Two children from the Salvation Army's Adopt an Angel program. Photo courtesy Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge.

Giving the gift of hope: Six ways to give back this season

The holidays are known for over-the-top decorations, lavish parties and sharing presents and traditions with those we love most. And while all of those things help to make the Christmas season bright, they’re not what it’s all about. When we take a moment to look past the material side of things, we are able to remember that this season is about spreading hope and love throughout the community–not having the tallest tree or the most presents under it.

Whether you’re looking to start a new tradition with your family or wanting to find a meaningful way to spend part of that Christmas bonus, we put together a few ways you can make this year count in an extra-special way:

Movers for Muts

Humans aren’t the only ones in need this time of year; shelters all over the state are overflowing with animals in need of homes, treats and all of the snuggles. This year, Velvet Cactus has partnered with Two Men and a Truck, Capital Area Animal Welfare Society and Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge to keep pets happy and warm while they wait to join their fur-ever families. A list of recommended supplies is located on the Velvet Cactus Facebook page here. And as if anyone needed a little incentive to donate to such a great cause for paws, Velvet Cactus is giving everyone who donates a free queso.

For more information, visit or call 225.771.8680.

The Salvation Army

Photo courtesy Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge.

Every year the Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge goes above and beyond to make sure that every family in Baton Rouge has a very merry Christmas. From ringing the bell to donating toys, there are plenty of ways to join the army of givers:

  1. Volunteer to be a Salvation Army bell ringer and collect spare change for those in need.

  2. Donate clothes, toys, and supplies for the annual Angel Tree at Walmart or your nearest Salvation Army location.

  3. Fulfill a child’s Christmas wish list by participating in “Adopt an Angel.”

For more details on how to do the most good, visit the Salvation Army’s website here.

Hope Under the Tree

During the holidays, Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge works just as hard as the elves in Santa’s workshop to keep the spirit of Christmas giving alive. The annual Hope Under the Tree Christmas Campaign is responsible for providing toys, clothes and necessities to families all over the Capital area. There are many ways to get involved with the campaign, through volunteering, providing gifts, or simply donating to vital programs.

To get involved, contact Allison Traxler at 225.387.0061 or [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge.

Project 70805

Project 70805 is a local organization committed to making North Baton Rouge and the whole capital area a better place, especially during this time of year. Its fifth annual Holiday Toy Giveaway will be taking place on December 21, and it’s a great way to spread Christmas cheer. Whether you want to donate presents or money, volunteer to help wrap gifts, or participate in toy distribution, Project 70805 has a way for you to give back. For more information, visit

Marine Toys for Tots

During the 2018 Christmas season, over 23,000 toys were distributed to roughly 11,000 children in the Baton Rouge area through the Marine Toys for Tots “No Tot Left Un-Toyed” campaign. This year, help make that number even greater by donating new or gently used gifts at any Toys for Tots drop-off location by December 20. You can also visit the Baton Rouge Toys for Tots webpage here and make a monetary donation.

For more information on how to give or for a list of drop-off locations, contact Sgt. Courtney Bell at 225.267.7754 or [email protected].

Photo courtesy Baton Rouge Marine Toys for Tots.

Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

Photo courtesy of Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

Instead of having a Christmas feast that makes leftovers for days, this year consider donating some of the nonperishable food items on your shopping list to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. The holidays tend to put a strain on many people’s finances and in some cases leave parents having to make a decision between paying the bills or putting food on the table. Help make their decision a little easier by donating food, funds or time to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank so no family goes hungry this Christmas.

For more information on how to get involved with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, visit its website at

For more ways you can give, be sure to check out the 2020 Giving Guide we created with Baton Rouge Business Report here.