Simple Ways to Help Kids in Need this Summer

Summer 2017 is here and with it comes barbecues, beaches, camps, and NO SCHOOL! While being out for the summer makes a whole lot of kids very happy, for the 22 million kids who receive free or reduced price meals during the school year, summer poses a serious problem. How do struggling families fill this gap to keep their kids happy and healthy all summer long?

Local food pantries provide many low-income families with the support they need to survive, especially when the kids are home from school. But keeping a steady stream of food and supplies coming into food pantries during the summer months is especially hard. Organizations, schools and businesses that run food drives are typically quiet during the summer and individual supporters are hard-pressed to remember the needs of their local food pantry while in “summer mode”.

Perhaps you have stopped short of helping in the past because you are already juggling too much. But, times have changed and you can help your local nonprofit right from your own home and with minimal time investment. Check out these tips for caring for your community and helping your needy neighbors this summer.

1) Party with purpose. Are you planning a summer get together? Stress values of kindness and generosity by enlisting your whole family to help collect food donations at your event. Simply ask your guests to bring a canned good(s). Your kids will love setting up and decorating your donation table and your guests will love the opportunity to contribute with this simple act of giving.

2) Cook a meal for a cause. Often organizations have programs to provide meals for seniors, the ill and others in need. Include the whole family in the planning, shopping and especially the cooking. Teaching your children how to prepare a healthy meal AND show compassion for others is a great way to spend your time this summer!

3) Run an online drive. You can raise food and supplies your local pantry needs all from the comfort of your home or business. It’s easy to support any local charity using YouGiveGoods' free, online drive service. Customize your drive event page and share with friends, family, and colleagues via email and shortly media. And take advantage of your kids’ tech savvy when designing and promoting your online drive. Give them a project for good that involves social media? We say that’s the definition of a win-win-win situation! Learn more about online drives.

4) Use your connections. Dropping your kids at camp or swim practice? Why not combine forces and ask if the organization would sponsor a food drive. Again, if you are not up for managing the logistics of a collection box drive, you can run a YouGiveGoods drive together with the sponsoring organization. By expanding your reach you increase your potential impact exponentially.

5) Virtual volunteering is a thing. We know your intentions are good but your time is limited. Now you can share your talents and skills with a cause you care about without leaving your home. Simply contact the organization and let them know you are interested in virtual volunteering opportunities. Your expertise in accounting, marketing, technology, graphic design and more can provide a needed service that frees up valuable resources for other areas of operation.

Let Summer 2017 be a season of action and compassion. Take the first step and carve out just a little bit of time to help fight hunger in your own community. Not only will you likely continue with future charitable acts, the lesson you teach by example to your children and the action you may inspire in others grows your little effort into something quite grand!

Learn more about online drives

Commemorate and Show Support on Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2017 is here and with it we mark the unofficial start of summer. There are great sales, parties, and a day off from work and school. In all the excitement it is very easy to lose site of the solemn reason for this national holiday.

On Memorial Day we honor the 1+ million U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in service. One way to honor the fallen is by visiting graves of soldiers and placing a flag or flower at each one. Another observance is flying the U.S. flag at half-staff. The official ceremony has the flag raised quickly to the top of the staff and then slowly lowered to half-staff. Then at noon it is returned to full-staff. While raised at half-staff we are called to remember all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. When it is returned to full staff we are called to honor their sacrifice by acting to protect our freedom at all costs. Learn more about Memorial Day and its obrservances at

In addition to the traditional observances, we can also commemorate the holiday by showing our support to our current active military, their families, and our veterans. May is, in fact, National Military Appreciation Month. How would you like to show your support? A great reference is the article, Ways to Show Support to Military Families and Veterans.

One tangible way to support our troops is to start or donate to a drive collecting goods to benefit military members. You can support military far from home by purchasing goods that will be placed in comfort packages and mailed to our active duty troops overseas by Operation Support Our Troops – America via their We Support While You Serve online drive.

