Whether it’s a monetary contribution to a nonprofit or giving up a Sunday afternoon to cook meals for the homeless, few things are as gratifying as improving the life of another human being. We are reminded of this most often during the holiday season, when many of us look for opportunities to share our treasure and talent.
Often unable to help or speak for themselves, disadvantaged children and teens are among those most in need of assistance. Below, you will find a list of charities in the Merrimack Valley that work to help young people in a variety of ways, organizations that are always in need of donations and volunteers.
Catie’s Closet — With “closets” in several schools across the region, Catie’s Closet, which is based in Dracut, helps elementary and high school students living in poverty gain discreet access to clothing, toiletries, winter coats, shoes, bus passes, backpacks and even grocery cards. According to the organization’s website, Catie’s Closet has helped increase attendance and graduation rates in the schools it serves by meeting students’ basic needs and providing them with clothing they are proud to wear.
CatiesCloset.org | (978) 957-2200
Community Giving Tree — Providing low-income families with basics such as diapers, car seats, baby furniture, children’s clothing, school supplies and toys, Community Giving Tree has donation centers in Boxford, where the organization is based, and Middleton. The organization prides itself on keeping useful items out of landfills while helping local families. Donations during COVID-19 are by appointment only.
CommunityGivingTree.org | (978) 223-5767
Debbie’s Treasure Chest — Based in Lawrence, Debbie’s Treasure Chest provides clothing, books, toys, toiletries, school supplies and other essentials to local children in need. The organization also holds annual coat and toy drives, and partners with local police and firefighters to grant the holiday wishes of the kids with whom they work. During the current crisis, the need for donations is high.
DebbiesTreasureChest.org | (978) 360-4007
Horizons for Homeless Children — The largest organization exclusively dedicated to helping homeless children in Massachusetts, Horizons for Homeless Children provides early education classes and safe play spaces for children living in shelters, allowing parents time to look for work and take advantage of family services.
HorizonsChildren.org | (978) 557-2182
Lydia’s Kids Foundation — A private charitable fund established to provide for the short-term physical, emotional and intellectual needs of disadvantaged students in Newburyport’s public schools, Lydia’s Kids Foundation collects donations to pay for a wide range of essential items, including eyeglasses, warm winter clothing, snow boots and even summer camp tuition.
Send tax-deductible donations to Lydia’s Kids Foundation c/o Institution For Savings, 93 State St., Newburyport, 01950.
Merrimack Valley Food Bank — Although the Merrimack Valley Food Bank’s programs help families in general, its Summer Food Service and Operation Nourish programs are geared toward kids age 18 and under. During the months of July and August, the food bank provides children in Lowell with free daily lunches and programs that help them learn about the importance of good nutrition and exercise. Operation Nourish provides students in Lowell’s public schools with bags of nourishing food two Fridays each month to help reduce weekend hunger. They continue to operate as normal during the current health restrictions.
MVFB.org | (978) 454-7272
Speedway Children’s Charities — Affiliated with New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the local branch of this national organization is located in Concord, N.H. Money raised by the charity through events and promotions at the speedway is distributed through grants to organizations in the Northeast that help children in need.
SpeedwayCharities.org/NewHampshire | (603) 513-5738