Giving Thanks & Giving Back: Worthy Charities on Both Shores

Giving Thanks & Giving Back: Worthy Charities on Both Shores

The holiday season is almost upon us, and most of us will soon be enjoying fun, fellowship, and feasts with our families and friends. This is the perfect time to reflect on all the blessings we often take for granted, and pass on the spirit of gratitude to our children. If we help them to realize how lucky we are to have roofs over our heads, food in our bellies, and healthy bodies, we also encourage them to become compassionate individuals who are eager to share with those less fortunate.

There are plenty of local organizations on both shores that are in desperate need of your generosity to continue helping those in need. Please consider donating your time or resources to celebrate the true spirit of Thanksgiving.



United Way of Southeast Louisiana

This organization identifies, assesses, and monitors the most pressing needs in our region. Then, they fund programs, support collaborations, convene experts, advocate for change, and foster new and needed community services to address the issues based on best practices. People can support this endeavor to provide quality health and human services for our community by donating funds or contacting the HandsOn Volunteer Center to discover the many programs, projects, and resources that need the time and efforts of individuals.


Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans

Northshore Families Helping Families

Families Helping Families works to provide the individualized services, information, resources, and support needed to positively enhance the independence, productivity, and inclusion of local individuals with disabilities. To maintain their endeavors, like their lending library, adult program, education, and health services, they are dependent on the commitment and support of community members who can choose from a broad array of volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. New Orleans: Northshore:





Boys Hope Girls Hope

Boys Hope Girls Hope is a nonprofit agency that helps children-in-need realize their full potential through education. It is the goal of this organization to help children and young people in their care to complete a college education, then put their education to work for the benefit of others, including their families and communities. This 100% privately funded organization’s annual fundraising events are critical to maintaining the housing and care that their scholars depend on for future success. New Orleans fundraisers include an annual gala, golf tournament, tennis tournament, and Crescent City Classic 10k run. They also welcome cash donations via their website.


Bridge House / Grace House 

This organization provides long-term residential, gender-specific treatment to help individuals who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol lead sober and productive lives. They host three annual dinners at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas in July.  These three events provide a traditional holiday meal, toiletries, clothing, and fellowship to the homeless and indigent population of the Greater New Orleans Area. Plus, they help to raise awareness within the homeless and indigent population of services provided by Bridge House / Grace House. To support this group, individuals can volunteer for the events, or donate cash, vehicles, or thrift items. They host multiple fundraising events throughout the year, including the Tree of Life, which allows people to donate via the purchase of an ornament for display this December, in memory or in honor of a loved one and give hope to those still suffering from the disease of addiction.


Children’s Hospital of New Orleans

Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit pediatric medical center offering a complete range of healthcare services for children from birth to 21 years, is the only free-standing full-service hospital exclusively for children in Louisiana and the Gulf South. The hospital is happy to receive in-kind or non-monetary donations throughout the year, and toys, clothing, toiletries and other appropriate items are greatly appreciated, as well. Due to infection control policies, all donated items should be brand new and in original packaging. There are also various ways you can volunteer your time for the hospital throughout the year, plus many events to benefit the hospital. They are having their Week of Giving on December 11-15, when donations can be dropped off between 9am-4pm. Call  504-896-9350 for delivery instructions. There is a list of partners on the website who accept donations throughout the year, if that week isn’t convenient. Information on fundraising events, donations, wish lists, and volunteering is available on the website. 


Covenant House

There are multiple ways to contribute to this organization, which provides food, clothing, shelter, and comprehensive services to youth who are among the most damaged in our community, most of whom are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic and/or street violence, and the resulting trauma that often leads to substance abuse, mental health issues, and more. In addition to their need for volunteers and monetary donations, Covenant House has an online Gift Catalog that allows you to choose items you’d like to purchase for homeless kids.