Or, choose to support military families here at home. You can purchase most-needed goods to help military families in need this summer served by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst via their Summer Support for Military Families online drive.

So, amidst the fun and excitement of the weekend, let's all remember to take a moment to remember those brave soldiers who gave their lives fighting for our freedom and to support those today who have committed their lives to protecting our great nation and all its citizens.

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New products bring aid to worthy causes

Since 2012, YouGiveGoods has been helping people and organizations serve their communities by running online drives to raise needed products for nonprofits across the country. We’ve been so pleased to add new products each and every year to our service. Only four months into 2017 and we already have some exciting additions to announce.

One of our favorite new partners, TIAA, a Fortune 100 financial services organization, approached us in February about holding a drive to support one of their causes, Dress for Success. Of course, we were very open to finding a way to bring aid to this cause which empowers women to break the cycle of poverty by providing professional attire and guidance in attaining a quality job.

Working with the passionate professionals in their Advance ERG (employee resource group) in collaboration with “TIAA Serves” corporate responsibility program we sourced great items for their Dress for Success drive: colorful chiffon tops, sturdy professional portfolios, and memory sticks.

TIAA employees loved the selection and exceeded the drive’s goal by purchasing 312 items for Dress for Success locations around the U.S!

Another one of our all-time favorite partners, St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, approached us in March about putting together a backpack of supplies for distribution to area homeless men. Specifically, they requested that we add an item that we did not carry but is in high demand at homeless shelters – underwear. We were able to source high-quality (Hanes brand) men’s boxers in time for the drive which offered a pre-packed box with a backpack, 2 sticks of deodorant, 3 bars of soap, a 3-pack of boxers and a 3-pack of t-shirts.

The drive, The Prep Serves the Homeless, raised 940 items for the Bethesda Project in Philadelphia to aid in their mission to “find and care for the abandoned poor”.

Based on continuing need, the packs of boxers have been added to our permanent list of available items. We know this fills a need and will be an in-demand item for homeless shelter drives. The tops, portfolios and memory sticks will remain as special order items available for possible inclusion in future drives. We hope you find our growth as exciting as we do! Every new product we add opens the door to supporting a new cause and supporting a person in need in a new and valuable way. A special thank you to TIAA and St. Joe’s Prep for including us in their inspiring service efforts. Look for more exciting happenings down the road from YGG!

YouGiveGoods hosts its first international drive

YouGiveGoods reached a major milestone this April, our first international drive, thanks to the compassion of the employees of Diageo North America..

Diageo is a global alcoholic beverage company with North American headquarters located in Norwalk, Connecticut. Their corporate mission of philanthropy is run under their group, Diageo C.A.R.E.s (Community Activity and Relief Efforts). Diageo C.A.R.E.s planned to hold their first YouGiveGoods corporate challenge drive raising food for five nonprofit organizations across the U.S. in March 2017.

At the end of the planning stages for the food drive, news hit about devastating floods and mudslides hitting Peru killing at least 70 people, displacing thousands and destroying roughly 150,000 structures including homes and hospitals.

The employees wanted to provide aid immediately and hoped to include a water bottle drive for Peru in their already planned YouGiveGoods challenge drive.

Although YouGiveGoods has never done an international drive, we were ready to tackle the challenge and set up the Peru water drive. With the help of Diageo C.A.R.E.s and Help Peru (a U.S.- based nonprofit which aids the people of Peru), YouGiveGoods was able to coordinate the purchase of water through Yacqua, a water company in Peru. Yacqua would also handle the delivery of donated water to distribution sites.

Diageo North America employees purchased 140 bottles of water through their online water drive which ended on April 12. In recognition of the continuing need for relief in Peru, YouGiveGoods donated an additional 110 bottles of water to the cause. In total 250 bottles of water will be delivered to displaced people in Peru at the end of April as a result of the drive.

