"We are All Involved!"
~ James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955 ~

All Links Verified as Current and "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.  Updated 2:26 PM, Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
Geotrees Home   *   Contact us:  charities@geotrees.com

Charities for Children 2021
Active Throughout the Baltimore-Washington, DC Region
and Across the Nation Beyond


      This page offers descriptive links to a number of regional and national charitable activities that benefit children in particular, and that often involve active and creative participation by children.  Such groups often have volunteer opportunities, especially during the late-year holidays.  Some are active throughout the year.  This page's purpose, then, is twofold: to concretely benefit those in need, and to give our young people the experience of making the world a better place through their own personal deeds.

      There is plenty of room for more on this list!   We welcome any that you might recommend, of any size, particularly those local to your own home area, and will happily credit you and your organization as source.  We'd particularly like to learn of activities and organizations that bring love and comfort to children who have been abandoned, abused, or who are severely injured or ill, such as those spending the holidays in shelters, hospitals and hospices.

      For lesser-known charity activities and opportunities that appear in the media, please visit Geotrees' Daylight page.   Daylight is a constantly growing garland of links to positive, hope-giving and feel-good news from around the country, with well over 1,100 stories about humankind at its best in "our time of shared crisis, and of shared hope."  Many feature smaller, local charitable activities that deserve wider recognition.

      Nextdoor.Com is a particularly excellent source of such groups and activities, organized community by community around the nation.  We're pleased to note that Nextdoor has begun to make certain local events and activities available more regionally.

      Charity Navigator:  You may check a charity's quality and trustworthiness through this fine organization.


  • The Helzberg Foundation:   The "I am Loved" page.
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "Spread the Message of Love" with this foundation, home of the "I am Loved" button campaign since 1967, and key to "Pennies'" original inspiration.  An activity of the Helzberg Diamonds company, which is engaged in a number of charitable and service activities to benefit those young and not-so-young.  Thank you, Kathy...

  • Be a Santa to a Senior:   www.beasantatoasenior.com.
    A new entry for 2020, added on Saturday, December 5th.

          "Since the program began in 2003, there have been over 65,000 volunteers who helped distribute gifts, 2,000,000 gifts provided to deserving seniors, and 750,000+ seniors whose holidays were brightened.
          How it works:  Home Instead Senior Care partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season.  The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations.  Each senior's gift requests are written on a Be a Santa to a Senior bulb."

  • KidsPeace:   www.kidspeace.org.
    A new entry for 2020; added on Friday, November 27th.

          "To give hope, help, and healing to children, adults, and those who love them.  KidsPeace is a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families, and communities.  Founded in 1882, KidsPeace provides a unique psychiatric hospital; a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs; accredited educational services; and a variety of foster care and community-based treatment programs to help people in need overcome challenges and transform their lives.  The experts at KidsPeace provide emotional and physical health care and educational services in an atmosphere of teamwork, compassion, and creativity."

  • The Playtime Project:   www.playtimeproject.org.  
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "We believe that play is a human right that all children deserve, regardless of housing status.  We seek to help create a city that provides every opportunity for homeless children to succeed by advocating for affordable housing and safe shelters for all families.
          "Since 2003, our trained and screened volunteers have provided weekly activities, healthy snacks, and opportunities to play and learn for the children at emergency shelter and transitional housing sites in the District of Columbia.  In the past ten years, Playtime volunteers have served thousands of children at seven different sites throughout the city.
          "Through thirteen weekly children's programs, volunteers provide playful games, chances to learn through art, movement and imaginative play, one-on-one attention and caring adult supervision for children, as well as support for the entire family with parent support and referrals, clothing and school supply donations, and chances to celebrate with holiday parties throughout the year.  Older children accompany volunteers on field trips throughout the year to experience the rich culture of Washington, DC and take a break from weekends staying in a shelter."

  • St. Baldrick's Foundation:   www.stbaldricks.org.
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "St. Baldrick's is a whimsical twist on St. Patrick's Day - when brave volunteers agreed to shave their heads bald to raise funds for childhood cancer research. . .  In our first year together as an independent St. Baldrick's Foundation, we raised over $5.3 million. . .  St. Baldrick's began with three people who wanted to make a difference, and chose to help children with cancer.  Today, the St. Baldrick's Foundation unites thousands of volunteers whose shared mission - to shave the way to a cure - has captured the enthusiasm and devotion of people around the world."
          "'Virtual shaves' are available for those who don't want to go 'the full Monty.'"
          There are many events and participants throughout the Baltimore-Washington area, and they take place year-round.  To find one (or more) near you by Zip code and selected distance range, start with this link: www.stbaldricks.org/events/ and see "Find an Event" on the left of the page.
          Thanks to Steve Sheldon of the Old Brogue Restaurant and Pub in Great Falls, Virginia for the original information on St. Baldrick's.  The Foundation has many local organizers and contacts - please visit their home site to find one near you.

