'Tis the Season to Donate

It's the end of the year, and for non-profits, that means scrambling for donations from kind folks like yourselves. I know because I run one. Many people have also opted to make donations in honor of loved ones for the holiday season, which I think is a fantastic idea as most of us have too much "stuff."

So, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of my fave organizations that you may feel compelled to support. Remember that no donation is too small. I always thought that was a bit of a cliche; however, it is true. I would rather get a few dollars donated than nothing at all.

A Well-Fed World "is a hunger relief and animal protection organization chipping away at two of the world's most immense, unnecessary and unconscionable forms of suffering... the suffering of people from lack of food and the suffering of animals used as food." They offer a handful of programs, including one which provides grants to organizations addressing vegan issues and another called the PB&J campaign. Now that is a campaign I can get behind!

Food Empowerment Project is another organization addressing food justice issues from the vegan perspective. They are the ones behind the fantastic chocolate list that works to identify slave labor chocolates. I love, love, love this group and its founder, Lauren Ornelas. Click here for just one of her inspiring talks.

Animal sanctuaries & rescues are certainly worthy of our support. When looking to donate to animal causes, I encourage you to investigate - as not all animal organizations operate from a vegan perspective. Some groups have no problems holding fundraisers that exploit one group of animals while benefiting another. You can read my feelings about that at Your Daily Vegan. Here are some of the smaller groups doing great things  - where your dollar will certainly go a long way:

Ohio SPCA provides sanctuary to over 100 farm & companion animals. They are leaders in the state in fighting for rural county pound reform and intervening in cruelty cases. I had the pleasure of assisting with their bust of a puppymill last year in which nearly 250 dogs were saved. They are not affiliated with the ASPCA and run solely on donations. 

Lasa Sanctuary is an up & coming sanctuary housing 40+ animals in northeast Ohio. I became friendly with one of the founders, Joy, when we were both living elsewhere and struggling to make a difference in the lives of companion animals by operating rescues in areas of rural Ohio. Eventually, she bought a farm, and I moved to the city (no cows for me - boo!).

Sunrise Sanctuary was found in 2001 and is located in central Ohio. Home to over 170 animals, Sunrise hosts an annual "Thanksgiving For the Turkeys" that I hope to one year attend. I mean, look at these beauties:

Uplands PEAK Sanctuary is a brand new organization in southern IN. Their first residents, piglets Annie & Andy, are adorable - duh. This group plans on opening to the public in Spring 2014 and are currently holding a matching fund drive - with the chance of obtaining $10,000, which is a huge amount of money for a start-up sanctuary.

Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League is my animal advocacy organization, and of course I am going to mention it. We are a very small group but have placed over 350 companion animals since 2005. I co-founded this group when I lived in Mansfield, where the plight of cats and dogs is pretty dismal. Now that I live in Cleveland, we don't foster as many companion animals as we once did as we are short on space & qualified foster homes; however, we still organize the only low-cost spay.neuter clinic back in Mansfield for cats & dogs and often subsidize costs for low-income families. When we do take in fosters, we try to take the more medically needy ones that have less chance of being saved from shelters. One of my current fosters is Shiloh -

Alley Cat Allies - cuz they advocate for feral cats. 'Nuff said.
Music & Memory's mission is  to bring "personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life." The power of music is incredible. If you don't believe me, watch this:

And of course, there is always the idea of donating non-perishable vegan food to your local food pantry, like peanut butter and canned beans. There are many deserving organizations. I hope you choose to donate and extend the circle of compassion.