Want to help someone else this Christmas? Here are some giving ideas

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, forest fires, hurricanes, wars and other events this year have hit the world’s economies hard, leaving many unemployed and unable to pay for rent and even food.

As Catholic organizations try to address this overwhelming need, their own resources strained, some people have indicated they would like to help those in need.

Here’s a list to get you started. This list is not all-inclusive, and the organizations are not listed in any particular order:

At MISSIO.org, the online giving platform of the Pontifical Mission Societies, choose from more than 300 projects in over 50 countries around the world, knowing 100% of your donation goes directly to the project you choose.  As Christmas approaches, you can also add a child in the pope’s missions to your gift-giving list, assisting them with this MISSIO project.

Catholic Charities USA is a network of charities in U.S. Catholic dioceses and, after the federal government, it is the largest U.S. social-safety-net provider. Choose the donate button. To donate to Catholic Charities in your diocese, find a local link.

Aid to the Church in Need, which serves suffering and persecuted Christians in more than 145 countries, has designated Mozambique for donations this Christmas. As of Nov. 15, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 355,000 people had been displaced within Cabo Delgado and neighboring provinces since October 2017, when an insurgent group, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, known for crude beheadings, began attacks. The U.N. said most of those displaced were women and children.

Catholic Near East Welfare Association, which works across the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe, is highlighting three projects this holiday. Armenia has been hit especially hard on two fronts — from COVID-19 and from a surge in families fleeing the escalating violence in neighboring Nagorno-Karabakh. Donate to CNEWA’s Warm Winter Appeal, or  help in Lebanon, where a plummeting economy was exacerbated by massive explosions in the port of Beirut. You can choose to help where the need is greatest.

Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, has a page where people can donate to “where it’s needed most,” or people can donate to the general emergency fund, which goes directly to places like Central America, hit by double hurricanes, or to the COVID-19 response in other countries.

Covenant House, founded under Catholic auspices in New York in 1972, provides shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth. Covenant House now has locations in 31 cities in six countries.

Founded by lay Catholics, Unbound is an international nonprofit organization that supports children, families and elderly people in their efforts to overcome the challenges of extreme poverty. After nearly 40 years of service, Unbound says today, many of its professional staff around the world are former sponsored children.

Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other people who are forcibly displaced. It has programs in 56 countries around the world.

Chicago-based Catholic Extension supports the work and ministries of the nation’s mission dioceses. It raises funds to help build up faith communities and constructs churches in these dioceses, which are rural, cover a large geographic area and have limited personnel and pastoral resources.

AVSI-USA is a nonprofit organization that works with individuals and communities in developing countries to restore dignity and build resilience in the face of poverty and marginalization. This holiday, they are highlighting projects in Rwanda, Kenya and Brazil.

Cross Catholic Outreach‘s priority is to help “the poorest of the poor.” Based in Boca Raton, Florida, the agency’s efforts reach those suffering extreme poverty in countries throughout the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Latin America.


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