As the windows and streets of Paris are decked once again with festive lights, we can’t help but run through our to-do list in preparation for the big days ahead. There are feasts to be planned and gifts to be bought for those on your list. But why not make an extra effort to spread the holiday cheer beyond family and friends?
You can brighten someone’s day in the city of light through the gift of caring. To help get in the Christmas spirit, we rounded up some of the most trusted and popular charities in Paris. Two of these holiday charities are also accessible world-wide, so no matter which country you call home, you can still get involved.
Love in a Box (Paris Only)
This effort is lead through the American Cathedral in Paris and benefits many of the kids overlooked this holiday season. Supplies are collected according to personal lists given to the organization and are then wrapped and sent out to be delivered. Although the collection and wrapping portion of this year’s drive is already finished, they will be continuing to do “box checking” through the 10th of December. You, your friends and your family still have a few days to get to the church to lend a hand – and they certainly need it, with almost 3,200 boxes being distributed last year! Sign up HERE.
Les Restos du Coeur (Paris only)
The popular Restaurant of the Heart (how cute is that?) is much more than your average soup kitchen. Founded by a beloved French comedian named Coluche, the association has grown to cover a broad range of aid for those less fortunate, spanning from housing and job support to even legal aid. Fill out your contact information HERE and join hundreds of your fellow Parisians in giving back to the community we are so lucky to call home.
Just like Les Restos de Coeur, Serve the City (STC) offers a network of support to those in need. Spanning from Hungary to Brazil, Serve the City is a global volunteer effort that helps the homeless, asylum seekers, the elderly, the disabled, children in need, and victims of abuse. The Paris “hub” has now started a Saturday morning breakfast distribution. On Friday evenings, people of all ages come together to package food donated by local restaurants and cafés. Don’t forget they also need help distributing the goods Saturday morning!
This is a cool concept that benefits global reforestation efforts through purchasing a “tree” that will at one point be cast onto an international monument. Whether you purchase this for yourself or as a gift for someone else, you will be able to see a magnificent tree in your name grow on a global monument. It even grows to the rhythm of your heart beat!
As their website puts it: “1 Heart 1 Tree” connects a digital work of art to a reforestation initiative, thus belonging to a new generation of projects. Here, real and virtual are no longer opposites but come together to offer a true experience…The heart of the project is to reconnect us to Nature through technology. It is the heartbeat of every citizen that gives birth to another living being, a tree, through cutting-edge technology.”
With every donation (beginning at just 10 euros per tree), you’ll receive a digital picture of your virtual tree, a certificate, a google earth file of the plantation zone you contributed to, and a report about the project every 6 months for 3 years. (The time and location for the next digital exhibit has yet to be determined).
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in. ~ Author Unknown