  • Samaritan's Purse International Relief:   www.samaritanspurse.org.
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.  Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ."
          For the late-year holidays of 2018, Samaritan's Purse conducted Operation Christmas Child, wherein local community people pack shoe boxes of love and caring for people in need around the world.  "Invite friends and neighbors to come help out for any amount of time.  Students can earn volunteer service hours for school requirements."  Some local campaigns provide pizza lunch for their volunteers.  For information on activities during the pandemic, please see their website.

  • Santa Claus Anonymous:   www.santaclausanonymous.org/
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "A Baltimore area charity dedicated since 1934 to: 'Give a Child a Christmas' by providing anonymous monetary support in the form of gift certificates to parents or guardians of underprivileged children in Baltimore City and the following counties in Maryland: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard."
          Phone: 443-557-7000 or 410-456-9269;   E-mail: santa@santaclausanonymous.org.

  • Shriners Hospitals for Children:   www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of pediatric specialty hospitals, founded by the Shrine, where children under the age of 18 receive excellent medical care absolutely free of charge."
          "The Most Amazing Care Anywhere:  Our pediatric care teams are led by some of the most innovative doctors in the world.  We provide advanced care and procedures for orthopaedic and neuromusculoskeletal conditions and injuries, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, and other complex health care needs.  And it doesn't stop there! Our compassionate, wraparound care envelops your child in a supportive and loving environment that helps them thrive."

  • Toys for Tots:   www.toysfortots.org/
    Verified as "Live" on Thursday, November 12th, 2020.

          "Mission:   To collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.  Goal: To deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders." 
          Very active in the Baltimore area for many years.  This is a nationwide organization; visit their home page to find your local points of contact.

  • Trick or Treat for UNICEF and the Year-Round UNICEF KID POWER:   www.unicefusa.org/trick-or-treat
    A new entry for 2020.  Added on Friday, November 21st.

          "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF 2020 has come to an end.  Thanks to everybody who participated.  You can still donate to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and support vulnerable children in need.  For year-round programming for young people in grades K through 8th, please join UNICEF Kid Power.
          "UNICEF Kid Power is a free platform which allows you to build a remote community with your Students or Group around giving and philanthropy.  Whether you're teaching remotely, or physically together, your kids will unlock lifesaving nutrition for severely malnourished children around the world just by participating with our 3 - 5 minute Kid Power Up videos, which feature physical activity and social-emotional learning!"
          UNICEF is a year-round, worldwide organization, with numerous grassroots opportunities to serve.

  • USPS Operation Santa:   www.uspsoperationsanta.com
    A new entry for 2020.  Added on Monday, November 16th.

          "Each year, hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Santa from children and families arrive at Post Offices around the country.  Most letters ask for toys and games.  Some ask for basic necessities.  Some ask for help for themselves and their loved ones.  USPS Operation Santa makes it possible for individuals and organizations to adopt these letters and send responses and thoughtful gifts in Santa's place.
          "[The USPS film] DEAR SANTA shines a light on the 100-year-old 'Operation Santa' Program of the United States Postal Service.  Each year, hundreds of thousands of letters to Santa arrive at Post Offices around the country.  Through Operation Santa, the United States Postal Service makes it possible for the public to safely adopt these letters and make children's dreams come true. 
          "The film invites audiences along for the magic of this massive endeavor.  Traveling the country, much like Santa does on Christmas Eve, the film focuses on select 'Operation Santa' Centers: some in metropolitan areas like the massive operation in New York City and others in small towns where the Post Office is the heart of the community.  The film highlights letters where a child is asking for something poignant, something that goes beyond the common wish for a toy.  Santa will explain how he enlists kind-hearted strangers across the country for these special requests while he concentrates on toymaking, and his demanding delivery schedule."

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Dedicated with great respect and great love to Kathy, to whom this page owes its existence, and to her dad, and her mom, and her dog.
To Baby Rowe and the unborn.  To Sister Nabra, and to the Ayaz brothers of Herndon, Virginia, peace be upon them.  To Makiyah. 
To Aaron, Adrianne, Bill, Bob, Chad, Chelsea, Christianne, Joel, Joshua, Katie, Matthew, Nicole, Paul, Samantha, Steve, and Xia,
and to all children in danger and in pain, everywhere.

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