‘Tis the season for giving thanks, and in the spirit of generosity, take a moment to checkout a few Jersey-based charities that work year-round to give back to others.

Whether you volunteer your time or make a financial donation, getting involved with a nonprofit is a great way to kick-start the holiday season, take the focus off yourself, and make the Garden State even greater.

Short on cash to giveaway? No problem. Become a NJ Insider today and enter our social sweepstakes to win a Target gift card, which you could donate to an organization.

  1. Seeing Eye (Morristown) - Life without sight can be extremely impairing, but it doesn’t have to be. Seeing Eye's mission is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of specially trained dogs that act as guides to the blind. In addition to breeding and raising dogs that are suitable for assisting in this role, the organization also helps instruct blind people in proper canine use and care, and educates the public about guide dogs.
  2. New Hope Foundation (Marlboro) - As the newlines often tell us, substances abuse destroys the lives of Jersey residents every day. Helping to combat struggles like heroin addiction, NHF offers medical detox from drugs and alcohol for men and women, long term adolescent impatient rehab, and multiple housing options for men. With this organization, it doesn't matter if a patient lacks the ability to pay for services- hope is still available.
  3. Delaware & Raritan Canal Watch (Rocky Hill) - New Jersey's 66 miles of Delaware & Raritan Canal System helps us peer into the past, and enjoy the present by providing historical reference points, beautiful byways, wildlife habitats and outdoor recreational areas along the western edge of the state. This nonprofit organization helps promote, preserve and enhance these features by partnering with local, state and private enterprises.
  4. Hope Pregnancy Center (Rio Grande & Ocean City) – Sometimes the miracle of life occurs during less than optimal circumstances, bringing on emotional, relational, financial and physical stress. Knowing this, Pregnancy Center meets people where they're at.  The provide everything from pregnancy tests to post-abortion counseling, maternity clothes and baby supplies, accurate information related to pregnancy, counseling for anyone involved in unplanned pregnancies (boyfriends, husbands, parents, etc.), and more- all free of charge and judgment.
  5. Lymes Disease Association (Jackson) – Chances are you know someone with Lyme Disease, the tick born illness running rampant throughout New Jersey and other parts of the northeast. Understanding that the disease can cause a range of health problems, from flu-like symptoms to neurological disorders, patients and doctors formed LDA for research, prevention, education and patient aid. By contributing to their efforts, you help to eradicate both ignorance about this topic, and the disease itself.

Do you know a great New Jersey charity? Feel free to give them some exposure in the comments section below.

Kira Buxton is producer of The Jim Gearhart Show and a professional photographer-videographer. You can reach her at kira.buxton@townsquaremedia.com.

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