Sometimes it seems like the news is all bad: Nearly every day, more reports of violence and tragedy, at home and abroad. It can be tough to get into the gift-giving spirit when you really want to contribute something useful, whether to victim relief or the prevention of further crimes, but you aren’t sure how. The truth is there are many ways in which you can give and get involved right now. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you started.
Send Aid to Syrian Refugees
To help out those who're actively working to prevent refugees from meeting the same fate as the 2600 or so who've drowned en route to safety this year, you can support Migrant Offshore Aid Station or Doctors Without Borders. Other such organizations include:
Aylan Kurdi & Syria’s Child Victims of War: Named for the young child whose body washed ashore in Turkey (and whose photo was widely circulated), funds go to Hand in Hand for Syria.
UNICEF: As winter approaches, blankets, vaccines, winter clothes and food will be crucial for refugees.
Save the Children: Supports education for children living in refugee camps, providing stability and hope for those whose lives are in limbo.
International Committee of the Red Cross: 93.5 percent of donations go to fieldwork (as opposed to office overhead), and just $90 can feed a refugee family for 2 months.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): Like UNICEF, UNHCR is preparing refugees for the harsh winter ahead by providing survival supplies and shelters.
The International Rescue Committee: Helps manage the thousands of refugees arriving daily, providing clean water and an understanding of legal rights and options.
Support Survivors of Gun Violence
In 2015, there've been more mass shootings in the U.S. alone than days of the year. So many lives are forever changed. Here, a few ways to support survivors (and victims' families) of recent tragedies at home and abroad.
San Bernardino United Relief Fund: Text “SBUNITED” to 71777 to donate.
The mayor has set up a fund for victims.
Donate to support the family of victim Michael Wetzel, who left behind 6 children.
Individual funds have been set up for victims Jennifer Markovsky and Officer Garrett Swasey.
The Friend of Fondation de France: A new organization meant to foster tolerance in French society, give aid to victims and their families and heal those who have been radicalized in an attempt to prevent further violence.
Red Cross: Deployed hundreds of volunteers to help out in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
Nick Alexander Memorial Fund: Alexander was the merchandise manager for Eagles of Death Metal. He was killed in the Bataclan attacks.
Advocate For Gun Reform
We’re not here to argue politics, but reports indicate that stricter gun laws can lead to a decrease in gun violence. Here, some advocacy organizations working to make changes.
Everytown for Gun Safety: Encourages community education across the US.
Americans for Responsible Solutions: Founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011.
The Brady Campaign: Founded by James Brady, President Reagan's press secretary who was shot during an assassination attempt and later became a leader in the gun control space.
Advocate For Racial Equality
In addition to Black Lives Matter, here are some organizations you can support, and where you can make your voice heard.
Black Youth Project 100: Trains young black activists in grassroots organizing skills and mobilizes them around issues such as racial profiling and police brutality.
STOP Chicago: Fights for human rights through organizing, education and leadership development among people most directly affected by issues like gentrification, displacement, incarceration and criminalization of youth of color.
Assata's Daughters: Focuses on growth and empowerment of young black women in Chicago.
National Lawyers Guild: Brings together lawyers, law students and legal workers to protect human rights.