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Mother and Daughter Donating with boxes full of goods

The holiday season is a time of family gatherings, decorations, traditions, and gift-giving. Many consider it to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for others the holiday season brings about worry, loneliness, and sadness. That makes it the perfect time to share love and good will with others. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating gifts to children, or participating in a local food drive, it’s easy to spread a little cheer to those less fortunate. Whichever option you choose, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

1.       Do Some Research

To see if a charity is registered to operate in the Commonwealth, contact the Public Charities Division at (617) 727-2200, ext. 2101, and keep in mind these Donating “Do”s and “Don’t”s when giving this season. A little research can ensure your donations help the neediest among us.

2.       Give to a charity or cause you are passionate about.

a.       If you love animals, find a local animal shelter and donate money or time throughout the year. Animal shelters are regularly in need of volunteers, blankets, food, and foster homes.

b.      If you’re passionate about helping the hungry and the homeless, donate healthy, non-perishable items to food banks. Food banks distribute this food to soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters.

c.       To assist families in need, consider donating items such as gently used clothes, toys, books, baby items, small household items, and school supplies. 

3.       Track your donations

Be sure to keep track of what you donate and to which organizations you make donations. Many charitable contributions are tax-deductible, and you may be eligible for a deduction on your income taxes because of your gift.

There’s something rewarding about helping others, especially during the holiday season. You don’t have to be a millionaire or spend days volunteering to make a positive impact in your community — even spare change or a few minutes a day can make a big difference. And remember, charities encourage people to donate throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.

What are the ways in which you donate goods or services to help others? What was your experience? What are the lessons you can share? Comment below or tweet us at @MassGov.

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