Delivering Hope

Delivering Hope NOLA is a group of New Orleans preemie moms who know all too well how lonely the NICU can be, especially during the holidays. The main service provided by this organization is the delivery of specially created care packages to families of newborns in neonatal care at hospitals in the New Orleans area. These packages contain items that are particularly useful to these families to aid in family bonding, care for parents or siblings, and to provide a sense of normalcy during this hectic time. 200 care packages are delivered to 10 hospitals in May in celebration of Parents of Preemie day as well as in December to celebrate the holiday season. In addition to the scheduled deliveries their team deliveries packages all year as we become aware of a family in need. Those who wish to support this organizations can choose to donate online, become a member, or join a committee. 


Hotel Hope

This organization’s mission is to keep homeless families together and move them from homelessness to self-sufficiency through a three stage service model that involves providing crisis intervention services, residential stability, and help in achieving economic self-sufficiency. In addition to donating meals to residents, they are in need of financial donations for their capital campaign.


New Orleans Mission

The New Orleans Mission provides food, shelter, clothing and spiritual guidance to the city’s homeless, hurting and hungry. Their commitment to meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of the homeless community is backed by the financial support of generous local residents, churches, organizations and corporate donors, but they are always looking for volunteers to help in their efforts. Groups, families and individuals can bring food to impoverished areas or serve breakfast, lunch or dinner at the mission. There’s also a ministry team from that seeks out the homeless in our city, and they host Kidztown events on most holidays, where they go to a local neighborhood to set up fun activities for the local community, plus they provide food, a live band, and a presentation of the Gospel. Coming up on November 16, they’re hosting their first Fall Fest at their Lynhaven Retreat in Hammond. Also, on December 6, they’re hosting their annual fundraising gala at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.


New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter

The largest shelter for homeless women and children in the metro area, New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter has served hundreds of displaced individuals since 2007. A large majority of the children at the shelter are under the age of ten, and 80% of the families helped since 2007 have transitioned to sustainable, independent living. Donations are always accepted, and volunteers can get involved with shift coverage, answering the door and receiving calls, donation organization, fundraising, office management, resident programing, and much more. On December 6, there will be a fundraising event that includes dinner and show, New Orleans holiday musical, “Mandatory Merriment,” at Southern Rep Theater.


Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Dept Thanksgiving Celebration

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office hosts its annual Thanksgiving Dinner Celebration every Thanksgiving Day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The event, held on November 28, is for people from Orleans and the surrounding parishes to enjoy a great meal and entertainment. Call (504) 202-9215 or visit for volunteer opportunities.


Raintree Children & Family Services 

This organization’s mission is to provide needed services to families, and at-risk children and youth New Orleans area parishes, encouraging hope and creating opportunities for growth and independent lives. Those wishing to contribute can volunteer individually or as a group, or donate money or an item from the online wishlist


Saul’s Light Foundation

Saul’s Light is the sole organization in New Orleans dedicated to providing support and community to bereaved families and those with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This support is provided in three ways: NICU support, bereavement support, ongoing connections to community. There are many ways you can make a difference to bereaved and NICU families in New Orleans by donating, volunteering, or partnering with our organization. Contact Kimberly Novod, Saul’s Light Foundation’s Executive Director, at or 504-913-4095 to get involved.


Second Harvest’s Give Hope at the Holidays

While food donations are always welcome at Second Harvest Food Bank, the most efficient way to give is a financial donation. With every dollar donated, you help provide FOUR meals for a family in need. This initiative saves time by allowing donors to help feed the hungry without the hassle of collecting donations, organizing and loading them, and dropping them off at our warehouse. To “Give Hope,” you’ll create or join fundraising teams or fundraise as an individual – all on this site with your computer, tablet, and even smart phone. Here you’ll find the online tools you’ll need to create a successful and rewarding experience for all participants while helping feed the hungry in South Louisiana at the same time.


Volunteers of America 

VOA of Greater New Orleans has been serving the most vulnerable since the 1890s, when they started helping indigent women and children. Today, they sponsor a wide variety of programs that assist children, families, seniors, veterans and persons living with disabilities in 16 parishes in south Louisiana. Of course, they accept donations throughout the year, and there are always youth mentoring programs that are in need of volunteers, but they’re also currently gearing up for their annual Christmas Wish Project to spread some holiday cheer to those in need this season. Gifts will need to be wrapped, labeled, and delivered to their office between Monday, December 2 to Friday, December 6.





