Ways to Give Back in Austin This Holiday Season


No matter what you celebrate, December marks the start of many types of celebrations. It’s also one of the best times of year to give back to your community so that those less fortunate have something to celebrate. Today also just happens to be Giving Tuesday. It’s a day to give back in any capacity you choose.

Austin is a city that likes to give back year round but the holidays are always an extra special time of year. In honor of Giving Tuesday we’ve put together a list of the just some of the ways to give back in Austin this holiday season.

Here are some great ways to give back today and any day this month:

Amplify Austin
Amplify Austin is a great way to contribute to multiple organizations. It’s said to work like the Amazon of Austin charities allowing you to search and add donations to a card and pay with one single transaction. It even had downloadable tax receipts. So if you’re having a hard time picking just one cause this is a great and convenient way to give back. As the Central Texas home base for the global #GivingTuesday movement, they’ll be recording actions for good from individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and more to report to the global GivingTuesday office and shine a spotlight on Central Texan’s generosity. Share your actions for goof by using #ILiveHereIGiveHere and #GivingTuesday on your favorite social media platforms.

Central Texas Food Bank
The Stuff the Bus campaign is partnering with Capital Metro and Whole Foods Market this year to help families in need receive a full holiday meal. From December 6 through 8, Capital Metro busses will be parked in front of select Whole Foods locations all over Austin. They will be accepting non-perishable food donations ether purchased from the store or brought from home. You can also make a cash donation at check out at Whole Foods. A full list of the participating Whole Foods locations can be found here.

Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program
Salvation Army has put up various Christmas trees in malls all around the Austin area that are adorned with paper angels. Each paper angel has a local child in need’s wish list. You can pick an angel and purchase items on the list, then drop them off at the Christmas Cheer Center. If you can’t make it out to a mall you can also adopt an angel online.

LifeWorks Austin
While providing day-to-day basics to needy youth, Lifeworks also equips them with self sustaining life skills outside the foster care system. Over 4,000 youth and families have been supported by Lifeworks. Your holiday donations will help keep this mission going. Get involved here.

Caritas of Austin’s Hope for the Holidays
Caritas of Austin is spreading holiday cheer through gift packages filled with essentials. That includes everything from household supplies to winter wear to rent assistance. For their full wish list of supplies click here.

SAFE Holiday Programs
SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) depends on generous sponsors like you to help create joy and magic every holiday season! They are seeking hundreds of sponsors to search for the perfect gifts and basic needs to grant the wishes of SAFE clients. You can sponsor a SAFE holidays wishlist, make a monetary donation, or volunteer. Find more information about all of these here.


CASA Holiday Toy Drive
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is having a holiday toy drive to provide a little cheer to a child in foster care. Their gift option is currently full but you can commit to donating $30 Target and Walmart gift cards (no minimum). This way the can buy the child something off their wish list. Visit CASA for more information.

Orange Santa
Orange Santa and the HFSA John Treviño Jr. Holiday Assistance Program provide resources for UT employees and students in need but they also serve as opportunities for the larger university community to contribute to those needs and participate in a special season of caring. You can get involved by donating, volunteering, or sponsoring a donation drive. For more details about getting involved click here.

There are also many upcoming events you can attend which give you the opportunity to celebrate the season while giving back!

Here are just a few events where you can give back:

Dolls for Dolls Charity Mingle and Toy Drive
Sunday, December 9 | 3 to 5 p.m.| Austin Winery, 40 East Saint Elmo Road, A1
All Dolled Up ATX is hosting a toy drive and charity mingle benefiting the Austin Child Guidance Center. So take a toy, meet Santa, snap a family portrait, enter the raffle to win fun prizes, and decorate a cookie! The event will also have food and drinks. It’s a great way to give back and enjoy an event with your community members.

Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run
Saturday, December 7 | 6 to 10 p.m. | Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin’s 8th annual Fun Run and Fest is presented by St David’s HealthCare. Jingle, jog, and jive your way through the iconic Austin Trail or Lights in your best holiday costume then stick around for the ultimate after party celebration, appropriately named the Finish Line Festival. You can either participate in the fun run, volunteer, or donate to give back. Find more information on their page. Attendees of the Trail of Lights (December 10 through 23) are encouraged to bring a healthy, non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank. Look for the Central Texas Food Bank bins at the park.

Photo Courtesy of Austin Trail of Lights

Very Pupper Holiday Paw-ty
Sunday, December 8 | 12 to 4 p.m. | Toy Joy (Airport), 4631 Airport Boulevard
Don’t forget about our fury friends. Austin’s famous pet rescue Austin Pets Alive! is hosting an event December 8 at Toy Joy on Airport. They’ll have things like raffles, live dog adoptions, and the opportunity to take picture of your fur baby lounging with Santa! In addition, anyone who adopts a pet will receive a $20 gift card to Toy Joy/ Yummi Joy. RSVP here.

Odell Brewing’s and Pinthouse Pizza Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
Thursday, December 12 | 5 to 8 p.m. | Various Locations
Join Odell Brewing Company and Pinthouse Pizza for beer, pizza, and a free ugly sweater party at the Burnet, South Lamar, and Round Rock Pinthouse Pizza locations. All you have to do is tweet @OdellBrewing a picture of yourself in an ugly sweater at any time that day. Odell will make a $10 donation to the Food Bank for every tweeted picture. If you don’t have an ugly sweater and want to buy one, there will be (limited) sweaters onsite for those who want to make additional donations.

We hope one of these many great causes appeals to you and you take the notion to make someone else’s holiday special this year. Don’t forget to use the #GivingTuesday and #ILiveHereIGiveHere hashtags to encourage others to give back in their own way.

Featured photo via I Live Here I Give Here on Facebook.

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