10 Ways To Give Back And Spread The Love This Holiday Season

Yes. I know. Another "top ten" list, but this one’s not about me or my work. It’s about something far more important. It is a list of charities and organizations that you can contribute to to help those in need. This is by no means a random list. Nor is it meant to be conclusive. Certainly there are a plethora of great and worthy charitable organizations out there. This particular list happens to reflect those that I support and have been directly affected by in some way, which I guess does make it a little about me. I won't bore you with personal stories here, however. Simply use this as a starting point to inspire you, not just this holiday season but at any time of the year. Heck, all year round for that matter and spread the love !

1. SANDY is a book of iPhone Photos of Hurricane Sandy by acclaimed photographers published by Daylight Books which will be distributed in 2014. 100% of the royalties will be donated to Occupy Sandy to support rebuilding efforts in the New York City area and Sandy Storyline.

Image © Benjamin Lowy and is strictly for viewing purposes.

2. Help Portrait is a global movement of photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists using their time, tools, and expertise to give back to those in need.

3. Path (People Assisting The Homeless) is a family of agencies working together to end homelessness for individuals, families and communities.

4. Heifer International 's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

5. Smile Train is an international charity that provides cleft palate surgery to those in need, as well as providing training to doctors in the region.

6. American Cancer Society is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.

7. Toys For tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas but you can support them year round.

8. The Boys And Girls Club Of America's mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

9. Charity: Water is a non-profit organization on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.

*For those of you who like more tangible donations visit their on-line store. 100% of the profits from these goods directly fund clean water projects.

10. Unicef United States Fund The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children's lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.

***For those of you who like more tangible donations, U.S. Fund for Unicef Corporate Partners such as Delta, American Airlines, Gucci, and Idea offer gifts that give back.

Also consider other more hands-on ways to give back such as:

volunteering at a soup kitchen

working at an animal shelter

visiting / volunteering at a senior citizen home

visiting / volunteering at a local hospital

volunteering at your local library

Make it a family affair ! Wishing you all a wonderful and joyous holiday season !