(Mainly) Local Giving Tuesday


Feeling a little indulgent after Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Here’s a fix: Giving Tuesday! We’ve compiled a list of (mostly) local charitable organizations doing important work in our communities, and in dire need. (Please note: there are many worthy non-profits on the Shoreline and this is not a comprehensive list, but a selection of those that we are familiar with).

Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries

Food kitchens and pantries are located in most towns along the CT Shoreline and provide enough food for three meals for three days for those who attend, and those in their household. Those in need are welcome to attend one distribution per week. It’s easy to donate perishable or non-perishable food to specific pantries. A full list is on the website. Prefer to be more hands on? Find  out how to volunteer to prepare or serve food at monthly volunteer meetings. More info and a full list of foods needed and donation locations are on the website: shorelinesoupkitchens.org


Safe Futures

Safe Futures saves lives, restores hope and changes the future for those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault in southeastern Connecticut. Here’s a handy holiday gift list, or purchase on Amazon for their online emergency shelter wish list: www.safefuturesct.org/Holiday-Giving-Program-2017.pdf. Or donate online here: www.safefuturesct.org



Since 1982 IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services) has been helping refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. There are so many ways to help, from donating winter clothing, furniture and household items to sponsoring a family, volunteering, or donating much needed cash. Participate in the Run for Refugees coming up on  February 4th. Find out more at:  www.irisct.org


Simply Sharing

Simply Sharing’s aim is to help end homelessness in Connecticut. Monetary donations and everything from pots and pans to furniture are welcome, and they’ll even come pick up:  www.simplysharing.org



The SARAH Family of Agencies provides programs and services to people with differing abilities who live in Connecticut. www.sarahfoundation.org


Vista Life Innovations

Vista provides services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. You can help with monetary donations, shopping at Creations in Madison (a wonderful holiday gift destination filled with local products), participating in their upcoming Paint Night at 30 Mile Brewing on December 13th, or buying some of their famous peanut or almond brittle for family and friends: Find our more and other ways to help at: www.vistalifeinnovations.org


Child and Family of Southeastern CT

Child and Family’s programs support children’s mental health, physical healthcare, the  prevention of child abuse, the treatment of family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, child guidance, and childcare. With a heritage that dates from 1809, Child and Family has grown to become the largest non-profit children’s social service provider in southeastern Connecticut.  Child & Family presents the Essex Holiday House Tour on December 9th, a festive self-guided walking tour featuring seven Essex village homes – from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries – all beautifully decorated for the holidays, plus a holiday boutique with all proceeds benefiting The Agency.  Find out how to donate or volunteer here:  www.childandfamilyagency.org


Roses for Autism

Sending flowers this holiday? Consider blooms from Roses for Autism, a garden store in Guilford that grows and sells fragrant fresh cut roses, and other unique gifts while also providing career training and mentorship to young adults with autism and other disabilities.  rosesforautism.com


Raise the Roof

Raise the Roof is dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing through community participation that includes financial support, volunteer labor and leadership for local, national and global Habitat for Humanity International builds.  Find out how to donate, volunteer or participate in a build here:  raisetheroofct.org  Shop, donate or volunteer at Wallingford’s Restore: http://newhavencountyrestore.org.


Women and Family Life Center

Women & Family Life Center empowers women and their families to face challenges and transitions in their lives with grace and dignity. Within a safe and intimate setting on the Connecticut shoreline:

•Women and families in crisis move to new strength

•Life transitions become a time of positive change rather than a time of isolation, fear, and financial distress

•Women and families are able to access a strong network of support, education, and community

Find out more here: www.womenandfamilylife.org


Read to Grow

Providing books to children and families in Connecticut to promote literacy and language skills, regardless of income, and helping eradicate low literacy in early childhood, which is a predictor for high drop out rates in high school.  readtogrow.org


The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education

Based here in Old Lyme, The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education is a scholarship granting organization that provides funding for pre-K through university bachelor’s degree to over 450 students in more than 60 schools across Haiti’s rural Artibonite Valley. The future of Haiti is education and every dime donated goes directly to the students. Find our more: www.crosbyfund.org


Free the Girls

And here’s an easy one: I’m sure every woman I know has a forlorn collection of bras in their top drawer, bought with high hopes, but either fit or comfort was lacking in the end. I gave my lingerie drawer a thorough clean-out recently and sent a heap of barely worn, practically new (and one with tags), to Free the Girls. This charity helps girls rescued from sex trafficking live a life of freedom. Find out more here (and clean out that drawer!): freethegirls.org


Help Puerto Rico

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Lin Manuel Miranda’s (of Hamilton fame) hit, Almost Like Praying on You Tube. All downloads of the video and song go to The Hispanic Federation, which is on the ground and in the most stricken communities of Puerto Rico. The island has a long way to go to recovery and  you can help by donating to:  hispanicfederation.org


Call to Care Uganda

This Madison-based charity’s mission is to aid vulnerable children and those who care for them in Uganda through health and education initiatives. Find out how to sponsor a school, volunteer or donate here: www.calltocareuganda.org/help.html