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December 08, 2018

Impressive & Inexpensive: This Year’s Guide to Gift Giving

We all need one this time of year – a guide to gift giving so we can wow our friends, family, boss and co-workers while scoring the best deals to save a little cash. Of course, there’s no perfect list, unless you’re Santa Claus, and everyone’s gift1got their own field of recipients. But when someone else does the legwork for you, its a big help.

Everyone needs a guide to gift giving that includes affordable, last-minute ideas.

We all want to find cheap gifts – the trick is to locate the kinds of presents that either: look more expensive than they are; actually are more valuable than what you paid for them; or are so unique that nobody has any idea what the price tag was.

 

The affordable guide to gift giving is a different priority than just a clever gift guide. Sure – you can go to Neiman Marcus, but will another down vest or faux fur boots really impress again this year?

 

The key is to shake it up a little, maybe get away from ordering off your daughter’s Amazon Gift List and put on your thinking cap.

 

Good news! We did it for you.

 

 

For the Family: It’s not just a club membership for cheap toilet paper anymore!

 

There are big advantages to membership warehouse stores, according to an article on the site Money Crashers, beginning with how easy it is to make up the membership fee – usually around $50. You get it back from the savings you get on everything from low-cost household supplies to cheap gifts for everyone year-round. According to Kiplinger, most retail stores have a 25-50% markup, which is why warehouse stores can offer lower prices – because they’re collecting membership fees.

 

This kind of business model uses a no-frills approach to pass on the savings to the public – which is why you can get affordable gifts for him and gifts for her. FedMart was a discount store in the 1950s, sort of a precursor to places like BJs, Costco and Sam’s Club today. They just keep growing too. Whereas they used to be known for cooking supplies and household paper goods in the ‘80s, now you can purchase travel, tires, and even insurance, through such stores as Costco.

 

The guide to gift-giving through a membership warehouse store would certainly include discounted movie and amusement park tickets https://www.costco.com/gift-cards-tickets.html Costco sells cheap movie tickets by the bundle, and discounted tickets to parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland.

 

And it’s not just a few single amusement parks. The Costco site has categories of discounted tickets and passes:gift5
• Movie Tickets
• Theme/Water Parks
• Tourist/City Attractions
• Gyms/Spas/Weight Management
• Restaurants
• Skiing/Winter Activities
• Sailing/Water Activities
• Jewelry/Watches
• Helicopter Tours
• iTunes Gift Cards
• Gift Baskets

 

Prepaid gift cards are a popular gift for him or her, because your gift recipients get to spend the credit cards at their leisure. There’s scarcely anything more practical, considering they can buy gas with it, dine or shop with a card.

 

For the Kids: Under the category of “clever, though affordable guide to gift-giving,” a Surprise Activity Box subscription would be a keeper. 

 

 

Every month the company sends the recipient activity boxes filled with all the supplies needed to spark creativity and enrichment. It’s a creative idea hatched by Donna and Rosy Khalife, who aim to inspire kids to do more than spend the American average of 7 hours a day in front of a screen.

 

Donna Khalife has a Harvard MBA and a background studying non-profit entrepreneurship. Rosy has a marketing degree and worked in advertising and media buying for companies in Europe and the U.S.

 gift6

These two women offer parents the chance to get their kids doing off-line, hands-on play activities.

 

For the Traveler: This wallet has more pockets than your old purse and wallet combined. A waterproof wallet will keep your passport, cash, and tickets safe from all your adventures.

There’s nothing worse than sitting on the sand and either forgetting to take your wallet out of your pocket or not feeling secure to leave your ID with your towel on the beach. This makes it possible to hang ten while hanging onto your identity.

 

For the Beard Grower: To some, the Civil War is never out of style and today that’s true for a lot of men! Gifts for him aren’t always easy to find, but this one is a no-brainer if he’s got facial hair. A beard grooming kit includes: beard wash, beard lube, beard conditioner and a comb. 

 

 gift3

 

For the Beauty Guru: A number of beauty industry companies offer a subscription service these days, which can be great gifts for her. Like a wine club, you let them know your preferences and they send out products to your door, which means these are gifts that keep gifting. Monthly beauty services are a newer phenomenon, though they’re much like the Avon Lady from the mid-1900s.

 

One of those is Birchbox, which is an app you can use on your phone to set up a subscription for five monthly beauty treats. You get a box of both prestige and niche brand beauty supplies, which is a way to sample different products and see which ones you’d like to use on a regular basis.

 

When you find a favorite, you can purchase a full-size version of the product and the company ships for free.

 

You can also send personalized beauty products through Ipsy, which was founded on a mission to “inspire individuals around the world to express their unique beauty.” The purpose is to customize options, so clients are getting exactly what meets their needs.

 

The company began in 2011 with a name derived from the Latin “ipse,” which means “self.” If your guide to gift giving has the individual in mind, Ipsy is probably a good bet. The Ipsy Glam Bag includes five products personalized for the “ipster,” and there’s more information available on the website, including videos and articles. It’s a way for the shopper to try more beauty options in the process of defining their beauty style.