YouGiveGoods’ very first international drive was a great learning experience. And, we’ve already received positive feedback. Michael Holme, President of Help Peru, sent us this note, “Many thanks for your support!!! Much appreciated. I really like what you guys are doing. It’s a very good way for people to donate.” We look forward to continuing to grow YouGiveGoods’ services and helping more people internationally in the future.

photo credits: The Atlantic, Help Peru

Food pantries need your help this spring

Spring 2017 is here! We have peeled off our heavy winter coats and are ready to welcome blooming flowers, green grass and sunny days.

But, spring can be a stressful time for our local food pantries. Food banks which were fueled all winter long by large holiday food donations are now running low. And, looming in the distance is summer, when food is in even greater demand as kids are home from school and no longer have access to free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch. Just how bad is the problem of childhood hunger?

Nearly 1 in 5 children in America are food insecure. Lack of nutritious food hinders a child's ability to grow a healthy body AND mind. Not only do they suffer health problems, they also have less energy to focus and learn in school.

The support of food pantries is invaluable to struggling families. Many colleges and universities have started their own food pantries to support students who face food insecurity. You'll find food banks and pantries in both large cities and small towns to meet the growing need.

Hunger exists in your community. No community is immune to the problem of hunger. For many families working hard to make ends meet it can take only one health issue or unforeseen calamity to put their entire family at risk for food insecurity.

You can make a difference in the lives of the hidden hungry in your community this spring by supporting your local food pantry. Food pantries rely on volunteers to help with operations and donations to keep their shelves stocked. Why not make a call and learn more about the needs of a food pantry in your area? From unpacking boxes to data entry, your help would be so greatly appreciated. Another great way to show your support is to run a food drive. Check out this article for tips on running a successful food drive.

And, consider getting your whole family involved. Even the busiest family can take a little time to set up an online food drive. is a free online drive service that is changing the way people donate products to support their communities. It's so easy to do and fun for everyone to check results in real-time. And, the kids will love the social sharing aspect of this new way to give.

So, choose to make a difference this spring. In raising up your struggling neighbors, you're helping to build a stronger community.

CSR All Year Long: Monthly Community Impact Events

One of the trends for corporate social impact in 2017 is for corporations large and small to fully incorporate CSR into their corporate culture. In order to do this they’ll need to work towards greater, measurable social impact and offer multiple pathways for employees to get involved. For many companies this will mean an expansion of their existing CSR program. In order to keep this culture alive all year long, CSR professionals need to get creative. The programs should make sense in terms of corporate mission and have meaning to the employees.

This can be a tall order considering some organizations still do not have a designated CSR professional, let alone a fully staffed department. But, luckily technology is evolving to help. Many corporations are choosing to add YouGiveGoods online drive events into their CSR plan. An online drive for goods is an ideal way to diversify your program and can be worked into your schedule anytime of the year.

Here's a year-long glance of some of the events we host corporate drives for on a monthly basis:

Check out the products available for your corporate drive. Do you have an idea for a drive you don't see above? We are adding new products everyday so just give us a call. Let us help you get started. Contact us today!

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Take Part in Random Acts of Kindness Week 2017

Did you know we are right in the middle of Random Acts of Kindness Week? This year the week of February 12-18 is designated Random Acts of Kindness Week and if you haven’t yet made an effort to be a part of it, there's still time! A great place to get started is at the center of the movement, and follow #RAKWEEK2017.

The Random Acts of Kindness movement aims to make the world a better place by encouraging people of all ages to carry out simple acts of kindness. But, what qualifies as a Random Act of Kindness?

The simplest acts may seem more like common courtesy to some but they still count. They only take a moment out of your day and almost no effort on your part but to a recipient, it could be the highlight of her day. Examples include:

  • Smile at a stranger
  • Open the door for someone
  • Let someone harried get ahead of you in a checkout line
  • Call or text a friend to just say hello
  • Pay someone a compliment

Some acts involves a little more work but can mean the world to the recipient. You’re going to have to stop what you are doing and actually set aside time to do something for someone else. We guarantee it won’t just be the recipient who benefits from acts of kindness like these:

  • Help someone with car trouble
  • Leave positive notes in town
  • Help a friend or coworker with a project
  • Load or unload groceries for someone who needs a hand

Finally, there are larger scale acts of kindness that touch more people and have a more lasting impact. These actions require planning, organizing and more of your time but the payoff to the community can be great.

