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7 organizations to give back to this thanksgiving

7 Organizations to Give to this Thanksgiving and Beyond

Looking for ways to give back this holiday season? Consider volunteering or making a donation to organizations that support farmers, livestock care, wildlife, and nature.
Meghan Murphy-Gill

Thanksgiving is great time to take a moment and appreciate everything that makes life out here so special. The holidays are also an opportunity to help those in need and support organizations that work hard to contribute to this lifestyle. 

Whether you’re looking to volunteer your time, contribute financially, or gather and donate much-needed supplies, there are plenty of ways to give back this holiday season and beyond. 

The following nonprofit organizations have missions based around agriculture and farming, livestock care, animal rescue, or nature. Learn what these organizations do, and how you can support them.

Giving to Agriculture and Farming Causes
1. Farmer Veteran Coalition
What: Through partnership networks, this California-based coalition connects veterans with internships, mentors, and farm incubator programs. The organization also works to spread the word about veteran-produced agriculture and assists with farm financing. 

Why: The Farmer Veteran Coalition aims to help veterans access viable employment in agriculture, simultaneously paving the way for meaningful careers and strengthening rural communities in need of sustainable food systems and agricultural leadership.

How: You can donate money or make a land or equipment donation. The organization offers planned giving and stock gifts. Visit the coalition’s donation page for more information. 

Get connected: Follow the Farmer Veteran Coalition on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

2. 4-H
What: 4-H’s programs teach kids leadership and community engagement skills. These programs center around healthy living; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); agriculture; and civic engagement.

Why: 4-H has a widespread reach: According to the National 4-H Council, 4‑H works with almost 6 million young people and has a presence in every county and parish in the country, providing programming through in-school and after-school initiatives, community clubs, and camps.

How: You can give money, equipment, and your time as a volunteer or mentor at your local 4-H chapter. If your area doesn’t have a local office, you can still give to the national organization.

Get connected: Follow 4-H on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flickr.

3. National FFA Organization (FFA)
What: Previously called the Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization aims to prepare young people for “premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.”

Why: From doctors and teachers to scientists and business owners, FFA members aspire to a variety of careers in agriculture. Your support can help them access unique and growing opportunities.

How: Purchase a yearly $7 membership for the young people in your life, volunteer with your local FFA chapter, or give money through sponsorships and financial donations

Get connected: Follow FFA on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Support Livestock Care Organizations
4. The Livestock Conservancy 
What: Through community education, training, and partnership initiatives, the Livestock Conservancy works to protect more than 150 individual, endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction. 

Why: “Rare farm animals represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity and offer incredible variety that may be needed for future farms—robust health, mothering instincts, foraging, and the ability to thrive in a changing climate,” according to the nonprofit.

How: You can donate money and purchase memberships. If you live near the organization’s Pittsboro, North Carolina, headquarters, you can fill out a volunteer packet to help out around the office. 

Get connected: Follow the Livestock Conservancy on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Contribute to Animal Rescue and Assistance
5. Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption (FOD)
What: Based in Kane County, Illinois, this equine rescue organization places horses in need in happy, healthy forever homes. 

Why: FOD relies entirely on donations and volunteers to take in abused, abandoned, and neglected equines, and nearly 90 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to the care of rescue horses.

How: You can donate to FOD and support the organization by purchasing shirts, coffee mugs, and other merchandise. In addition, you can volunteer to do barn chores, groom, bath, and lead, as well as help with grantwriting and fundraising. You can also adopt a horse in need through the organization. 

Get connected: Follow FOD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vimeo.

6. paws4people
What: This organization places assistance dogs with people with special needs, focusing  specifically on pairing dogs with children and teens with physical, neurological, psychiatric, and/or emotional disabilities, as well as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries and veterans who’ve experienced military sexual trauma.

Why: Along with placing assistance dogs, paws4people raises them and trains them, as well as their handlers. 

How: You can donate to the organization, sponsor an event, or volunteer. If you breed golden or labrador retrievers, you can donate puppies to become assistance dogs. And if you’re a healthcare professional, you may be able to join the medical evaluation team. 

Get connected: Follow paws4people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Give to Land, Water, and Wildlife Conservation
7.  National Park Service 
What: National and state parks are more than just places to hike, camp, kayak, and enjoy nature. They play an important role in the conservation and protection of America’s resources, from wildlife to land to waterways. 

Why: Along with extensive preservation work, the National Parks Service runs a variety of educational programming for people of all ages.

How: Many parks are run by volunteers. Help is needed cleaning up, weeding out invasive plant species, running nature centers, and more. You can also make a donation to your favorite park or the National Park Foundation.

Get connected: Follow the National Park Service on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr. You can also listen to the “America’s National Parks Podcast”.