 

gift4For the Coworkers: If Secret Santa is a “thing” at your place of business, you need to come up with new ideas every year that outdo your last. But depending on the size of the company, it can be expensive! For cheap gifts, turn to the lottery. One idea is to buy scratchers in bulk for your fellow employees, because a cheap scratcher could be a $100 gift for a lucky coworker.

 
 

 Visit Brostrick for more last-minute gift ideas if you’re still stumped.

 

The site has some unique ones on the market this year, which are hot-linked to Brostrick. If you’re hunting cheap gifts for a child, you can check out the balloon animal night light. For the other end of the spectrum – a drinker (hopefully an adult) – there’s the Micro Brew Beer Gift Basket or the Whiskey Ice Wedge.

Your friends will think of you all year with gifts that keep gifting.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the present you pick out serves them beyond the 25th of December? The greatest gift of all is a gift that keeps on giving, which in many cases includes helping some of the thousands of charities that need donations this holiday season.

Animal Charities

If the sad eyes of a puppy needing a home is what pierces the heart of your friends and family members, chances are a donation to an animal charity would please them this year. There are many ways to buy gifts for animals – and if you do it in an individual’s name, he/she gets the satisfaction of saving a dog, cat or other animal.

And the good news is, it fits the bill in the case of gifts for her or gifts for him.

Pasadena Humane Society
You can send someone a contribution to the Pasadena Humane Society and express it to them in one of many ways. You can pay for the donation and obtain the receipt, which you send to your gift recipient in a holiday card. You may also create “tribute giving,” where donations are purchased in memory of someone who has passed away.

 

What animal donations can provide is food, shelter, blankets and medical care, plus more opportunities to find adoption families. Many animal shelters and rescue centers have wish lists that you can access online if you’d like to donate items for care. 

 

You can also donate a car to an animal charity through Cars2Charities. It’s an option in any cash-saving guide to gift giving, because you don’t have to pull out your checkbook! You’re simply turning the value of your vehicle into support for animal charities. 

 

Golda’s House
Golda’s House accepts online donations, plus you can shop from their unique merchandise at their store, which is located at 67802 E. Palm Canyon Cathedral City, California. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Check their wish lists online; and know that every purchase goes to support animal rescue, volunteering, and adopting.

 

Because it’s a 501(c)(3), all donations to the organization are tax-deductible. You can also donate your vehicle to Golda’s House and receive a tax break.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

If someone on your list loves environmental causes, you may want to do some “green gifting.” One idea is to donate to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Coachella Valley. Not only is it a worthy cause, it’s a way to show your friend or family member that what they care about is important.

 

Whether you make an annual donation or a one-time gift, it goes to keep animals fed and housed. Even a minimal gift makes a difference. For instance, $5 feeds a snake for a month; $50 provides a week of carrots for the entire collection of animals; $200 purchases one month of meat for a cheetah; and $1,000 takes care of one month of supplies for many of the animals.

 

If that price tag sounds high, what about a car donation to animals through Cars2Charities? It doesn’t involve scraping up cash, and you get to write it off of your taxes.

 

Support local firefighters through gifts that keep gifting.

 

Both fire personnel and victims of wildfires need help. You can donate a vehicle through Cars2charities, and again, it gift2offers disaster relief to those in need and improve your tax situation.

 

The Monterey Firefighters Charitable Foundation per Community Foundation of Monterey can offer you that benefit to your bottom line. If your car donation to disaster relief is made in the name of a person on your gift list, he/she will be proud to be a part of the cleanup effort.

 

You can donate your vehicle through Cars2Charities to support these charities and many more.
It’s the gift that keeps gifting, while putting in no cash on your part, and minimal effort. We tow away the car you no longer need and handle the entire process for you.

 

There aren’t many options in the guide to gift giving that are this easy. And you can choose the charity of your choice!

 

See the site for video details.

December 04, 2018

What Victims of California Fires Really Need

By the time the Camp Fire in California was finally 100% contained, donations for fire victims were pouring in, as millions watched news reports of the more than 150,000 acres burned. There were thousands of grieving victims of the wildfires in Paradise, California, who were living in emergency shelters, campsites and hotels, trying to regroup while suffering the loss of everything.fire3

Because of the scope of recent California fires, there’s a huge need for donations for fire victims.

The deadliest fire in California’s recorded history, the Camp Fire killed nearly 100 individuals, while many remained on a “missing” list. More than 13,500 homes and more than 500 commercial structures were burned. 

 

Collecting donations for fire victims gives friends and neighbors the chance to provide hope and healing to those who are suffering. While you may feel some relief that your house is still standing, there are many ways to channel empathy for those who have experienced loss and couldn’t save their belongings, heirlooms, photos or anything else.

 

Even perfect strangers want to find ways to make California fire donations through reliable programs to offer fire relief to those who are suffering. Donations for fire victims take many forms – the hard part is choosing which organization best supports those you choose to benefit.

