There’s so much more to the holiday season than wrapping paper, twinkling lights and Christmas carols. The holiday spirit is rooted in love, which gives us the perfect excuse to extend our holiday cheer to those who need it most. Even in the best circumstances, motherhood can be quite the challenge. But for the women who live in poverty, lack education or don’t have proper healthcare, pregnancy and childbirth mean life or death; and carrying for their children is an everyday struggle.
So if you want to keep up with the giving time of year, how about celebrating motherhood by giving a little bit of yourself to the mothers who don’t know you but need your help? Here are 7 charities helping moms and their babies around the world.
1. Every Mother Counts (EMC)
289,000 women die every year bringing life into the world — that’s one woman every 2 minutes. Knowing that access to proper health care can prevent 90 percent of these deaths, Christy Turlington Burns founded Every Mother Counts with one mission in mind: to “make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere.” The organization has a variety of programs, ranging from comprehensive doula care and nutrition classes in America to solar-powered clinics in Northern Tanzania. EMC also launched its “Giving Birth in America” series on CNN, which looks at the reasons why maternal mortality in the United States has been on the rise since the 1990s.
How you can help: shop partnering brands for the holidays, donate money, or run for a cause. If the association reaches $100,000 or more in donations, JPMorgan Chase will double the gift.
2. Carry The Future
Millions of Syrians seeking refuge have surged toward Europe — many of them carrying babies and toddlers for miles on end. Hoping to lighten their loads, Cristal Logothetis founded Carry the Future to deliver baby carriers to Syrian parents and help them keep their babies safe through their journey to asylum. Since its launch in September, the organization has distributed close to 7,000 carriers. Carry the Future has also provided refugee families with over 1,000 baby food pouches and countless protein bars, care packs and toys. The association’s latest mission focuses on providing baby beds and other sleep essentials like swaddles and mosquito nets for refugee babies in dire need of safety and comfort. If you want to join a distribution trip, click here.
How you can help: send your gently-used baby carrier, donate to the Indiegogo campaign, shop Carry the Future apparel, or sponsor a relief package.
3. Good+ Foundation
Jessica Seinfeld founded Good+ (previously Baby Buggy) in 2001 for families in need. Working in concert with more than 100 community-based programs, the organization provides equipment, clothing and services to parents who need help take care of their children. But rather than just giving things away, Good+ uses their donations as an incentive for change. For example, a mother receives a stroller after opening an education-savings account for her child; and a father gets a crib after completing a 16-week parenting program. Since its launch, Good+ has given more than 20 million items — including cribs, high chairs and diapers — and has extended its mission to job training, parenting education and financial literacy classes. The organization has also partnered with brands like Care/Of to give access to prenatal vitamins to women who cannot afford them. In support of Good+, Care/Of will provide 1 month of supply to one pregnant mama in need for every 20 people who sign up to the brand’s newsletter.
How you can help: organize a drive, give gear, donate money, or volunteer.
4. March of Dimes
March of Dimes wants to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. But its most recent campaign effort focuses on stopping the number one killer of infants in the United States: premature birth. In an attempt to give all babies a healthy start in life, the association helps moms have full-term pregnancies. It also provides support to families whose babies need specialized medical care. In 2004, March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Research Initiative, which funds research to understand, and ultimately prevent, preterm labor. Until December 31, March of Dimes will double your donations.
How you can help: donate, volunteer, or attend one of their local events.
5. Global Midwife Education Foundation (GMEF)
Like other family-centric organizations, Global Midwife Education Foundation hopes to reduce maternal and infant mortality in rural areas of the developing world. Its mission, however, seeks to do so by focusing on educating birth attendants through sustained, community-based programs. The organization trains and equips midwives to provide childbirth assistance and newborn care to remote, impoverished villages. In addition, GMEF addresses other basic needs, like access to clean water and sanitation, to make sure that mothers and babies remain healthy after childbirth.
How you can help: donate.
6. Women In Need (WIN)
Close to 60,000 people will be sleeping in a NYC shelter tonight, and 80 percent of them will be women and children. Women in Need hopes to break the cycle of homelessness for families in the city. It provides them with clean, safe housing and services like childcare, computer literacy classes, and vocational workshops. WIN’s ultimate goal is to progressively offer moms and their children a way out of homelessness, and into permanent homes.
How you can help: donate, volunteer, or give clothing, toiletries, toys or books.
7. Circle of Health International
Aligning itself with local, community-based organizations, Circle of Health International (COHI) works with women and their communities in times of crisis to ensure access to quality reproductive, maternal and newborn care. The association sends volunteer field teams to provide disaster relief; it provides professional training in health, community engagement and non-profit management; and it delivers supplies to help women and children in crisis. In 13 years, COHI has served more than 3 million women, delivered $800,000 worth of supplies, and has trained more than 7,000 healthcare professional. Most recently, the association has partnered with Human Appeal and Every Mother Counts to provide supplies to Aleppo’s last standing hospital and to train 7 Syrian midwives in emergency obstetric care, postpartum hemorrhage management and neonatal resuscitation.
How you can help: donate funds, donate supplies, volunteer, contribute to the gift registry.
Homepage photo via of Carry the Future.