Humane Society
The local animal shelter caters to mainly dogs and cats and has a host of volunteer activities to choose from. Every dog is walked in the morning and in the evening, cages must be cleaned, and food and water need refreshing. There are other options if helping directly with animals isn’t the right choice. The laundry room or volunteering with community outreach is a wonderful way to help animals in need.

5. Random Acts of Kindness
This is by far my favorite charity because it can happen in the spur of the moment. Perhaps you let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line, pay for the coffee order for the car behind you, or smile at a harried cashier who appears to be having a rough day. Small acts of goodness ripple out to make the community a better place.

I believe what you give will return to you. When you pinpoint where your community needs you then your time and effort are well spent. Start your list today!