It’s the sixth day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have a couple more weeks to squeeze in your charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2013 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
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Today’s featured charity is Feeding America. Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.
Think hunger isn’t a serious problem in this country? Think again. One in six Americans are affected by hunger, including 17 million children. Last year, 5.1% of all U.S. households – about 1 in 20 – accessed emergency food from a food pantry or soup kitchen one or more times. Currently, Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to an estimated 37 million low-income people annually – that’s a 46% increase from 2006.
Feeding America provides an array of services for Americans of all ages. When it comes to children, Feeding America provides resources for five specific programs:
- Kids Cafe programs provide free meals and snacks to low-income children during the after school hours. In addition to providing meals to kids, some Kids Cafe programs also offer a safe place for children to get involved in educational, recreational and social activities.
- The BackPack Program helps children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need over the course of the weekend. While more than 18 million children qualify for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program, those children don’t have the guarantee of a proper meal over the weekend. With the BackPack Program, more than 150 local food banks distribute bags of food to nearly 230,000 children every year.
- Similarly, while over 21 million children participated in the free or reduced priced school meal program in 2011, just over 2 million children received meals during the summer months. To help meet the nutritional needs of children during the summer months, Feeding America’s partners operate summer feeding programs.
- The School Based Pantry Program provides an accessible source of food assistance to low-income students and their families. Sites are consistently in the same location as the school’s campus, have set distribution schedules and offer ongoing food assistance services.
- The Child Hunger Corps is a two-year national service program aimed to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. During the two-year term, Corps members work inside communities to implement and/or expand child hunger programs. Some of those Corps members stay on as full time staff at their placement food banks, while others are in graduate school or started new jobs in the public sector.
So how can you help?
Since Feeding America works with food banks around the country, you can help out in your local community through activities such as sorting, boxing and repackaging donated food to be directed where it’s needed most. Click here to find out which organizations are looking for assistance.
To make a donation over the phone, call 1-800-910-5524 and dial 1 twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week. To donate by mail, download a donation form and send your check or money order payable to Feeding America, P.O. Box 96749, Washington, D.C. 20090-6749. To donate stocks, securities or mutual fund, download a Donation of Securities Form.
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that Feeding America is on the IRS list of qualified charitable organizations. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.
If you wonder what kind of difference you can make, check out this video:
Alison, in the video, a nursing student and mother of two, was served by a food bank in Mississippi. Mississippi tops the list of states with statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average. Also on the list are Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and California.
As we go along this month, I encourage you to check out the charities that made our list this year:
- 12 Days of Charitable Giving 2013: Helping Hands Center For Special Needs
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Sow Much Good
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Children Of Fallen Patriots
- 12 Days of Charitable Giving 2013: Kids Making It
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Flashes Of Hope
Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.
Feeding America ranks No. 4 on Forbes Magazine’s list of the 50 top charities for 2013. Research for the Forbes list was based on financial data from 2012. This is the second year in a row Feeding America has been rated the No. 4 charity by Forbes, which also reported that Feeding America has a 98% efficiency rating (the average is 86%). Feeding America’s placement on the list is based on the amount of donations received in the latest fiscal year, as opposed to government grants, fee for service or investment revenue. In Fiscal Year 2012, Feeding America received more than $1.5 billion in cash and in-kind donations.
For more on the tax considerations in making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:
- Making Your Gifts Count: 10 Smart Tips For Charitable Giving
- 12 Tips for Year End Charitable Giving
- Ask the taxgirl: Charitable Contributions and Receipts
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