 

Charity Navigator is a reliable source of information when you’re determining the integrity of a non-profit organization. It’s the largest evaluator of charities, offering data that lays out the financial documentation of non-profit groups in an objective manner. The site has been working since 2001 to maintain accurate ratings for nearly 10,000 of America’s charities.

 

When you know the best firefighter charities in the state, or in the city in which you live, your contributions can have a serious impact. You want to know that when you share your money it’s going to a good cause, which means you want reputable non-profits to receive your contribution.

You can donate to firefighters directly.

First responders are often fighting devastating fires while their own homes burn to the ground. According to the Fire Rescue 1 website, in this year’s Butte County blaze there were 53 Paradise firefighters and 17 members of the police force who lost their houses.

 

The best firefighter charities are non-profits that get the money where it’s needed, and there are many to choose from, including:
International Association of Fire Fighters Foundation Disaster Relief Fund
The IAFF accepts donations to offer monetary support to firefighters who have personally suffered because of the fires.
National Volunteer Fire Council’s Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund
This directly contributes to emergency personnel and firefighters who have lost homes in the wildfires.
Ventura County Community Foundation’s Sudden and Urgent Needs Fund
Also known as SUNF, the foundation provides $5,000 grants to non-profits who help victims of the Camp Fire and Hill Fire.

California Fire Foundation
Formed in 1987, the California Fire Foundation provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters and the communities where they work to protect citizens. Because it’s a 501(c)(3) you can directly donate, or you can work through a program such as donating a car to charity and specifying the Foundation to receive proceeds.

 

One of the non-profit’s projects is the California Firefighters Memorial, which was designed and built to memorialize fallen firefighters at the Sacramento State Capitol. On an ongoing basis, the CFF supports families of firefighters killed in the line of duty by providing emergency supplies and education assistance to their children.

You can also donate to firefighters through specific, local fire departments.

The area where you live may have a foundation specific to your town or county. Firefighters from the recent devastating California fires have non-profit organizations to serve those who suffered injury on the job.

 

There’s a foundation benefiting firefighters in Monterey, California, which you can choose to support directly or through a fire4car donation to MFFCF. The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3707 has a non-profit entity called the Monterey Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation.

 

The organization is dedicated to providing relief to fire victims, as well as taking care of their own members. You can find out more about making donations for fire victims through Monterey Firefighters on the website.

 

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation and the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund takes care of families of firefighters when they have lost their lives or been injured while fighting fires.

 

To assist the Northern California first responders, the North Valley Community Foundation is able to process donations for fire victims. It helps public safety personnel who are suffering losses from the Camp Fire. Specifically, it includes sheriff deputies, police and fire workers and those in related departments who have lost their homes. Based in Chico, California, the NVCF supports evacuation centers in the area through its resources.

 

There’s a GoFundMe for ambulance crews of Butte County. A group from the California Ambulance Association created a GoFundMe page for the 25 employees and their families who lost their cars, houses and other possessions due to the Camp Fire. The goal was set at $50,000.

 

There’s also a GoFundMe page for members of the Paradise Police Departments. Those whose homes burned in the Camp Fire can gain much-needed relief from donations. They include seven police officers, four dispatchers, two community service officers, two animal control officers, one records clerk, one administrative assistant and the police chief. It was created by the Paradise Police Officers Association, who set up a goal of $200,000.

 

Sometimes cash donations are more useful than donating supplies to fire victims.
It’s not that all kinds of donations aren’t welcome, but a lack of storage space can become a problem when too many supplies come in following a disaster, according to financial website MarketWatch.

 

Even Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg publicly announced they wanted donations to the Camp Fire to be limited to cash. He said, “Please don’t send supplies, as the evacuation centers say they have been inundated.” 

 

The Humane Society and the American Red Cross have doubled down on that opinion. What comes in first – and rapidly – are clothing, food and other necessities, but victims need cash. They lack resources to buy what they and their families need.

 

The Red Cross issued the following statement: “After a disaster hits, the American Red Cross witnesses the incredible generosity of people from across the country who want to help in any way they can with donations of items like clothes, shoes, food and household items, but the reality is, cash donations are best.”

 

Actress Sandra Bullock donated $100,000 to the Humane Society of Ventura County so the organization could house displaced dogs, cats, donkeys, pigs, horses, chickens, ducks and other pets in the area.

 

Gift cards are a practical method for contributing to the cause. You can purchase Walmart or Target gift cards, gift cards from gas stations and money for groceries. Some of those companies and stores that are within range for victims of the California wildfires include: Raley’s, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, Rite-Aid, CVS and Food Maxx.

Fire1

A car donation to fire victims offers much-needed cash funds to those who have lost their homes.

Though it isn’t always the first thing to cross your mind when you see the devastation from wildfires, the thousands of individuals displaced and grieving from the loss of belongings and even family members, you can donate a car to victims of fire.

 

Donating a car to firefighters and fire victims is possible if you go through a trusted car charity program.

 

Cars2Charities has created a subcategory for anyone who wishes to donate their vehicle to fire relief or an organization that helps firefighters and/or victims affected by the California Fires. We will send the proceeds to one of our local nonprofits or if you have a specific cause in mind please contact us and we can reach out to them. 

