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Best Local Organizations For Holiday Donations In Chicago

There is one holiday present that can have great impact, does not require knowledge of size, won't be returned, can be taken care of without the hassle of crowded stores and is on wish lists everywhere. The lists detail goods needed and ways to donate items or money. What is needed is listed on not-for profit organization sites that help veterans, children, animals, abused women, the homeless, the sick and the elderly. Click here for some past charity suggestions and see the following five gift ideas where money and items do a lot of good.

Cell Phones For Soldiers
243 Winter St.
Norwell, MA 02061
(866) 716-2220

An organization founded by the Boston-area Bergquist family in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers helps make it possible for active-duty military members and veterans to communicate by providing free talk minutes and mail-calling cards. Indeed, it has provided more than 210 million free minutes since inception. It also provides veterans with emergency funds through its auxiliary arm, Helping Heroes Home. There are several Chicago-area cell phone drops. Click here and type in the area code to find nearby places. Cell phones should be gently used or newish. Click here on how to donate money or how to mail phones.

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Connections For Abused Women And Their Children
1116 N. Kedzie Ave., Fifth Floor
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 489-9081

Formerly called Chicago Abused Women Coalition, Connections for Abused Women and Their Children, known as CAWC, provides counseling, a hotline and programs for women and children. It has the Greenhouse Shelter which is at capacity every day and operates the bilingual Humboldt Park Outreach Program, the Hospital Crisis Intervention Project at John Stroger Hospital and the Domestic Violence Services at Haymarket Center. Click here regarding monetary donations. Click here for the wish list.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Of Chicagoland And Northwest Indiana, Inc.
1301 W. 22nd St., Suite 905.
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 623-5300

When trying to imagine what parents experience when they are not near their child who has to be hospitalized and what a hospitalized child feels who doesn't have a parent nearby, it is easy to understand the need for a place where families can stay near a hospital. It is also easy to appreciate a special room in a hospital where these families can relax. The Ronald McDonald Houses and Family Rooms cover both needs. The organization's charities also have the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a moving health-care facility that provides dental and other services to children who might not otherwise receive the care. In the Chicago area, the Ronald McDonald House Charities has a house near Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, near Loyola University Medial Center on the Hines VA complex in Hines, near Lurie Children's Hospital downtown Chicago and near the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital on South Drexel Avenue in Chicago. For Wish List gifts, click here. To donate auction items, click here. To collect and donate pop tabs that will be exchanged for dollars, click here.

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Lake County
1800 Grand Ave.
Waukegan, IL 60085
(847) 689-4357

West Suburban
1851 S. 9th Ave.
Maywood, IL 60153
(708) 338-1724

South Suburban
414 W. Lincoln Highway
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
(708) 754-4357

PADS provides emergency shelter to homeless people, no matter their race or gender. The organization also provides services to help its shelter residents become self-efficient by assisting with transportation, clothing, medicine and appointments. Each of the PADS locations listed has wish lists or donation contacts. For Lake County, click here. For West Suburban, click here. For South Suburban, click here.

PAWS Chicago
Lincoln Park Adoption Center
1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 475-4242

PAWS has a "no kill" philosophy that promotes animal welfare through education and the proper control of cat and dog populations to end homelessness. Paws Chicago has an adoption center at the Clybourn location and one in Highland Park. It also has the Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic in Chicago. Click here to see the wish list and ways to donate.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities For Animal Lovers In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on


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