When creating your list of people to give to this holiday season, don’t forget to include your community! On behalf of Threads of Care, I’ve created a list of twelve local organizations to donate to this holiday season, benefiting Nashville and the surrounding communities. As always, Treads of Care (TOC) welcomes and appreciates donations.

1. Needs of Our Kids
TOC is honored to partner with Franklin Special School District’s Needs of Our Kids organization (FSSD’s NOOK). Many people are unaware of the poverty our Williamson County neighbors face on a daily basis. Approximately 39% of the FSSD students are on free or reduced lunch, according to the Williamson Herald. Students often arrive at school without adequate clothes. In fact, this fall an FSSD parent told me of a young girl who came to school in ballet flats and consequently couldn’t play with the other children at recess. NOOK quickly provided her with a pair of sneakers, and she was back to running around like all kids should.

You can help children enjoy their time at school by donating new socks, shoes, underwear, hoodies, coats, gloves, hats, scarves, dress code shirts and pants. Monetary donations are also gladly accepted. Email thenook@fssd.org to donate, or visit fssd.org/nook

2. The Oasis Center
Another of TOC’s fantastic partners is the Oasis Center, whose mission is to “help young people in Middle Tennessee move into a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood.” Located in Nashville, the nonprofit helps youth on the path towards success. They focus on those in crisis, those seeking social justice, and those working towards an education or career.

I’ve visited the Oasis Center many times to drop off TOC’s donations, and I am always taken aback by the magnitude of creative ways the organizations are helping the local youth.

The Oasis Center’s wish-list includes new socks and underwear, sweatshirts, jackets, deodorant, ponchos, shoes, jeans, hats, gloves, hand warmers, travel-sized toiletries, and more. Donated items can be dropped off at Oasis (1704 Charlotte Avenue, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37203) from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. To financially donate visit oasiscenter.org/donate

3. Room In the Inn
TOC partners with Room in the Inn (RITI), whose mission is “to provide programs that emphasize human development and recovery through education, self-help and work, centered in community and long term support for those who call the streets of Nashville home.” RITI is widely known for its Winter Shelter program, in which congregations across Tennessee host the homeless for a night and welcome them with warm meals and fellowship.

You can volunteer through your church to set up beds, cook meals, and converse with those in need. I had the wonderful opportunity to do so at Franklin First United Methodist Church, and it was one of the most impactful experiences. In fact, I ended up staying at the church an extra hour learning about the struggles of homelessness from those who experience it first hand.

Make a difference in lives of your fellow Tennesseans by donating to Room in the Inn at roomintheinn.org/donate

4. Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives
Threads of Care is especially honored to partner with Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives. This nonprofit is unique in its recognition of the array of causes people are passionate about. By partnering with a large number of charities, Jumbled Dreams, allows people to donate to and advocate for a myriad of causes all in one place. Like Threads of Care, Jumbled Dreams was founded and is run by a teen who saw a need and created a way to help. Thirteen-year-old Sydnee continues to serve Nashville and the surrounding community – find out more at jumbleddreams.org

I had the privilege to speak with Sydnee and the teens involved with Jumbled Dreams this summer. They are such a delightful and inspiring group, and I can’t wait to see how they change the world!

Scroll through the collection of charities and donate to whatever cause speaks to you at jumbleddreams.org/donations

5. The Word Wagon
“The Word Wagon is dedicated to promoting literacy in low-income neighborhoods by providing reading opportunities and placing reading materials in the hands of children.” By donating children’s books to this incredible organization, you help local youth learn how to read and improve their literacy skills.

Reading was my favorite activity as a child and still remains so. I was honored to meet The Word Wagon’s Founder and Executive Director, Casey Enright, at the Franklin Tomorrow Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards this past summer. I couldn’t imagine my life without books, and I knew I had to help. I spent the following afternoon sorting through my bookshelves, discovering my childhood favorites, and excitingly adding them to the donation pile. I ended up with two laundry baskets of books to donate. I called Ms. Enright, and the next day I was helping her load the books into The Word Wagon itself. As she drove off with the stories of princesses and pirates, I knew a child would soon be experiencing the same love I did.

Take time this winter to sort through your bookshelves, and once you have a mountain of books to donate, email info@thewordwagon.com You can also volunteer to read to children by signing up at thewordwagon.com Happy reading!

6. One Generation Away
“One Generation Away distributes healthy foods to families throughout Middle Tennessee that currently do not have access to food sources due to economic and physical barriers.” The organization rescues food from local grocery stores and once a month delivers it to neighborhoods in need via the mobile food pantry.

I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Founder and Executive Director, Chris Whitney, last summer. In our short conversation, I could feel his passion and dedication to helping our neighbors in need.

Check out onegenaway.com/volunteer to find the next food distribution location and show up ready to help! You can also donate at onegenaway.com/donate

7. Thistle Farms
“Thistle Farms is a nonprofit social enterprise, based in Nashville, TN, dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. We provide a safe place to live, a meaningful job, and a lifelong sisterhood of support because we believe love is the most powerful force in the world.”

From enriching body lotions to comfy t-shirts, Thistle Farms offers a variety of ways to support local women survivors. With your purchase, you can simultaneously give the perfect holiday gift and give back to the local community. Shop the collection or donate at thistlefarms.org

8. Project 615
Project 615 is “an apparel company focused on serving others by selling high quality products that advocate for world changing causes.” Look good and feel good by supporting their “Love People” campaign. With every purchase from the campaign, 20 meals will be provided to the homeless through The Bridge organization. Check out the stylish shirts here: project615.org/love-people

9. Friends of Franklin Parks and Friends of Warner Parks
Two-for-one recommendation! The parks systems are incredibly important to any community, and you can support one or both of these local organizations.

The Friends of Franklin Parks is a “not-for-profit organization that formed to bridge the gap between the services and amenities offered by government funding and those that allow us to take full advantage of the incredible natural and historic resources of our community.” We all love the Franklin Parks, so why not become their friend? Support them at friendsoffranklinparks.org/donate

The Friends of Warner is “dedicated to the preservation, protection, and stewardship of Percy and Edwin Warner Parks.” Explore the miles of nature trails and support the park system by donating, volunteering, or becoming a friend at warnerparks.org/support

10. Poverty and the Arts
Poverty and the Arts “exists to equip people impacted by homelessness with the creative resources, training, and marketplace to overcome barriers to employment and income by leveraging their creative talent, participating in developmental workshops, and establishing vital social networks and relationships.”

Shop the original artwork and merchandise to support those affected by homelessness move forward and achieve a better life. povertyandthearts.org/shop

11. Small World Yoga
Give the gift of yoga this season by donating to Small World Yoga. A nonprofit based in Nashville, Small World Yoga instructors extend their classes to community members who may otherwise not have access to yoga’s healing power. Such locations include prisons, schools, and retirement homes.

Donate and sign up for a class here: smallworldyoga.org

12. Threads of Care
Finally, what kind of Executive Director would I be if I didn’t encourage everyone to donate to Threads of Care! Our motto “teens helping teens one thread at a time” perfectly captures the essence of TOC. We are a teen-run nonprofit organization focused on collecting and distributing clothes to the impoverished youth in our local community.

Donate new or gently used winter items during our clothing drive from December 3-14 at TOC high schools (see image). Clothing can be donated year-round, just email info@threadsofcare.org Donated money is used to purchase new underwear and socks. Donate here gofundme.com/threads-of-care or on the Threads of Care website.

Wherever you choose to donate this holiday season, do it with love. We are all so blessed, so take time to give thanks and give back. Happy Holidays!