 

You can donate a car to the Salvation Army through Cars2Charities as a means to impact fire victims. 

 

Not only has the non-profit been a trusted charity for more than 100 years, the Salvation Army is directly involved, offering supplies to those who need it. There is an amazing story about how a local warehouse was converted into a store for fire victims to browse clothing and provisions, thanks to the Salvation Army. Survivors of the Camp Fire were able to go to the Koret distribution warehouse, located near the Chico Airport, to “shop” for belongings. 

 

It’s sometimes ironic – that while thousands of individuals have nothing, you may something in excess you no longer need – a car. The high demand in donations for fire victims isn’t easily met, and when you have something sitting in your garage that has value it can be converted into support for the cause.

 

Getting rid of a car you don’t use seems like a small need by contrast to the toll on California fire victims. The Woolsey Fire destroyed 1,500 structures totaling 97,000 acres. It could even be seen from space, says a CNN report.

 

That’s why many are grateful for the win-win aspect of solving your problem (disposing of a vehicle) by giving a sizable boost to those in need.

You can offer fire relief even in the aftermath of disaster.

Regardless of the location of the devastation, donations for fire victims are always part of the equation. And it extends beyond the time the blaze is contained. 

 

It’s easy to assume that residents of Malibu don’t need financial support, and they are a tight-knit community to be sure. But there are apartments in Point Dume where renters have been displaced and others, such as struggling actors, who live in backhouses and bungalows.

 

Not everyone is a multi-millionaire. Some Malibu residents are retirees, often former tradesmen from the entertainment industry, such as Dick Haverick, who bought a trailer 30 years ago and lives in it on a property in Malibu. 

 

Even people who didn’t lose their homes were evacuated and couldn’t return due to downed power lines, etc. The recovery process is slow and painful for everyone.

 

And it wasn’t just Malibu.

 

The Woolsey Fire started in Simi Valley, California on November 8 during the heavy Santa Ana Winds, then it spread into Malibu and parts of the San Fernando Valley. There were about 1,500 houses and buildings destroyed and damage to hundreds more. Maps show the fire affected two counties because of its spreading.

 

The Hill Fire scorched approximately 4,500 acres in Ventura County. It was named for the Hill Canyon Trail, which is located in an area of Thousand Oaks called Santa Rosa, and it began on November 8, 2018 around 2 p.m., just before the Woolsey Fire.

 

Investigators have determined the Hill Fire was caused by human activity and they’re asking anyone with information about the possible cause of the fire to contact Cal Fire's tip line at 800-468-4408. ABC News reported there’s even a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the person responsible for starting the blaze. 

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So, it seems you can be part of the solution through more than giving resources; you can aid authorities by giving information.

 

There are lots of choices – you can donate clothes to fire victims, donate your car to charity, or simply write a check. But none of these communities will recover quickly. The beauty of the human spirit notwithstanding, there’s damage to account for – even people missing. There’s still work to do.

 

Donations for fire victims will still be needed for months, possibly even years. Whether you dip into savings, carve out part of your paycheck or turn the value of your car into cash. There are many who are grateful for your generosity.

November 26, 2018

Donate Your Unused Miles and Credit Card Points to Charity

Have you gotten a message from your credit card company telling you to “cash in your points before they expire”? You can donate airline miles and points to charity instead of doing something last minute, points3blike scrolling through the choices and picking another home decorator item you don’t actually want.

Converting something you don’t need into support for a cause, like donating a car to charity, is a practical way to show your generosity. If you aren’t planning a trip and you don’t want anything your points can buy, you can donate unused or soon-to-expire miles or points.

Donated miles can benefit many different charities.

Whether your passion is animal rescue, children’s education or another great cause, there are many ways to support a favorite non-profit group. Miles donations have brought comfort, safety and relief to people through a variety of charity groups.

Americans have become increasingly aware of the challenges faced by returning members of the military. Statistics show that approximately 22 veterans per day commit suicide – a sobering thought by many standards. Families of military members suffer as well, in part, because of both the physical and emotional health issues that affect everyone in the household.

You can donate a car to veterans and help the work of a related 501(c)(3) to bring relief to the wounded and support to their families. The Wounded Warrior Project and the USO are two of the best-known organizations, but any non-profit that serves veterans can receive the benefit of your car donation. 

There are also ways to support veterans if you’ve earned points from your bank or credit card companypoints4that you don’t plan to use. For instance, the Hero Miles Program is offered by five different airlines and benefits individuals from the military. The non-profit helps injured service members and their families stay connected during treatment, flying family members to and from their loved one who is in a VA hospital or military facility.

It’s a successful benefit program for the Fisher House Foundation, with nearly 100,000 tickets booked and awarded so far. 

Because the presence of family helps patients in the healing process, over 8 million lodging days have been given by Fisher House so far, and Hero Miles provides the transportation. Airlines work cooperatively with the organization, waiving booking fees and rescheduling emergency flights as needed, without charging extra.

