Where To Donate This Holiday Season

With the financial crisis, donations are down and need is up this holiday season.

The Salvation Army told 7NEWS donations are down 30 percent, while the need is up 10 percent.

How can you help? You can give money, time and even donations of items like clothing and furniture. Here are some options:

The Salvation Army's Intermountain Division will take your donation online; the organization also needs volunteers.

The Denver Rescue Mission has a section on its Web site that lists "ways to help." It includes financial donations and a call for volunteers to serve on mentoring teams to provide various kinds of support to participating families ranging from spiritual guidance to financial assistance. If you want to donate items, the current list of needs includes nonperishable canned food, diapers of all sizes, blankets and clothing for men, women & children. Call the Rescue Mission for more details at 303-297-1815.

Want to give your time? Metro Volunteers has all kinds of opportunities, from a few hours one time only to ongoing projects. Volunteers are needed for projects such as handing out food and toys to the needy this Friday afternoon in Aurora, leading nature programs at South Platte Park and helping kids make holiday arts and crafts. Visit the Metro Volunteers Web site or call 303-282-1234.

The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Denver has a wish list of needed items including everything from warm winter outerwear to IT help. Other requests include a filing cabinet that locks, paper towels, suitcases, laundry soap, spoons and baby spoons, cleaning supplies, a vacuum and a DVD player. The network also takes financial donations and if you're selling items on eBay, there's a way for you to donate a portion of the sales. Just visit the group's Web site for details or call 303-675-0713.

Want to give, but want to know more information about the charity first? Visit GivingFirst.org. GivingFirst features the missions, programs, successes and financial records of hundreds of local nonprofits – and easy ways to support them online. The site is sponsored by the Community First Foundation. If you donate through this Web site, 100 percent of your donation goes to the charities. The Community First Foundation supports the nonprofit community by paying all credit card processing fees. You can reach the Community First Foundation at 720-898-5900.

The Gold Crown Foundation operates the Gold Crown Computer Clubhouse, a free after-school program open to youth in the Alameda corridor who are generally economically disadvantaged. More than 50 percent of its members qualify for free and reduced lunch. The Clubhouse provides kids with the opportunity to learn high-tech skills in areas of interest such as Web design, video game design, music recording and production, print production, artistic expression, robotics and more. You can help with financial donations or become an adult mentor and work in the computer clubhouse. You don't need computer expertise, because the kids know how to run computers better than many adults, but the adult presence has a tremendous positive impact on the children. For details, call 303-233-6776 ext 226.

Girls Incorporated of Metro Denver inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. The gruops takes financial donations and requests volunteers. Volunteers are needed to help instructors, mentor students, tutor, provide creative supervisory support during the after-school “free-time” period and offer administrative assistance in a variety of departments. Girls Inc can be reached at 303-893-4363.

You can help put a little wildlife in a child's life by helping ELK or Environmental Learning for Kids. To get involved, call 303-291-7554 or 720-217-1736.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since being founded in 1983, the chapter has granted nearly 3,000 wishes to eligible Colorado children. You can get involved by volunteering in the office, at events or as a wish grantor. Make-A-Wish also has service projects for teachers and their classes. And of course, they take financial donations. You can reach Make-A-Wish at 303-750-9474.

You can make a holiday wish come true through When You Wish Upon A Tree. A local mother-daughter team is trying to provide the holiday needs and wants for the residents at Champa House. In addition to traditional holiday wishes, the women are also purchasing kitchenware, bedroom and bath sets, baby shower needs for incoming mothers, and women’s birthday presents for the residents. Champa House is a transitional rehabilitation facility offering long-term help toward self-sufficiency to single mothers and their children.

Denver Hospice needs volunteers at its care center and also donations to help those who can’t afford hospice services. Hospice provides care for the terminally ill and grief counseling for adults and children. Denver Hospice can be reached at 303-321-2828.

Don't forget that animals need your help, too. There are lots of shelters in the metro area that take donations of your time, money and even dog and cat food. A few to consider:

MaxFund. It has a fundraiser going on where you donate money and an artist will draw a photo of your pet. For details, visit draw your dog fundraiser. MaxFund's wish list for donations includes items such as: White copy paper, food, cream cheese (it helps dogs take pills, and they love it!), 1-and 2-gallon zip-top bags, sturdy leashes and toys for dogs and cats. The MaxFund can be reached at 303-595-4917.

