2012 I Love Memphis Charitable Giving Guide

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 27th 2012 8567 0

Every year, I publish a Holiday Gift Guide. It's coming out on Thursday and features a ton of great gifts from small local businesses. Today, though, take a few minutes to consider donating your time, cash or skills to one of the organizations listed here. They're all Memphis non-profits that could benefit from your generosity this holiday season (and year round).

This list is by no means complete – there are hundreds of incredible organizations in this city that are worthy of your love. If there are any organizations you work with or support that aren't on the list, please leave them in the comments with some details on what they need so that everyone can see them.

As a side note, I'd like to give a quick shout out to everyone who has asked me where they can volunteer or donate this holiday season. It's proof that you guys (and Memphians in general) are the best kind of people.

Happy giving!

Child Advocacy Center

What they do: The Child Advocacy Center provides services to some of Memphis' most vulnerable, the victims of child abuse, that help them recover from abuse and return to normal childhoods. They provide counseling, prevention services and advocates to children and families in need.

How you can help: Make a financial contribution to the CAC, or volunteer to serve as an ambassador, help around the CAC office or work at special events.

Church Health Center

What they do: The Church Health Center provides medical, vision and dental care to Memphians who have jobs, but lack health insurance. They also run the Church Health Center Wellness, a pay-what-you-can fitness and community center.

How you can help: Volunteer to help out at the clinic or Hope and Healing center (or be an on-call volunteer for whatever's needed most). You can also make monetary donations or donate items from the CHC's wishlist.

DeNeuville Learning Center

DeNeuville Learning Center, Memphis, Tenn.

What they do: The DeNeuville Center's mission is to educate women of all backgrounds, both in school subjects (like English, art, reading math and GED classes) and practical skills (like budgeting and parenting).

How you can help: The center can always benefit from monetary donations, but they're also in need of volunteers to babysit, tutor the center's clients in ESL, GED prep and preparing for the U.S. Citizenship test. They also need people to help maintain the building and answer the phones.

Dorothy Day House of Hospitality

What they do: The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality is the only shelter in Memphis that allows families to stay together. They provide food, shelter and clothing to homeless families, then works to get them back on their feet, even after they've returned to permanent housing.

How to help: The house is always in need of donated supplies (here's a full list), monetary donations and volunteers to provide childcare, work on the house, tutor, prepare meals and more.

Dress for Success Memphis

What they do: Imagine finally landing a big job interview, but not being able to afford an outfit that will allow you to dress to impress. Dress for Success provides professional clothing, job mentoring and career services to women in need.

How you can help: Donate a new or gently used (clean) suit or business casual clothing or shoes to their closet. 

Halal Food Pantry at Masjid Al-Mu'minun

What they do: The Halal food pantry at Masjid Al-Mu'minun is the first food pantry in Memphis to provide strictly Halal food to Memphians in need.

How you can help: Contact halalfoodpantrym@aol.com for details on helping out.

Hope House

What they do: The Hope House works with families impacted by HIV/AIDS. They're the only organization in Tennessee that provides preschool and family-centerd care to severely impovershed families affected by HIV/AIDS.

How you can help: Volunteer as a classroom or aftercare helper, make a financial contribution or donate items from the Hope House wish list.

Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County

What they do: The Humane Society provides shelter, medical care and adoptions to injured and abused dogs and cats.

How you can help: Adopt one of the Society's adorable dogs or cats (some of them, who have been there the longest, have free adoption) or volunteer to walk dogs, keep kennels clean, or foster an animal.

Literacy Mid-South

What they do: LMS estimates that there are more than 120,000 Memphians who can't read well enough to apply for a job. They work to improve the literacy rate in Memphis by providing literacy classes to all ages and skill levels, professional development help and one-on-one tutoring.

How you can help: Donate your time to tutor one of LMS's students or work in the office. Or, donate money to help the Council continue its programs.


What they do: MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) works directly with some of Memphis' most vulnerable senior citizens and families. They provide Meals on Wheels, companionship and handyman services to seniors, provide emergency housing to families in crisis, help find homeless families permanent homes and provide mentoring and college prep help to teens.

How you can help: You can donate cash to MIFA or volunteer as a college mentor, Meals on Wheels deliver-er, senior ombudsman or be a senior companion. You can also help make gift bags, tend their community garden or advocate for the rights of people in nursing homes. Here's a complete list of volunteer opportunities at MIFA.