Your miles donations can also provide funding to help patients with life-threatening medical conditions by supporting cancer research and treatment. A non-profit medical center can receive a financial boost, which means more patient care from nurses and a greater level of healing options.

You can benefit children with life-threatening diseases through a car donation to a Children’s Hospital or a charity like the Childhood Leukemia Foundation or March of Dimes.

Most major airlines allow you to donate your miles to charity.

Transferring your miles to benefit a charity is a widely accepted practice, but each airline has its own guidelines.

American Airlines

points1According to American Airlines, more than 60,000 AAdvantage members donated more than 140,000,000 miles in one year through its Kids In Need program, which provides transportation to hundreds of families of children that need medical, educational and social services.

Miles of Hope is the airline’s program contributing to organizations that give food, clothing and shelter to individuals through trusted organizations such as the American Red Cross. The program enables members to make 1,000 miles donations per gifting through the program.

AAdvantage members can support the military through Miles for All Who Serve. It assists organizations that support veterans, members of the military and their families.

Delta Airlines

The flexibility allowed by Delta Airlines’ miles donations program enables you to buy, gift, transfer or donate miles to a cause. Through your SkyMiles account you can gift miles to someone who needs to get from Point A to Point B.

Unlike a vehicle donation to charity, which is tax-deductible, your miles can be transferred to up to four recipients as a simple gift. A friend or family member who lacks the miles they need for a trip can utilize yours, which puts them to use, even when you don’t. There are terms and conditions, including transaction fees.

Southwest Airlines

Points for a Purpose is Southwest Airlines’ program, which allows you to donate to the following nine different charities:

• All Hands Volunteers
• American Red Cross
• Dream Foundation
• Honor Flight Network
• Team Rubicon
• The Mission Continues
• Make-a-Wish
• Ronald McDonald House
• Student Conservation Association

United Airlines

MileagePlus members can make donations to the American Red Cross through United’s charity program. You can do more than just award travel points – you can donate frequent flyer miles and help people in need.

With a minimum of 500 miles, you can donate airline miles to charity through United’s Airline Ambassadors. MileagePlus frequent flyer miles can combat human trafficking by supporting humanitarian teams sent by the airline throughout the world, saving orphans and other vulnerable children.

Alaska Airlines

The charity miles program at Alaska Airlines offers Mileage Plan members the chance to support any number of charities, including:points2

Angel Flight West
Dream Foundation
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation
Hero Miles
Make-a-Wish Foundation
United Negro College Fund
Medical Teams International
National Forest Foundation
The Nature Conservancy

JetBlue

The ball is in your court when you donate airline miles to charity through JetBlue. You can donate TrueBlue points to any charity you choose. The points go directly to the non-profit. 

With three simple steps you can give your miles to support the work of a charity you admire and trust. All they have to do is accept the transfer. First, choose a charity; second, decided on a quantity of miles to transfer; and third, give them to the cause!

Some charities accept miles donations directly without going through an airline.

To donate airline miles and points to charity, you don’t have to go through an airline’s program. You can transfer your frequent flyer miles directly to a favorite cause as well.

Your miles can be the vehicle that flies a victim of tragic circumstances to a new home. Miles4Migrants uses miles donations to help those who have been displaced by war and oppression.

Leaders of the non-profit combined donations from a church congregation and came up with $12,000 for nine plane tickets from Burundi to Toronto. Members of St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Canada had learned a parishioner’s husband and eight children were granted permanent residence visas to join her in Canada, but she couldn’t afford to fly them over from the Republic of Burundi in East Africa.

The Burundian family’s arrival was the first time the charity worked with a Canadian organization to reunite refugees — and the 350,000 miles was the highest mileage redeemed on a single case for the group since its inception in September 2016, according to an article in The Star.

Miles4Migrants is run online by volunteers and has had more than 39 million airline miles pledged from donors around the world and has flown individuals to join their loved ones in Belgium, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

The charity only assists refugees whose separated families have been issued legal permanent residence visas from the receiving country and are referred by community.

Make-A-Wish America is a well-known non-profit group making fantasies into reality for kids who are ill. points5The pediatric patients have become more ambitious since the first wish was granted in 1980 to a child who wanted to become a policeman. In 2016, fulfilling a typical wish cost about $10,000.

More than 77% of all wishes have a travel component, the non-profit’s website says. Granting every wish that comes in would require 50,000 round-trip tickets each year.

“More than 168 million airline miles were donated to Make-A-Wish,” says Josh deBerge, director of communications for Make-A-Wish America. “To put this into context, Make-A-Wish would need more than 2.8 billion airline miles to cover all air-related costs for wish kids and their families.”

Demand is always high, as children contract terminal illnesses continually. Your miles donations can help to offset the high cost of bringing happiness to these special kids.

You can also donate points to charity from your credit card companies.

Donated charity miles are not tax-deductible, like a car charity donation, but credit card points can be, which is one advantage over miles donations.

American Express cardholders can transfer points through the Members Give Program. It allows individuals to donate their points to one or more charities, making the process of charitable giving much easier. AmEx emails you a receipt for your records so you can write it off your taxes.

