Advice | New to Austin

Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season in Austin | Austin Charities

Read time: 9 minutes

At Realty Austin, we are passionate about the importance of giving back to our community and one of the biggest ways we do this is by building a home through Habitat for Humanity. The holiday season really brings out the spirit of giving and many local charities have great opportunities to help those in need through volunteering, donating, and gift programs for those who don’t have the resources. Explore some of the different ways you can give back in Austin and keep our fellow Texans in mind as they continue to need help rebuilding after the Hill Country flooding.

Austin Charities to Give Back to This Holiday Season:

Image of Austin Disaster Relief Network

    • Austin Disaster Relief Network

      Austin Disaster Relief Network is helping Hill Country flood survivors by volunteering, donating or getting involved. There are several opportunities for community volunteers, businesses, organizations, and ADRN Trained volunteers to help them meet the needs of those impacted by a disaster. ADRN is working with the City of Austin to distribute water at 5 locations throughout the Greater Austin area. Volunteers are deployed at the Multi-Agency Resource Center providing emergency financial assistance, emotional and spiritual care and resources. Donations are much needed to meet the short and long-term aid of those impacted by a disaster. So, give today to double your giving impact through a $200K match!

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    • Austin Habitat for Humanity

      Austin Habitat works with more than 8,000 volunteers like you each year. They’ve got something for everyone. You can build a home, repair a home, or if you’re looking for something else, they have lots of non-construction volunteer opportunities. Austin Habitat for Humanity’s programs are truly a hand up, not a handout. Whether you’re a skilled craftsperson or you’ve never picked up a hammer, building with Habitat is a life-changing experience both for you and their homeowners. You’ll walk away having learned something new and you’ll always have fun! So, sponsor a project, bring a group, or come on your own. Habitat can’t do it without you!

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    • Austin Jingle Bell 5K

      Calling all runners and walkers near and far! It’s time to kick off the holiday season with the 23rd Annual Austin Jingle Bell 5K! Participate in the holiday festivities that kick off at 8 am including a Chip Timed 5K and a Kids’ Fun Run! Experience the family fun with Santa hats, jingle bells, and hanging out with Santa! The first 1,000 registrants are guaranteed their newly designed event athletic shirt that wicks away the sweat! The top 3 runners in each of the divisions will receive a medal based on their finish! All kids 12 and under will receive their very own participation medal! Don’t delay and register your family today!

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    • Blue Santa

      Austin Police Operation Blue Santa mission is to provide toys and gifts for those in need during the Holiday season. They need your help to achieve this goal! There are three ways you can donate or volunteer: you can donate gifts that Blue Santa will deliver to children in need, or you can donate financially that helps them run their organization and get gifts to those who need them most, or you can adopt a family. They also need your help to wrap gifts! Individual, group, or anywhere in-between, your time helps them get a gift in every child’s hands in need during the Christmas season. For the first time, Blue Santa will be requesting volunteer help in January to help us clean up and wind down from the holiday season. They’d love your help even after the first of the year!

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Image of Brown Santa

    • Brown Santa

      Brown Santa (501c3) started in 1981 with a few deputies helping about 25 families in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. Travis County BROWN SANTA is a community service program of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and the many sponsors and volunteers who make it happen each year. This year, Brown Santa will kick off their 37th holiday season of helping and giving to children and families! This program provides assistance to underprivileged children and their families in Travis County and senior residents of local retirement centers in Travis County.

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    • Central Texas Food Bank

      A leader in the fight against hunger for nearly 35 years, Central Texas Food Bank’s mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger. They work with food donors across the country, financial supporters and volunteers to fill unmet needs in Central Texas. Roughly 250 partner agencies have joined them to serve families in 21 Central Texas counties at soup kitchens, food pantries, after-school programs, snack programs, and other service sites. This commitment from private, government and charitable partners has allowed them to bring 45 million meals to their community last year and into the hands of families and local nonprofits that turn to us for help. And you can be a part of this amazing mission by volunteering!