The Dumb Friends League takes financial donations, vehicle donations and it needs volunteers to fostering animals. For details on fostering animals click here or check out the Dumb Friends League's wish list. You can call the Dumb Friends League in Denver or Castle Rock at 303-751-5772.

The Table Mountain Animal Shelter in Golden takes donations. You can reach them at 303-278-7575.

The Humane Society of Boulder County offers refuge to over 8,000 animals each year. Donors can help in many ways including shopping at the Humane Society thrift shop, shopping at HW Home, adopting an animal, donate your holiday points at Superior Liquor or donating an item on the wish list of needs.

Samaritan House is a shelter for homeless men, women and children in Denver. Samaritan House assists with resources such as case management, employment counseling and resources, job training, and family and child services. Samaritan House provides services to over 300 people every day, most of whom can stay for a period of 30-90 days. To reach Samaritan House, call 303-294-0241.

If you're looking for a unique way to help children, get involved with the Young Americans Bank in Denver. It's the only bank in the world designed especially for people under 22. You can get involved by donating or by volunteering.

Boulder Safehouse has been helping victims of domestic violence for more than 27 years. SPAN, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence offers services for victims of interpersonal violence and promote nonviolence and social justice through violence prevention education. You can get involved by donating your time or money. Donations of items such as clothing, toys, and household appliances are accepted through ARES Thrift Shop, located at 2536 Spruce Street, just east of Folsom in Boulder.

EFAA, the Emergency Family Assistance Association has been helping needy families since 1918 with food, rent, utility bills, minor medical expenses, transportation, furniture, and case management services. Most gifts come in the form of checks, but EFAA currently needs items for its food bank such as canned tuna or chicken, pasta, creamy soups, crackers, shampoo, eggs and meat. You can reach EFAA in Boulder at 303-442-3042.

The Red Cross Mile High Chapter takes financial donations and has opportunities for volunteers are young as 14 years old. Call the Red Cross at 303-722-7474.

Looking for a unique way to help? Consider Heifer.org The group donates livestock and training to families aruond the world to help them achieve self-reliance. In fiscal year 2007, Heifer had 867 active projects in 53 countries/provinces and 28 U.S. states. Livestock gifts are passed from recipient to recipient until entire communities are transformed. Donors can get involved by giving money or time at locations in the United States or in other countries. Visit the volunteer section of Heifer's Web site.

The Kempe Center fights for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The Kempe Center takes financial donations and needs volunteers to achieve its mission. The Kempe Center is in Denver, it can be reached at 303-864-5300.

Want to get your hands dirty? How about helping Habitat for Humanity's Denver chapter build homes? Individual volunteers are needed along with volunteer groups for building projects. Volunteers can also be used at local outlet stores, the office and to work on a variety of committees. Donors can send money or donate furniture, building materials and other items. Habitat for Humanity can be reached at 303-534-2929.

There are other Habitat locations in Colorado in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

Colorado's own Jeremy Bloom has a group that enriches the lives of low-income seniors by providing a life-changing event. To get involved, visit the Web site for Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime through his Donna Wheeler Foundation.

The Mile High United Way partners with more than 80 community organizations to help people in metro Denver. Donors can give through automatic payroll deductions or one-time donations with a check or credit card. The Denver chapter's Web site said "we are committed to keeping our administrative expenses low. Over the course of our five-year plan, we are investing 85 percent of all donations toward projects and programs." The Mile High United Way office phone number is 303-433-8383.

The Crossroads Safehouse in Fort Collins has been helping abused women and children for nearly 30 years. Crossroads offers free safehousing, advocacy, legal assistance, transitional housing and education. It costs $75 to provides one night of emergency shelter, basic toiletries and advocacy for a battered woman staying at Crossroads Safehouse. Crossroads needs donation and volunteers, to get involved, call 970-482-3535.

The Howard Dental Center for HIV+/AIDS Oral Health provides comprehensive, compassionate, high quality dental services in a private clinic setting for men, women and children living with HIV+/AIDS regardless of income. To get involved or donate, call the Howard Dental Center in Denver at 303-863-0772.

And of course, food banks across the region are in need of help. A few to consider: Food Bank of the Rockies Community Ministry Food Bank Compa Food Ministry Metro Care Ring