We’ve had a few moms ask about how to help others, some with cash donations and others who want to take their children places where they can see first-hand how fortunate they are to have a warm place to sleep, plenty of food and lots of presents under the tree at Christmastime.  Below are the local organizations and charities the moms recommend. For more ideas check out Volunteer Odyssey – a website that helps connect volunteers (or all ages) with opportunities.


Forrest Spence 5K

Madonna Learning Center
A private, independent school for children with disabilities.  In addition to cash donations they have a wish list on their website.  They also collect Box Tops for Education, My Coke Rewards labels and you can link your Kroger card too.

The Forrest Spence Fund
Founded by an East Memphis couple after the death of their first child (he lived 55 days) to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South.  They hold a 5K race each year (run or volunteer) and host dinners for families staying at FedEx Family House and at LeBonheur.

  • Awesome cause created by an East Memphis couple who lost their first child and created the fund in his memory.
  • Forrest Spence Fund-they are very active & continually meeting the non-medical needs of families with kids at LeBonheur. The Spence family’s story is amazing.

LeBonheur Children’s Hospital
A 255-bed children’s hospital founded in 1952.  In addition to cash gifts you can get a LeBonheur license plate, purchase a cookbook, participate in a special event, or look into other ways to get involved.

Transformations Autism Treatment Center
An autism treatment center focused on utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis to assist children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.  In addition to cash donations you can link your Kroger card, donate empty ink jets cartridges, old cell phones, laptops and GPS units or participate in a fundraising event.

CASA of Memphis and Shelby County
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to children going through the Juvenile Court System. In addition to cash donations you can go through training to become a volunteer, or participate in a fundraising event.

Camp Good Grief
A free annual bereavement camp to give area children—ages 7 to 16—an enjoyable, accepting and supportive environment in which they can freely express their feelings about the loss of a loved one.  They also hold a camp for adults.  This is funded by the Baptist Memorial Healthcare Foundation.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (West TN Chapter)
The leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.  In addition to cash donations you can participate in various area fundraising events.

Memphis Child Advocacy Center
Serve children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse through prevention, education and intervention. You can donate money, become a volunteer or donate new teddy bears they provide to children.
I don’t know how old your son is, but my daughter (3) has very little concept of money and what it means. She understands that other kids need the same things that she needs. We have donated teddy bears to the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, a place for kids who have been sexually abused.

Hope House
To improve the quality of life of HIV-impacted children and their families by addressing their educational, social, psychological and health needs. In addition to cash donations they have a wish list on their website (including things like Wii games, diapers and cleaning supplies).  You can also volunteer and participate in fundraising events like their annual 5K.

  • We’ve also visited Hope House, which helps families affected by HIV. We took paper towels and diapers to the kids there. She vividly remembers that visit and whenever we buy something for her, she wants to get something for the kids at Hope House, too.
  • Hope House Day Care Center, a special center for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. It also helps parents with life skills and even has a program to help them to get their GEDs.

Metropolitan Inter-Faith Foundation
MIFA engages the community to sustain the independence of seniors, transform the lives of families in crisis, and equip teens for success.  You can volunteer or make a cash donation.

Dorothy Day House of Hospitality
Provides temporary housing and support services for homeless families in Memphis.  In addition to cash donations they list items you can donate (mostly personal care and cleaning products) on their website and they need volunteers to do things like help maintain the property, provide meals and tutor children.

  • our family just took dinner/had dinner with them the other night. Our girls, ages 1 and 4, LOVE it and love getting to know and play with the children who live there. Wonderful charity with a rare opportunity to really get to know those whom you are giving to.
  • Dorothy Day House – only organization keeping homeless families together – many children are separated from parents before they can get shelter, etc. Dorothy Day House has to turn away 3-4 people a day. It has an awesome board and plan to expand. You can bring them dinner and toys etc at the house and dine with them.

Youth Villages
Evidentiary Family Restoration™ is Youth Villages’ approach to helping our nation’s most vulnerable and troubled children. All our programs and services operate under this approach, which emphasizes family, measurement, community, intensity and accountability.  In addition to financial contributions you can volunteer as a birthday hero, tutor/teacher/mentor, foster parent recruiter, spiritual guide and more.  They also hold several fundraising events each year.

