For many of us, the Holiday Season is a blur. It’s a constantly moving target that includes the end of November through New Year’s Eve, sometimes stretching out as far as the day after Halloween through St. Patrick’s Day. It’s usually a lot of stress and a lot of fun, but it’s also a time for us to think of those who need our help. That is why I would encourage you to keep the following organizations in mind as you decide where to spread a little holiday cheer.

Your Local Food Pantry

This is the time of year that food pantries get the most donations, yes. But it is also the time of year in which they experience higher than usual demand. I’m not talking about dropping off all of your canned soup that is past its “best by” date. I’m talking about dropping off a financial donation. The pantry has to pay for food as well as overhead, and the best way you can help them help your community is with financial donations.

Your Local Suicide Prevention Organization

The highest percentage of firearm-related deaths in the United States are suicides. It’s no secret that the holiday season can be cripplingly lonely for some folks. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are a minefield for those who are predisposed to self-harm. The more we can do to prevent suicide, the better off we are in every way.

Your Local Family Shelter

You’re seeing the word “local” over and over, and for good reason: Your money will usually go a lot farther in your county than if you send it off to some borderline-faceless organization in some other state. Few people could use your help more than the women who find themselves with no other option than to bring their children to a public shelter during the holidays, so please do what you can.

Your Local Senior and Veterans Homes

Some of the most emotionally difficult shifts I ever worked as a deputy sheriff were in a home for veterans. We are indebted to the men and women who live in these centers, and if they do not have family living nearby, the winter months can be tough to get through. Whether you’re organizing a caroling trip or getting all of the kids at Sunday school or basketball league to make them cards, you’ll be doing more than you can imagine.

Your Local Public Range

Yes, believe it or not, these exist outside of the big city! If you’re fortunate enough to live near a public outdoor range, drop a few twenties into the donation bunker the next time you’re out that way. While you’re at it, see if they’re looking for volunteers.

Your Local Gun Club

If your neck of the woods has a private gun club and you’re not yet a member, see about joining. In many areas, it’s the local clubs that are doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to firearms safety education, hunter’s safety classes and events that bring new shooters to the firing line for the first time. Even if you likely won’t make it out by them very often, a membership helps them stay active and furthers gun rights in your area.

Your State’s Gun Rights Organization

Many states have some manner of gun-owners-rights organization. Like with the other charities listed above, your money may well go a lot farther the closer to home it gets spent. California, Illinois, New York and other notoriously anti-gun states all have organizations staffed by dedicated patriots who are fighting tooth and nail for gun rights, usually against steep odds. If you’re not a member or contributor to your local gun-rights org, it’s time to change that.

Pro-Gun Organizations That Need Your Help

If your employer is as generous as Tim Schmidt, he or she might match your contributions to charitable organizations. As we move forward in our fight for our rights, keep these organizations in mind if you’ve already given to your state- and/or city-level gun rights organizations:

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership:
Gun Owners of America:
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action:
National Association for Gun Rights:
The Second Amendment Foundation:

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