Every year during the holiday season the United States experiences its greatest period of charitable giving. According to Charity Navigator, 50 percent of all charitable giving goes to religious, educational and arts organizations while the rest goes to charities for those in need. Americans, on average, give 4.7 percent of their income to charities. The average individual donates 24 percent of their annual donation between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. For those looking to donate around RIT and Rochester, there are a variety of ways to contribute.

Donate Money

Foodlink of Rochester is part of a regional food bank that has 450 member agencies in a ten-county service area. The organization rescues and redistributes more than 16 million pounds of food annually. Most regularly donated food is by local businesses like Wegmans, but students can always provide a monetary donation. No amount is small; Foodlink states that a single dollar can provide five meals to someone in need. Donations can be made electronically on Foodlink’s website at foodlinkny.org.

Other organizations that can greatly benefit from monetary donations are the local Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity chapters. The Greater Rochester Red Cross, initially founded in 1881 to provide aid to the Michigan Forest Fire victims, allows one to donate to a specific disaster relief or to the local chapter. Donations can be made on the Red Cross website at redcross.org/ny/Rochester.

The Flower City Habitat for Humanity not only needs volunteers for its many local projects, but also requires private funding to aid in these projects. More information available at rochesterhabitat.org.

The RIT Student Chapter of the National Press Photographers Association is holding a Holiday Auction on Wednesday, December 11, at the University Gallery in Booth where some of the proceeds will be given to a charity of the student group’s choice.

Donate Time

The Kiwanis Club of Rochester has “performed voluntary service and assistance to those less fortunate than ourselves, including the poor and destitute, youth, and seniors for over 97 years,” according to the club’s website. Kiwanis is an Indiana-based international service club that can be found in more than 80 nations globally. This local chapter boasts programs that work with children, holiday gift programs, leadership programs and clothing services. To apply or request more information, materials can be found online and at general meetings at 885 Buffalo Rd., Rochester, NY, 14624 every second and fourth Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Another local organization is Mary’s Place Outreach, a group that works intensely with refugees to offer tutoring for children, language translation, computer assistance, casework counseling and English classes. Potential volunteers are encouraged to contact the organization, located at 414 Lexington Ave.

Donate Material Goods

The Open Door Mission is a unique Rochester-based organization that encompasses everything from housing to clothing distribution. While the scope of this organization involves volunteerism and monetary donation, material goods are important. On the Open Door Mission’s website, one can find a list of needed goods, including food supplies, health supplies, hygiene supplies, clothing and linens, etc. Interested students are advised to call (585) 454-6696 ext. 108 for more information on how to donate.

The Greater Rochester Salvation Army is in great need at this time of the year for canned goods, toys and clothing. You can donate online or by stopping by the Salvation Army store located on West Henrietta road.

If you’re unable to leave campus, Dumbledore’s Army is conducting a can drive for Foodlink, and can be found through Wednesday this week at the Corner Store 6 – 8 p.m., and from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Global Village. The cans will be used to construct a replica of the Hogwarts Castle prior to being donated.