ACCESS, which stands for adapting and changing children’s environment with successful solutions, raises funds to provide financial grants to families of children Southeastern Louisiana and the Gulf South Region with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and autism.These grants are used to purchase adaptive equipment, assistive devices, home/car/van modifications, and other interventions that are not covered by private insurance and/or Medicaid. The organization hosts its annual fundraiser BooFest at Halloween, but they also accept individual donations and sponsorships.


Child Advocacy Center Hope House

This independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse within St. Tammany and Washington Parishes by providing a path to recovery and a bridge to justice for victims of abuse. The CAC’s facility, Hope House, provides a warm, non-threatening environment for child victims to share their story, and receive professional support services to help with the healing process. The public can support this organization by donating funds, volunteering at events and fundraisers, engaging in Stewards of Children training (open to adults and older teens), or attending the Men Who Cook fundraiser on November 3.


Covington Food Bank

Covington Food Bank provides food assistance to more than 375 individuals and families each week who have found themselves in need.The Food Bank is supported by local food drives held by individuals, schools, civic organizations and businesses, as well as monetary donations and Second Harvest donations. Other initiatives are their resale shop (they accept gently used items to be sold) and dental center, which provides inexpensive dental care for uninsured adults. On November 8 at 6:30pm, they’re hosting their annual Pallets With a Purpose fundraiser in their warehouse, featuring live music, great food, plus a silent auction and wine pull. They are also seeking volunteers to help sort food donations and work in the resale shop and dental center. You can also feed a family Thanksgiving dinner for a $30 donation.


North Shore Food Bank 

Supported by the generosity of businesses, civic organizations, and individuals, this food bank serves the needs of the most vulnerable  residents of St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. In addition to distributing food, The Northshore Food Bank also offers additional key ministries, including their Resale Shop. They welcome volunteers to come share their time and talents for any of these programs. They also have their annual Pallets with Purpose fundraiser on November 8.


Our Daily Bread Food Bank of Tangipahoa Parish

Our Daily Bread supports 22 local food pantries throughout the parish, and they distribute hot meals to residents three times a week, adding up to approximately 30,000 meals in a typical year. Volunteers are needed to help pack food boxes, work in and donate food to the client choice food store, and cook/serve food at the Hand of Hope Hot Meal site, including Thanksgiving Day. People can also organize their own food drives, or take advantage of this organization’s super handy virtual food drives option, which makes it easy to team up online with friends and family to raise donations in a virtual marketplace. 


PRIDE Youth & Community Resources

PRIDE stands for Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug Education, but it also has a teen component in which young leaders sign contracts promising to be drug-free and help their peers be drug-free as well. They hold multiple socials and community events assist in their efforts to promote the healthy, drug-free development of the youth and families within St. Tammany Parish. There are many ways to contribute to this organization, including donating silent auction items for Red Ribbon Gala each October, making a one-time or monthly donation, or shopping online through AmazonSmile.


St Tammany Hospital’s Hospice Angels of Light

This long-standing tradition, which benefits St. Tammany Hospital’s Hospice program for terminally ill patients and their families, takes place on Thursday, December 5 at 5:30pm  in the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Lobby in Covington. People are invited to honor or memorialize a loved one with the purchase of an angel, which will adorn the Tree of Life. Refreshments will be provided during the tree lighting ceremony. Info on purchasing an angel and other sponsorship opportunities are on the website. 


Slidell Community Thanksgiving Dinner 

Join Aldersgate United Methodist Church and other local churches for this community-wide Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, they fed over 800 people. Donations of food, financial support, and volunteers are needed for this year’s event on November 28 from 10am – 1pm.


Tangipahoa Voluntary Council On Aging 

This organization aims to help residents of Tangipahoa Parish ages 60 and older remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible. Volunteers and case managers serve home delivered meals to seniors, plus there are centers in Amite, Hammond, Independence, Ponchatoula, and Kentwood where seniors can go for free hot congregate meals and lunches. They also provide helpful  information on resources such as Medicare, transportation, and activities for seniors and their spouses.