Feeling Scroogey? Or Just Generous? Here Are Some Charitable Ideas For The Holidays

Here, you’ll find more information about the holiday events that have charitable connections and elements. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the organizations doing and supporting good work during the Christmas season. Know of others? Send them my way: liz.johnstone@dmagazine.com. As always, before giving to a charity, it’s best to check its legitimacy. The Wise Giving Alliance has a national list of verified organizations.

The Polyphonic Spree Holiday Extravaganza. This is the 10th year of holiday festivities for Tim DeLaughter’s gang of Christmas carolers. This year’s line-up includes the Contemporary Cello Quartet, Dallas Zoo Animal Adventures, Syncopated Ladies, and Gustafer Yellowgold. Of course, The Polyphonic Spree will also be gracing the stage to perform a rock set and a holiday set. All ages (kids age 4 and under are free), smoke free, awesomeness. As usual, you can help make the season bright by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots (and a canned good for the North Texas Food Bank). Lakewood Theater, Dec. 22.

Drop by Urban Taco. Both the Uptown and Mockingbird locations have partnered with Young Texans Against Cancer for a toy drive that benefits the Children’s Medical Center’s Center For Cancer and Blood Disorders but also benefits you. Each new, unwrapped toy you give equals a complimentary holiday beverage in your hand.

Medical City Children’s Hospital’s Celebration Party. Your toy donation is your ticket to the family-oriented festivities. Kids can write letters to Santa and put the letters right in his hand. Plus, there will be games, crafts, and drawings for prizes such as an Xbox and an iPad. Dec. 9, 2-4 p.m. at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Register in advance here.

Captain Hope’s Kids, a local nonprofit that provides help to homeless children throughout North Texas, is in the middle of their holiday toy drive. How can you help? Donate a few hours of your time to sort through all the donations and make sure every kid gets something age and gender-appropriate. It’s kinda like being one of Santa’s elves. Just let the organization know you’re coming so they know how many folks to expect by signing up online (the “hero application“) or giving the program coordinator Sam Mattox a call at 214-630-5765, ext. 317. There are other volunteer opportunities, as well, so check their website. Dec. 1, 8, and 15, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Captain Hope’s Kids, 10555 Newkirk, Ste. 580, Dallas.

While visiting Santa at NorthPark Center, you’ll also find Salvation Army bell ringers manning their familiar red kettles through Dec. 24. In addition, help out a needy child by grabbing a name off the Salvation Army Angel Tree. The tree is right next to Santa’s Village near Macy’s, and will stay up through Dec. 12 (the last day to drop off gifts). The Trains at NorthPark benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, and the SPCA will have a pet adoption center open on Level One between Macy’s and Dillard’s daily through Dec. 23.

Speaking of the Salvation Army, you can also find Angel Trees at these malls: Galleria, Collin Creek, Golden Triangle, Grapevine Mills, Hulen, Ridgmar, Northeast, Town East, and Parks in Arlington. Adopt a child or a family for the holidays.

All proceeds from the Children’s Medical Center Parade benefit the nonprofit hospital’s patients. Downtown, Dec. 1.

The S.M. Wright Foundation is dedicated year-round to helping needy families in the Fair Park/South Dallas community. But for one day in December, the foundation organizes a big event in Fair Park called Christmas in the Park to spread holiday cheer. Those in need are invited to come for basics, like food and clothing, as well as toys (including big stuff, like bikes) to help make a child’s Christmas wish come true. You can help make the day a success by donating money or volunteering your time. Dec. 15, Automobile Building at Fair Park.

Make an end of the year donation to the Genesis Women’s Shelter, a worthy organization that helps battered women and their children start a new life. It’s tax-deductible. In addition, you can adopt a family for the holidays (contact Murphey Sears at msears@genesisshelter.org or 214-389-7701), purchase holiday cards, or gift someone a copy of the book Noah’s Shoes. 100% of proceeds benefit Genesis.

Planning to attend the Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Christmas Carol, running at the Kalita Humphreys Theater through Dec. 23. Bring a canned food item to donate to the North Texas Food Bank.

And while we’re on the subject of the North Texas Food Bank, there are plenty of ways to help ensure no one goes hungry. Each canned food drive the food bank conducts costs them $100 of money better spent elsewhere, so NTFB encourages donating online. You can also purchase a calendar or holiday greeting cards, volunteer your time, or shop at Whole Foods. My favorite, though, is the chance to hit up the Neiman Marcus holiday crawl tubes on the designated adult days. For a $20 donation, you can pretend to be a kid again and enjoy a complimentary beverage from  Neiman’s espresso bar.

Closer to Fort Worth? The Tarrant Area Food Bank needs your canned good donations. TAFB also offers holiday card services (they’ll address your envelopes and everything, and each card has a tasty recipe from a notable Fort Worth chef), plus there’s Walter Kaufmann Chef’s Holiday Pantry at Ridgmar Mall. Give the gift of gourmet cakes, pies, cookies, breads, yule logs, muffins and more from over 40 Fort Worth restaurants and bakeries on Dec. 22, 10 a.m.- 4p.m.