Cardholders can even do it on a regular basis: You can arrange recurring donations, which are a tax-deductible way to give back.

Citi Card has its PointWorthy Program for its members. Cardholders can currently participate in a promotion with Hilton Honors, which will match donated points to any charity. These benefit the cause you choose and donations are tax-deductible. 

Some of the charities that are front-and-center in the PointWorthy program are California wildfire efforts and other disaster relief programs.

Discover Card encourages their cardholders to donate their cashback bonuses to one of the eight charities they partner with. Discover will contribute an additional $25,000 to the charity that receives the most contributions from their members.

The sky’s the limit points6when it comes to ways you can benefit your fellow man, woman and child. But for many of us, just donating raw cash isn’t always possible.

It’s mutually beneficial when we find a way to fund the hard work of organizations putting food, clean water, safety and other needs into the lives of the powerless. They get funding and the giver receives a tax benefit.

Something we have in our possession – miles, points, a car we no longer use – can bring those good deeds to life. When you donate airline miles and points to charity, or donate your car to charity, you join that effort.

November 15, 2018

A Car Donation Goes the Distance in Helping Families with Focus on the Family

For more than 40 years through the grace of God, Focus on the Family has fotf logobeen a support system for families – strengthening marriages and helping parents raise their children by applying Christian principles and proven strategies.

There are households without strong leadership that give children no standards for excellence. There are marriages floundering as couples look for hope and help. A car donation can help offer resources to families that provide biblical wisdom and guidance, as well as needed encouragement and support.

You can donate a car to Focus on the Family through Cars2Charities.

Like an individual dying of thirst in the desert, families are in crisis and need assistance from those who can provide it. When you decide to upgrade what you drive, the value of the car you don’t need can shift into a new gear: By giving your support through a Focus on the Family Car Donation you are helping those seeking a better direction for their lives.

Focus on the Family has the biblical integrity a donor can count on and will use a car donation to strengthen families and spread the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Recent data indicates that in the last year alone Focus on the Family has been able to:

• Help at least 259,000 people make decisions for Christ or rededicate their lives to Him.

• Field more than 26,000 phone calls in the Counseling department which is staffed by caring licensed counselors. Individuals contacting Focus are seeking guidance with a host of difficult challenges in their family such as addiction, crises involving children or marital relationships, financial problems, and a broad array of other issues.

• Come alongside more than 132,000 married couples to help them through a major marital crisis. Also, since the inception of the Hope Restored marriage intensive program, Focus has had a hand in saving 3,000 marriages on the FOTF1brink of divorce.

• Provide help for more than 187,000 parents working through a significant crisis involving their child.

• Prepare Alive to Thrive: A Biblical Guide to Preventing Teen Suicide, a program aimed at equipping parents, churches, and youth workers to help kids avoid the kinds of thoughts, relationships, and personal choices that would make them more prone to suicidal tendencies and risky, detrimental decisions.

This is just a quick snapshot of the types of life-changing outreaches underway that are at the core of what Focus on the Family does to reach out to families. By your vehicle donation through Cars2Charities, you will be partnering with them in addressing the needs of countless people – accepting and assisting them right where they are.

A car donation for families also can have a worldwide impact on the social and emotional state of individuals across the world.

Because Focus on the Family reaches out across the globe in many languages and cultures, people in every walk of life have an opportunity to experience a new life in Jesus Christ and build relationships based on biblical principles.

Focus on the Family's Global Partnership serves families in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with associate offices in 12 countries. They’re all hubs of support, bringing to everyday citizens a message of peace and hope through scriptural truths conveyed via resources, counsel, and outreach to the community. Focus on the Family materials bring a message of relevance in different languages while maintaining respect for individual cultures.

Every Focus on the Family office, whether in the U.S. or another part of the world is committed to the mission: Helping families thrive. A car donation to kids will enable this amazing 501(c)(3) to continue their good work of spreading encouragement and hope by bringing the Good News to people stateside and around the globe.

You can strengthen marriages and improve parenting with a car donation for families.

Focus on the Family has been blazing trails since 1977, meeting the needs of moms, dads and children by providing biblical guidance for families and individuals. Their staff and volunteers are committed to spreading compassion in the name of Christ.

What began with a weekly 30-minute radio broadcast grew to include the Focus on the Family magazine, a daily radio broadcast, video curriculums, and FOTF2online streaming of podcasts on topics from marriage to financial accountability. Individuals who make a car donation through this Christian charity are maximizing their outreach by helping provide life-giving guidance to parents and married couples as well as singles.

If you don’t have a car to donate, for families, you can donate directly to Focus on the Family.

To learn more about Focus on the Family, thousands of families visit their Colorado Springs, Colorado, campus each year. Tours of the facility are offered, beginning with the Welcome Center. There’s a bookstore (in addition to their online bookstore), an art gallery, and many special attractions for children.