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    • Coats for Kids

      On December 8, 2018, The Junior League of Austin will hold the 32nd annual Coats for Kids Distribution Day. Together with their long standing partners; Jack Brown Cleaners, KVET, and KVUE, the Junior League of Austin will provide over 35,000 warm winter coats to Central Texas Children in need. As families arrive on Distribution Day, bilingual volunteers greet and review documents for verification of economic need. A volunteer then escorts each family through racks of sorted coats. Each child that attends can select a coat which suits their needs, body type and personality. Every child deserves to be ready for the daily activities like recess or school bus trips. A donation to Coats for Kids ensures kids will be warm this winter; it’s more than a coat, it’s an educational tool!

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    • Foundation Communities

      Every year Foundation Communities look forward to bringing a little holiday cheer to their residents who will not be able to fulfill their family’s wish list on their own. They offer four ways for you to donate that can make a big difference this holiday season. You can sponsor a Foundation Communities family for the holidays. It’s a great way to engage your family, colleagues, friends, neighbors, congregation, or civic club in a fun, rewarding group service activity. You can donate to their holiday drive. Another fun and meaningful activity that provides supplemental items for families needing additional assistance and gift items for our supportive housing residents. You can also make a holiday donation, donate online (we’ll go holiday shopping for you!) and of course, spread the word to your friends and family!

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    • Generation Serve

      Generation Serve’s mission is to engage children in volunteerism and empower them to make a difference in their communities. The most effective way for youth to learn about community needs and how they can make a difference is through action, helping side-by-side with a parent/caregiver and witnessing the example of community service first-hand. Volunteering is not only good for the community, but it is also healthy for the volunteer. Research has demonstrated health and well-being benefits to the individual volunteer, and Generation Serve regularly hears from their volunteer families about the positive impact volunteering has had on their children!

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Image of H-E-B Feast of Sharing

    • H-E-B Feast of Sharing

      This year, join H‑E‑B in their Feast of Sharing festivities and experience the joy as we stop in communities all over Texas to provide holiday meals and good cheer at their annual H‑E‑B Feast of Sharing holiday dinner! Feast of Sharing is the culmination of a year‑round commitment H‑E‑B makes to fighting hunger. In addition to a holiday meal, you can enjoy music, arts and crafts, and kids activities. H‑E‑B’s December dinners may even feature an appearance by Santa himself!

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    • Meals on Wheels

      Meals on Wheels helps provide meals, safety-checks, and human connection to your neighbors who are living with hunger in silence. They’ll ensure (but with your help) that homebound older adults in Central Texas receive life-saving food, social services, and friendship from caring volunteers! Your end of the year, a tax-deductible gift will provide meals and other life-sustaining services to our homebound neighbors. When you give to Meals on Wheels Central Texas, you’re ensuring that seniors stay connected and independent!

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    • Mobile Loaves and Fishes

      Whether you want to get your hands dirty working on a property beautification project or you’d rather be an available sounding board and friend for Mobile Loaves and Fishes resident artists, there’s a little something for everyone to jump in and get involved! You get to form relationships that can’t be replicated anywhere else while doing good work with neighbors and staff. You can check out their numerous volunteer opportunities at Community First! Village and volunteer for spots with different programs or other community-building opportunities! Not able to volunteer in the field? You can donate 3 dozen hard-boiled eggs and drop off at any MLF program location!

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    • Operation Turkey

      Over the last 18 years Operation, Turkey has remained a 100% volunteer organization without a single paid employee. They are more than 20,000 volunteers strong working together to ensure everyone receives a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day. No matter where you are Thanksgiving Day, you can participate with Operation Turkey! Each year they have multiple events throughout the year that you, friends and family can participate in. You can participate in volunteer orientations; you can learn about what to expect on Thanksgiving Day, meet some of the leaders and see how you can help. Or you can participate in the Turkey Tailgate; a day full of fun where volunteers come together, the day before the big day, in preparation for the event. Turkeys are cooked, donations are sorted and a lot of laughs and good times are shared!

