Thanksgiving is upon us and the winter holidays are fast approaching. But while many of us sit, cuddled with our children in a warm home, other children aren't as lucky. Some will spend the holidays in the hospital and others will spend it in a homeless shelter. Their holiday wish lists look very different from the average child's. But this year, you can help those children and teach your children about gratitude and generosity by simply donating or volunteering.

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength has a mission to ensure that no child is hungry in the United States. 1 out of 5 children — more than 16 million — lives in a home that struggles to put food on the table. This puts them at risk for more frequent illnesses and educational struggles, leading to a future where they then struggle to feed their children. Share Our Strength makes sure children get breakfast and lunch at school so that they are ready to learn. Plus, they work with families to teach them how to buy and cook low-cost meals. To help end hunger, visit

Feeding America

As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, Feeding America has supplied food to over 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children. Through their connections with over 200 member food banks, Feeding America is able to be on the frontlines fighting hunger. Feeding America provides fresh food and also provides safe place for children to eat through the Kids Café program. In addition, they provide assistance for disaster victims.

Your Local Children's Hospital

Right now, at your local children's hospital, there are many children who are undergoing cancer treatments, surgeries, or battling any number of illnesses. Some of these children are alone as their parents are unable to take time off of work. Many children will spend the holidays in their hospital room. Contact your hospital to ask how you can help by either donating toys or volunteering your time.

Giving Tree

Start a giving tree this holiday season to provide children in need with the basic essentials including clothing, toothbrushes, and shoes. In addition, you can provide holiday gifts to children who otherwise wouldn't get a visit from Santa. Contact your local social services agencies to find out how to get started.

Finding a Cure

Give a child the gift of a cure. Donate, and ask your children to donate some of their holiday cash, to a children's health charity that funds research for a cure. There are many to choose from, including Cure Search for Children's Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and St. Jude.

This year, make the holidays all about the giving instead of the receiving.