Families can introduce their kids to Focus on the Family ministries while letting them enjoy numerous activities. There’s a recording studio called KYDS Radio where children can record themselves playing a role in a radio drama and take home a complimentary CD. Also, they can get a snack in the turn-of-the-century “Whit’s End Soda Shoppe,” named for an Adventures in Odyssey character. You can spend the day exploring these offerings as well as the fotf 6Narnia Adventure Room, a three-story slide in the play area, and more.

As a trusted non-profit charity, Focus on the Family is a great organization to support whether through the car donation program, other non-cash gifts, or monetary contributions. Putting faith into action, Focus on the Family is transparent with how donations are spent, so you can be more certain that your car donation will truly improve the quality of life of individuals who are impacted by their efforts. And that’s really good news.

You can find the donation form on their website if you choose to donate to Focus on the Family directly. And we encourage you to visit Focus on the Family’s YouTube Page where you’ll discover testimonials, videos of their broadcast tapings, and a variety of spiritually enriching information.

November 13, 2018

Car Donation for Veterans: Driving Away Post-Military Pain Through National Veterans Foundation

With every tragedy involving a veteran in crisis, it’s easy to feel helpless. But a car donation for veterans is a real way to relieve the burden these men and women carry and to save lives in the NVF5process. 

Whether you know a veteran or simply turn on the news, it’s clear that returning men and women of the military need our aid – physically and emotionally. Americans have grieved a number of deadly shootings, reports of domestic violence and a suicide rate of 22 veterans per day.

Donating your car to a veterans’ organization is a healthy response to a growing problem.

National Veterans Foundation helps veterans and their families who are going through a crisis.

A few years ago, government statistics claimed that more than 22 million Americans have served in the military, which is over 7% of the country. If you consider just male service members, it’s 13% of the population.

Chances are good you have a veteran in your life – may be your father went to Korea or your sister served in Afghanistan. Whichever branch of the military and whatever part of the globe they’re sent to, they may be suffering in more ways than one.

NVF3A car donation for veterans through the National Veterans Foundation is an easy way to care for individuals who are suffering from PTSD, or those who just need some assistance getting a job or obtaining medical treatment.

Veterans of any and every era are encouraged to reach out to the lifeline offered by NVF – those who served on an open battlefield, in a tank, overseas or others who served in a clerical role. They offer vet-to-vet assistance, where there’s someone who understands their sleeplessness, nightmares, fears or suicidal thoughts.

Female veterans sometimes come home to children and find the transition impossible to bear. They’re just a phone call away from help. NVF counselors can help them find solutions and make sure families of vets get enough food to eat and connect them to employment opportunities. 

The decision to make a car donation for veterans funds these services, which is a step toward lowering the numbers of casualties that occur among civilians.

According to the Southern California nonprofit New Directions for Veterans, the most common problems for returning men and women in uniform are: 

• A veteran’s relationship with him/herself, feelings of self-worth, a sense of identity, purpose.
• Need to reassess their life goals and help with setting and achieving personal and professional goals.
• Trouble coping with a new life in contemporary society. They no longer receive the respect and authority they’re used to from performing at a certain rank; instead, they are addressed simply by name, without a military title.
• The psychological effects of trauma, which can suppress personal and professional growth. They can be plagued by issues that include PTSD, survivor’s guilt, depression and/or substance abuse/addiction.
• A physical handicap a combat veteran incurs as a result of injuries, which may have included disfigurement, amputation or scarification.

 

Finding the best car donation for veterans enables your gift to go to the men and women who need it.

 

When you’ve got an easy – and rewarding – opportunity to get involved in providing real solutions, you want to be sure it has the maximum effect. In other words, you want your car donation for veterans to sincerely meet needs, plus you have a vested interest in garnering an appropriate benefit to your bottom line. 

To be sure the car donation company you choose will fulfill your goals – to support our troops – you need to find out about the car donation process they use.

Find out what types of vehicles they accept and whether they make it easy for you with a tow-away service. If you’ve been thinking of replacing your boat or making an RV donation to veterans, here’s your chance. 

And the vehicle donation program you choose should take responsibility for seeing that the car gets sold and complete the paperwork for you; it should be simple on your end. 

Check the car donation company’s level of experience and reviews.

 NVF4It’s also a good idea to inquire about how the company maximizes the value of its donation vehicles, thus raising tax deductions for clients, which is based on their car’s selling price.

National Veterans Foundation has a four-star rating with Charity Navigator, the most relied-upon source of ratings for non-profit giving. The site enables you to input the name of any 501(c)(3) to see its rating and details about the organization. 

When you type in National Veterans Foundation, you see its overall score of four stars out of four and a rating in the 90s. You can also look into the organization’s financial performance metrics and the level of accountability and transparency the NVF provides.

Like NVF’s clients in their job placement program know, it’s imperative that you have reliable transportation. If you question that your own set of wheels is fully reliable, it’s nice to know that picking out a new car is providing for veterans in need. 

The NVF website has information about jobs, VA benefits and car donations for veterans. Making things easy for veterans is a top goal for nearly every non-profit that aims to meet the needs of returning service men and women. National Veterans Foundation enables individuals who need information and assistance to obtain it with the click of a mouse.