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

What they do: The MGLCC provides a safe, welcoming space for Memphis' gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered community. They provide free HIV testing, support groups, counseling referral, and support to LBTQ youth in need of support and care.

How you can help: The center always needs volunteers to answer phones, be ambassadors or serve on committees. You can also make a financial contribution or donate items from the MGLCC's wish list.


What they do: Meritan serves all kinds of people. They provide foster care for kids, services for the visually imparired, medical care, professional development programs and in-home care and support for senior citizens and low-income Memphians with medical or developmental needs.

How you can help: You can donate to Meritan in general, or to one of their specific programs. They list volunteer opportunities regularly on Facebook, or sign up to be a Homemaker and run small errands and perform litlle household tasks for people in need. You can also provide gifts to senior citizen for Christmas through Meritan's Silver Bells program.

Mid-South Food Bank

What they do: The Food Bank fights hunger in the Memphis area by providing food, basic necessities and education to those in need.

How you can help: The demand for the Food Bank's services is partiuclarly high right now, and they're desperate for donations of cash and non-perishable food items. Why not organize a food drive (or contribute to one), donate to Feed the Need the next time you're at the grocery store or volunteer to work in the warehouse, stock the store or serve meals at the Food Bank. If you feel like you won't make a difference, know that just one dollar can provide two meals to someone in need.


Porter-Leath, Memphis, Tenn.

What they do: Porter-Leath works primarily with children and families. They provide Head Start preschool, parenting classes, foster grandparents, foster care and a shelter for runaway youth.

How you can help: Donate a new, unwrapped toy to the Toy Truck. You can also fulfill a holiday wishlist for a Porter-Leath kid, make a financial contribution, or volunteer.

Ronald McDonald House Memphis

What they do: The Ronald McDonald House provides a comfortable home away from home to non-local St. Jude patients and their families while they're receiving care at the hospital, free of charge.

How you can help: Donate some items on the house's wish list, take up a pop tab collection or become a House Hero.


What they do: SRVS provides job training, jobs, eductaion, clinics, housing, and a supportive community for Memphians with developmental disabilities. They also provide support to the families of the people they serve.

How you can help: If you're a warm, friendly person who likes to smile a lot (because you will smile a lot), volunteer to work with SRVS. They've got all kinds of hands-on opportunities, most of which come with the instant gratification of knowing that you've made someone's day better.

St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission

What they do: The St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen is open seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide a warm meal and gathering space for Memphis' homeless and hungry. On a normal day, the mission serves 150 – 225 people.

How you can help: The mission needs volunteers to prepare and serve meals. They also need donations of food, cash and supplies. To volunteer, email danieldjl@aol.com.

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Shelby Farms Park buffalo, Memphis, Tenn.

What they do: At 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms is one of the largest public parks in the United States with trails, a Greenline, horseback riding, lakes, playgrounds, disc golf courses and a home for a herd of buffalo.

How you can help: Shelby Farms can always use monetary donations, but the most fun way to do it is through the Adopt a Buffalo program. You can also volunteer for one-time and long-term service projects in the park.

Youth Villages

What they do: What doesn't Youth Villages do? They provide kids and teens in Memphis with crisis services, foster care and adoption, housing, mentoring, transitional living and in-home services.

How you can help: Youth Villages Memphis still needs more than 100 Holiday Heroes to fulfill holiday wish lists for their young clients. You can also volunteer in a number of positions or make financial contributions.

Like I said, these are only a few of the local organizations that are worthy of your time and contributions this holiday season. If you know of or are involved in others, please leave them in the comments so that everyone can see them. Be sure to mention what the organization does and how people can best help them.

Show Comments


  1. Zach says:

    Please add Camp Good Times to the list! We're a week-long sleepover summer camp for kids and adults with mental disabilities, located in Shelby Forrest. We provide a traditional camp experience to those who may not have the opportunity! We're always looking for help, whether it be donations (sponsoring a camper to be able to afford to come to camp, donating food/supplies, etc.) or volunteers!
    Check us out at http://www.campgt.com!