Asha’s Refuge
Assists the most disadvantaged refugees in achieving a successful resettlement in the Memphis, TN area. In addition to cash donations they need people to provide Welcome Baskets, filled diaper bags, Friday lunches (for English Conversation and Kindergarten Readiness classes), tutors and preschool supplies.  They are also looking for men to mentor single and married refuge men who need friendship and mentoring in their new home.

Commision on Missing and Exploited Children
COMEC works to promote the safeguarding of our children from child predators, abductors, drug dealers, gangs and any person who might seek to harm or exploit them.

I work with COMEC, Commision on Missing and Exploited Children. It’s very very small – two paid people and moms like me. Because of the nature of the work (helping at-risk kids of all ages and issuing Amber Alerts for the region), it would be difficult to be hands-on, but there is a definite need for funds. 

Little Helpers
Little Helpers is a monthly service activity for children and tweens (12 and under). The program is designed to help young people understand the value of volunteering, recognize the blessings in their lives, broaden their community perspective and feel the sense of accomplishment received from lending a helping hand. The ultimate goal of the program is to raise confident children who see giving back to the community as a normal aspect of their lives.

TN Baptist Children’s Home
TBCH cares for approximately 200 children each year who find themselves without a place to call home due to family crisis.

Harwood Center
Provides support and education for Mid-South families and children from birth to age five who are affected by developmental disabilities.  In addition to cash donations you can volunteer to do office work, assist in the classrooms (including classroom parties), read to the children, special events, wrapp holiday gifts, and more.  They also have a list of items they need (office supplies, CD players and computers) on their website.
Please consider donating to Harwood Center. They strive to enable children from birth to age 5 with special developmental needs to reach their full potential by achieving and demonstrating more positive development in cognitive, social, language, motor and self-help skills. Harwood Center has locations downtown on Jefferson, at the JCC, at Hope Presbyterian and Collierville United Methodist Church.

A resource for Memphis’ at-risk children and families, serving over 10,000 children in Shelby County each year.  In addition to cash donations you can volunteer in a Head Start classroom, help children learn to read, assist with dish washing in between meals, help with campus maintenance, and facilitate a game day.

Neighborhood Christian Centers
Provides compassionate, Christ-centered ministry to the practical and spiritual needs of the city’s poor.  You can volunteer to help sort donated items, provide office support and provide building/grounds maintenance.  They also have an extensive needs list on their website.

Make A Wish! Mid-South Chapter
Grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
From start to finish… Their son will be involved and have a beautiful hands on experience giving to a fellow child! As a parent, you will be Blessed beyond measure meeting fellow MidSouth parents of a wish child.

Special Kids and Families
Provides family-centered programs and services that address the unique abilities and challenges of young children with special needs.

The Exchange Club Family Center
We offer programs & services in three major areas to help end child abuse and family violence.  Several volunteer opportunities are detailed on their website.
We provide free therapeutic services to victims of family violence (child abuse, domestic violence, etc), as well as almost 20 other programs dealing with parenting, anger management for adults and children, divorcing families, and lots more.

The Exceptional Foundation of West Tennessee
Enriches the lives of the developmentally challenged by meeting their social and recreational needs.  Volunteer opportunities exist for those 16 years old and up who have completed an orientation.

Blue Streak Scholarship Fund
Devoted to giving inner-city Memphis children the benefit of a Catholic school education.

St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen
Operating six days a week and averaging 300 meals/day.  Contact them to volunteer to serve a meal.

Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
On Sundays they have a “More Than a Meal” program and need volunteers to serve food.

Emmanuel Episcopal Center
Serving residents of Cleaborn and Foote Homes public housing communities by providing spiritual direction, social service programs, educational enrichment, organized sports and career development training.  They need volunteers to help with tutoring, sports recreation and more.

Orange Mound Outreach Ministries
Orange Mound Outreach Ministries is a “Taking Our Children Back” program that targets unchurched youth in the Orange Mound Community.  They strive to teach youth, respect, self control, and education – to teach them how to walk the Christian walk in their everyday lives.  They need tutors, mentors, people to serve food and help with recreation.

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