Educational and training workshops are among the most effective developmental opportunities the non-profit offers veterans. With added knowledge and a greater skill set, they become more employable.

And finding employment for the military when they come home is a job in and of itself. For anyone seeking professional services, a referral builds confidence when you have to make a choice. The “Resources” page of the NVF website has scores of suggested contacts. While the organization doesn’t go so far as to guarantee the outcomes from the resources listed, they offer validation.

“We believe them to be good programs working in good faith to assist veterans,” says the webpage. “In some cases, we have a direct experience in working with these organizations. In other cases, we are recommending them based on their reputation and the information we have available.”

By reading over the NVF’s list of resources, you can see where your car donation for veterans will go. Resources on the page include suicide hotlines, housing, and employment referrals and help with VA benefits. There are links to applications for:

• Pensions
• Educational opportunities
• Rehabilitation
• Health Care from the VA
• Disability
• Employment

National Veterans Foundation offers help in managing benefits through referrals for the following:

• Gaining VA letters and payment history
• Claims for compensation
• Direct deposit
• Document uploading
• Home loan eligibility

Some of the important resources promoted on the NVF site cover access to healthcare, including VA prescriptions, medical records, appointments, messaging with providers, hearing aids, prosthetic socks, and health insurance.

You can tap into any of these programs by clicking on the assistance request page.

Homelessness is at the top of the list when you look at various symptoms stemming from issues veterans bring home with them. Often the result of problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health challenges, returning service persons may have trouble acquiring or maintaining employment, which leads to a lack of funds for housing.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, known as SAMHSA, says that 10% of homeless Americans are military veterans. And 75% of these individuals are battling mental disorders and/or substance abuse. Combat veterans are good candidates for psychological health assistance to smooth the transition to life in the States.

There is also the SSVF program (Supportive Services for Veteran Families) through the federal government, which attains grants from the VA which are awarded to non-profit and consumer organizations to provide for low-income veterans and their families.

Services offered include:
• Healthcare
• Daily living
• Financial planning
• Transportation
• Legal
• Childcare
• Counseling 

NVF1The National Veterans Foundation blog is highly informative as well, covering a range of topics from job fairs and other events to articles about vets. There are heartwarming stories and anecdotes both for the benefit of veterans and for the general public. Topics include the legal defense of veterans in court, help offered by unlikely sources and veterans in crisis. 

If a car donation for veterans isn’t possible, you may donate directly to the National Veterans Foundation. By visiting the NVF website you can consider your options for support. Perhaps you don’t have a car to replace or you’ve committed it to your son or daughter already. Of course, your support for veterans doesn’t have to come through a car donation program.

The “Support” tab at the top of the NVF website has a drop-down for car donation and for general giving opportunities. Those who give can become one of the thousands who has provided for more than 450,000 veterans served by the National Veterans Foundation. 

You can choose various denominations listed, from $10 to $1,000 or fill in your own donation total. There’s also an opportunity to become a monthly, sustaining contributor.

Like a car donation for veterans, those who give monetary donations to NVF gain a tax deduction. The Lifeline for Vets helps service men and women of any age or era who are facing transition issues. The hotline receives crisis calls for emotional support and resources.

National Veterans Foundation considers every call a suicide prevention call. The NVF Lifeline phone number is 888.777.4443 or you can request assistance online.

When considering a monetary donation or a car donation to National Veterans Foundation, you finance the hiring of trained counselors, purchase housing costs and battle hunger. A gift of $20 provides for one call through Lifeline for Vets. A $100 donation provides case management for a veteran for a day. And $200 is enough to sponsor a homeless veteran outreach mission.

Housing is a key issue for the National Veterans Foundation. The organization connects individuals with programs such as VASH – the government’s HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. It gives rental assistance to veterans without a roof over their heads through Housing Choice Vouchers, or HCV, and clinical services from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

NVF sometimes refers clients to PATH, People Assisting the Homeless, which supports veterans who are living on the street, handling the critical need for safe housing. 

NVF2They also lead individuals to NCHV, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a resource for a network of community service providers and government agencies addressing homelessness. They seek to provide food, assistance for job-seekers, legal defense services and healthcare. Some veterans have problems interfacing with landlords, childcare providers, utility companies and movers, so they need help with these details.

From wounded combat veterans to those struggling with emotional issues, all support for National Veterans Foundation meets needs. A car donation for veterans is one way to add to that support while solving two needs of your own – a place to send the vehicle you don’t need and a benefit to your taxes.

October 25, 2018

Types of Vehicle Donations that Benefit Charity

You probably know a nonprofit that does great work, and there are various types of vehicle donations that enable you to put your money where your mouth is.

From kids and health programs to animal welfare or church groups, there is a charity program for nearly every cause. But the challenge for all of them is how to stay afloat by raising enough financial support to keep the lights on.

October 20, 2018

Caring for Kids Through Car Donation

We’ve all had a childhood, with its highs and lows. When you donate a car to children’s charities you enable more kids to have healthy, happy childhoods by battling pediatric cancers, homelessness, hunger, mental health issues, and other challenges.

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