One such choice is the Salvation Army, a Christian organization. They spread out earlier and earlier each year. Ringing bells. Giving you expectant looks. And they do some good work. They can and do help people. And, people out there ringing away, are people that get hired for the season for a small wage.
But they are also not friendly to gay people. It's part of their religious tenets. Workers have been turned away for being gay. And there are stories of gay people being refused shelter. It isn't a representation of the whole group. But there are question marks in their policy. They say they are trying to do better, but how much is yet to be seen.
They have also run into other issues. Past treatment of union families. A large number of child abuse cases in Australia. And questions of mismanagement in some areas.
And, as it is, I would prefer to give to organizations that will not be funding religious efforts or antigay efforts. I like to find groups that are apart from that messiness.
So, as an alternative, let me suggest some of the numerous organizations out there that are more secularly focused, and not limiting where or how they aid.
Groups to support:
- Amnesty International - They campaign for the human rights of people around the world.
- Direct Relief - This organization works to improve health and lives of people affected by poverty, or emergency situations.
- Doctors Without Borders - Made up primarily of health care facilitators, they operate in 60 countries, helping people dealing with disasters and violence.
- Engineers Without Borders - Support local efforts to work on development projects.They work on projects including, drinking water access, sanitation, and roads.
- Feed America - The organization works to help feed those in need of food. They do this with food banks. (And with the cuts to SNAP, they are in desperate need.)
- Goodwill - This organization works to give job training, employment, and other services for the disabled.
- Humanist Charities - Tied to the American Humanist Association, it offers aid in matters of health and welfare via a humanist approach.
- Madre - An international women's human rights group that addresses the wide range of issues affecting women in local communities.
- Planned Parenthood - Health care providers, educators, and advocates for health care access and knowledge. They work to guarantee a right to make one's own informed reproductive decisions. Also, to ensure those in poverty to have access to support. They also are at work on a global level.
- Red Cross - A well known organization, it does good work on disaster relief, producing almost half of the United States' blood supply, and offering training on health.
- UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund - They focus on children's interest around the globe. They work in many areas, including immunization, education, and emergency relief.
Not as direct, but important, the fighters for free speech and privacy.
- American Civil Liberties Union - The organization works to preserve First Amendment rights.
- Electronic Frontiers Foundation - An organization that works to preserve digital rights. Among it's focuses are privacy, free speech, and consumer rights.
- Comic Book Legal Defense Fund - An organization focused on preserving First Amendment rights in the comic field, for artists to produce and readers to access.