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It's Better to Give...

"Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think." –H. W. Longfellow

Every year, I complain about the insanity of holiday gift-giving. Every year, we swear we're going to keep it simple. Every year, I spend a few weeks stomping around New York City, loaded down with presents like a pack mule.

But now that I have a child, I'm determined to incorporate some regularly-scheduled giving into our lives. Thankfully, the web makes it easy. Here are a few of my favorites:

Donors Choose
Teachers create a profile and request money for classroom projects, supplies, events, etc. All you have to do is log on, select a class you'd like to fund, and donate online. Better still, why not get your friends or family together and give enough money to fund an entire project? As we've seen recently, schools are so underfunded, some teachers are going to extremes to raise money.

Volunteer Match
If money is tight right now, you can still donate your time and experience to a good cause! At Volunteer Match, you can enter your zip code and find opportunities for volunteering close to home. Why not take a day to deliver meals to senior citizens, spruce up an elementary school, or pick up trash in a local park? You can even put your business skills to good use too by volunteering at local non-profits who might need extra help during the busy holidays.

Feeding America
In cities across the country, the news is grim. Food banks, which usually feed the neediest cases (the homeless, elderly, disabled, etc), are now having to accommodate the working poor – people with low-paying jobs who just can't make ends meet in this economy. These days, I can't look at my dinner table without thinking about how fortunate I am. This one is easy, folks: log on to Feeding America, find a food bank near you, and bring them at least $5 worth of food.

Do you give to charities or volunteer on a regular basis? Let us know about it in the comments!

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