  2. Joey Maurizi says:

    Please consider adding Camp Good Times! We are an all volunteer nonprofit which provides an annual summer camp for individuals with developmental disabilities. We are always looking for new, energetic volunteers to work as camp counselors, are currently looking for a nurse that will volunteer for the full week, always seeking out meal sponsorships from local restaurants, or just donations to help offset expenses.

  3. Christina says:

    Thanks for posting this Kerry!

  4. Every year Huey's adopts families to buy Christmas presents for. This year, we are working with Neighborhood Christian Center, which provides basic needs to low income families.
    Check them out: http://www.ncclife.org/

  5. Habitat for Hope exists to support, serve, and care for families facing the serious illness of a child.

  6. Overton Park Conservancy is celebrating our first holiday season since taking over management of the park in January.  Donations go directly toward the operation of the park, including the upcoming renovation of Rainbow Lake Playground.  We also have volunteer opportunities, including an upcoming shrub planting on December 15.  You can learn more and donate online at http://www.overtonpark.org.  

  7. There are many deserving charities in the Mid-South. I would also like to ask you to consider Memphis Oral School for the Deaf.
    What they do: Since 1959, Memphis Oral School for the Deaf (MOSD) has focused on developing listening and spoken language skills for thousands of children with hearing loss.  Our programs have grown and changed over the years in response to the development of new technologies but our mission has remained the same: Empowering Deaf Children to Listen, Learn, and Talk.
    How you can help: Through monetary donations, purchasing holiday cards from the website http://www.mosdkids.org, or getting involved with our April fundraiser, SpeakEasy. Call 901-531-6726 for more information.

  8. Clayton says:

    The First Tee of Memphis should be on here as well! http://www.thefirstteememphis.org

  9. Kelli Geminn says:

    Please consider donating unwanted/unused gift cards to The Cancer Card Xchange. CCX is a Collierville based 501c3 dedicated to Brightening the Day of Cancer patients one gift card at a time. Gifts average $100 per gift and have been sent to cancer patients all over the United States. More information is available on the website: http://www.thecancercardxchange.org

  10. Lauren says:

    Own Our Own of Memphis exists to provide social activities for young adults with developmental disabilities to increase independence, community involvement and quality of life.  On Our Own needs monetary donations, as well as new volunteers for 2013 social events and mentoring!

  11. Kelli says:

    The Dixon Gallery & Gardens a fine art museum and public garden distinguished by its diverse and innovative programs in the arts and horticulture. The Dixon features a permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, including French and American Impressionist paintings and significant holdings of German and English porcelain. The museum organizes and presents eight to ten exhibitions every year, the diversity of which appeals to visitors of all ages.
    Although a public institution, the museum receives no city, state or federal funding; it is funded by the Hugo Dixon Foundation, individual, and corporate contributions.
    Visit http://www.dixon.org/ for more information. 

  12. Angie says:

    Also Wolf River Conservancy
    he Wolf River Conservancy is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the Wolf River corridor and watershed as a sustainable natural resource. Relying on a unique network of community leaders and a base of knowledge created through a 27-year history, we work to protect wilderness, to connect people to the outdoors, and to transform our community by completing the Wolf River Greenway.

  13. Mary says:

    Attention Pet Lovers:  Want to help lower the euthansia rate at the animal shelter but don't know where to start?  Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services is a non-profit program that offers THE LOWEST prices for spaying or neutering cats, dogs and rabbits! Donations provided by you help make this possible. Also, if you love shopping on Amazon.com, please check out their Wishlist: http://amzn.com/w/1M10IBDV89GUV

  14. Ace Madjlesi says:

    The Memphis Center for Independent Living invites YOU, your family, and friends to our Annual Holiday Open House on Friday, December 7, 2012 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at our offices located at 1633 Madison Ave.  Join us for food, fun, and our silent auction.

    Some of this years donors include Folks Folly, Outback, Theater Memphis, STAX, Resort Packages, and many many more exciting items that you definately don't want to miss out on. 
    Bid tickets are only $10 

    There will be adult beverages for a suggested donation.
    We will only be accepting cash or credit.  For more information please don't hesitate to give us a call at 901-726-6404.

  15. Haizea says:

    You will be my role models. Thanks for the write-up

  16. Megan Mercier says:

    My husband and myself have changed jobs, moved and changed sizes and both have some very good quality,cleaned business attire we would like to donate to Dress for Success Memphis.  Can you tell us how we would do this please?

    seen in the Charitable giving guide

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