  • Hold an online drive raising needed goods for charity on
  • Organize a park clean-up
  • Run a charity event at your school or office

RAKWeek 2017 will be ending soon, but your generosity of spirit should be ongoing. Being kind is contagious so be the one to spread kindness in your community. Everybody wins when kindness becomes your priority. Happy RAK Week!

RAK with YouGiveGoods

Puppy and Kitten Bowls Highlight Shelter Pets

The stakes are high. The whole country is watching. It’s Puppy Bowl XIII! It’s cold, it’s dreary and spring is still nowhere in sight. It's been a tumultuous few weeks to say the least. Puppies, it’s in your paws to bring us some belly laughs and warm fuzzies.

Let’s face it, some of us are more concerned about the quality of the wings being served on Super Bowl Sunday than the quality of the quarterbacks. But, who among us does not like puppies? Animal Planet will serve football lovers and non-lovers alike a healthy serving of puppy fun and frolic on Feb. 5 when they televise Puppy Bowl XIII.

While we enjoy the guaranteed-to-be-riveting game, let’s be sure to take note that all the players are shelter puppies. These adorable canines are just waiting for a family to love and Puppy Bowl is the perfect reminder for people to adopt not shop for their next pet.

Not to be outdone, the Hallmark Channel has set up an equally delightful event in Kitten Bowl IV. This newer and lesser known feline play off is picking up steam every year because just like the Puppy Bowl players, all the cat-letes are also shelter kitties and they are just plain adorable.

Please, there is no need to start a family brawl over the age-old dispute of cat people versus dog people. You don’t have to choose. You can have your kitten and your puppy too! Kitten Bowl starts at noon (ET) on Feb 5 and Puppy Bowl doesn’t start until 3:00 (ET). Phew, disaster averted.

Animal lovers are staking their own claim on Super Bowl Sunday. Proudly celebrate your puppy/kitty love by starting your own YouGiveGoods Puppy Bowl or YouGiveGoods Kitten Bowl drive to raise goods for your local shelter. Invite your family and friends to support your cause using email and social media and start raising most-needed items for your local shelter today.

And, whether you are holding a Puppy Bowl, Kitten Bowl or Super Bowl party this year, consider setting up a “donate here” station front and center among your delicious spread of game day treats. Simply set up your ipad or laptop and have it open to your YouGiveGoods drive page. Have a fun celebration AND make a difference in the lives of local shelter animals.

So, commence the theater of the fur, Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl. And, thanks for giving us non-football lovers a reason to join the party on Super Bowl Sunday.

MLK Day Offers Guidance in Times of Turmoil

2016 was a tumultuous year. There seemed to be more tragedies, both manmade and natural, more unrest and more division than ever before. But, through it all, most Americans remained resilient and resolved to move forward in a positive way. So, it is fitting that on January 16 together we will observe the first national holiday of 2017 as we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. On this day we honor a man who encouraged people to embrace the differences of others, to live in peace and to serve others.

Each year on the 3rd Monday in January we celebrate the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Day. But MLK Day is more than a day of remembrance, in 2004 the holiday was designated a National Day of Service. Not only do we commemorate MLK's birthday (January 15) and celebrate his life, but, all Americans are officially called to service and asked to give back in some way to the community.

We are all called to serve, but where do we start? We suggest starting at the Corporation for National and Community Service’s MLK Day of Service website at Here you can search volunteer opportunities by zip code, register your MLK Day event and find educational and promotional materials.

In addition to the traditional on-site volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Below are some ideas of how you can celebrate this day's message of civic duty and compassion.