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    • SAFE Holiday Programs

      SafePlace Holiday Giving Programs were designed to provide families with the joy most of us associate with the holiday season. SafePlace has a number of different volunteer opportunities during the holidays as well including warehouse volunteers to assist in gathering and organizing holiday gifts, gift receiver and distributor volunteers and gift wrapping volunteers. Some of these volunteer opportunities include sponsoring a family program; allowing a donor to be assigned to shop for holiday gifts for a family or individual who is a client at SafePlace, and shopping for the shelter program (it’ll fill the needs of their shelter clients and families who will not be able to participate in the sponsor a family program due to time constraints).

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Image of Salvation Army Angel Tree

    • Salvation Army Angel Tree

      The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys for children of families in need through the support of donors like you. Found in local malls, companies, and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age, and gender of a child in need of gifts. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags. Once a child has registered as an “Angel,” The Salvation Army makes a promise to provide Christmas for that child. This promise includes a variety of gifts for each child. To accomplish this, The Salvation Army depends on the generosity of individual donors, corporations, and organizations. Last year, many companies, organizations, and individuals helped fulfill the gift requests of more than 7,000 local children who would otherwise have not had gifts at Christmas!

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    • The Giving Tree at Marbridge

      The Giving Tree’s mission is made possible because of you. Giving your money, time, and resources to Marbridge allows individuals who call Marbridge home the ability to reach their maximum potential. Because of you, residents enjoy the personal satisfaction of being as independent as possible, overcoming individual challenges, and making a meaningful contribution to the Marbridge and Austin communities. The success of our residents depends on your support. Whether you decide to get involved through a donation, volunteering, or by joining them at one of their events, you’re helping their residents to learn, experience, and achieve a whole new life. So, make an investment to help individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities!

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    • ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot

      Join ThunderCloud Subs for their 28th ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot! This year there will be a 5-mile run (timed and untimed), 1-mile walk, Kids K live music, activities for the kids, post-run snacks, fundraising opportunities, and prizes! ThunderCloud Subs donates all of the proceeds from the Turkey Trot directly to Caritas of Austin, a local non-profit whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness for people in Greater Austin. Last year they raised $325,000, which brings the cumulative total raised for Caritas to nearly $3.5 million! This year, let’s try to beat that!

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    • Toys For Tots

      The mission of Toys for Tots Foundation is to assist the U. S. Marine Corps in providing a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children during Christmas. This assistance includes supporting the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program by raising funds to provide toys to supplement the collections of local Toys for Tots campaigns, to provide promotional and support material and defray the costs of conducting annual Toys for Tots campaigns. Other support includes providing administrative, advisory, financial, logistic and promotional support to local Toys for Tots Coordinators and managing funds raised and monies donated based on the use of Toys for Tots name or logo; providing other support the Marine Corps, as a federal agency, cannot provide; and conducting public education and information programs about Toys for Tots that call the general public to action in support of this patriotic community action program.

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    • Trinity Street Homeless Shelter

      Volunteers are the lifeblood of Trinity Center, and they welcome volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, religious affiliations, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Volunteers assist Trinity Center in fulfilling their mission of serving the needs of people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Austin by working in a variety of different areas. Volunteers, as part of the Trinity Center team, are vital in reaching their goal of ending homelessness. With only four staff members, the daily operations of Trinity Center are done mostly by volunteers. Some volunteers work in the Center answering phones and questions, some work in the kitchen preparing breakfast and making coffee, some provide administrative assistance and mail service, some assist with the women’s clothes “shopping” and shower programs, some monitor the use of computers. Whatever your area of expertise, there’s a place for you at Trinity Center!

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Help our Furry Friends

It is not just humans that need help and love during the holiday season! Help out our furry friends by volunteering or donating to Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Animal Shelter, or Austin Humane Society.

Have a favorite local charity that you like to support during the holidays?

We would love to hear from you! Please comment and share your favorite ways to help fellow Austinites.

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