1) Organize your workplace, school or community group. Maximize your impact by organizing a group to serve the community with an activity done at your own location in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Choose a local charity and determine the best way for your group to show support. Ideas include packing snack bags for after school programs, collecting coats and hats for a homeless shelter, planting trees, creating a mentoring program, or writing letters of support to our military abroad.

2) Teach your children. The kids are home from school. Remember, as a Day of Service MLK day is supposed to be "a day on, not a day off." Plan an activity of service and involve your children. Show by your example that volunteerism is important to your family and help to cultivate a new generation of compassionate, community- minded citizens.

3) Raise needed goods. Support a local charity with a drive for the goods they need to serve the community. An online YouGiveGoods drive is the new way to raise food and supplies for charity. You can set up your drive in a matter of minutes and have it underway in time for MLK Day this year. Then invite your online community via email and social media to support your cause by purchasing items that will ship to your selected charity. A YouGiveGoods drive builds up your community as it offers tangible aid to local charity and it provides a welcome opportunity for your friends and family to be part of this year's MLK Day.

4) Spread the message. Use social media (use hashtag #MLKDay) to share MLK's ideals and inspiring words. You will find his words to be stunningly timely and relevant in today's world. Forward this page, talk about what you will do in honor of MLK Day, and encourage your circle of friends to take action to support the community.

5) Commit to service in 2017. Use Martin Luther King’s example to plan a 2017 where you take action. If you are unable to volunteer on January 16, simply spend some time researching, choose your charity, make that phone call and find out how you can best serve them in the future. Charities need help all year long!

Can you imagine if we all resolved to live the ideals of MLK in 2017? If we stopped complaining about problems in our communities and country and took action to make things better? Small actions can build big movements. Together we can follow Martin Luther King's lead and be a powerful force of change.

How to take part in #GivingTuesday 2016

#GivingTuesday 2016 is quickly approaching. This year falling on November 29, #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement which kicks off the holiday charitable giving season. After the media has whipped people into a shopping frenzy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is something of the calm after the storm. We are reminded that the holiday spirit of giving should reach beyond our loved ones and out to those suffering and in need. asks that on November 29, 2016 you “help others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice.” The ways you can choose to help are limitless. Below are some simple ways to join the movement this year.

1) Volunteer. Charitable organizations can always use the help of volunteers. Utilize’s searchable database of What's Happening Near Me to find a volunteer project nearby that works for you. And, enlist friends and family to join the cause. If you are unable to travel to a site to volunteer, consider virtual volunteer opportunities. Contact your favorite nonprofit and discuss the skills that you could lend them to help their organization. Working from your home computer you can volunteer skills like accounting, marketing, website design and data entry.

2) Donate goods/Run a drive. People love the transparency of donating goods – when you donate diapers you know exactly how your donation will help. You can go the traditional route and use collection boxes or you can take advantage of new technology to run your drive. For example,, a free drive service that enables you to support any cause with minimal time and effort by running an online drive for most-needed goods. Simply share your drive link with family, friends and coworkers via email and social media, they shop online and all goods are delivered to your favorite local charity at the close of the drive. And, the holiday season is a great time to run a toy drive for area children in need. See how Northrop Grumman raised over 700 toys for Operation Homefront branches across the country.

3) Donate funds. A monetary donation to charity is a great way to make a difference. If you are unsure about where to start, we suggest you focus on a cause close to your heart. Then use a service such as Charity Navigator to research reputable charitable organizations in your area.

4) Advocate. Not everyone is in a position to donate goods, money or even time, but you can STILL help. Use your voice to bring awareness to a cause. Members in your community may not even realize suffering in their own backyards. Unfortunately, hunger, homelessness, abuse and more lurk in most communities. Social media has made it simple to lend your voice to a cause. Building awareness will help to increase compassion and hopefully people will be called to action to help.

We can make a difference in our communities and in the lives of people just like us who are struggling. Running a YouGiveGoods drive is a simple, effective way to help. Whatever you choose, don't let #GivingTuesday 2016 pass by without making a commitment to improving your community in some way this holiday season.