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Four Fun Ways To Help The Less Fortunate This Holiday Season

Christmas tree

Austin's bustling non-profit community is brimming with need over the holidays. There's no way we can mention them all, but here are four charities that could use your help. Please add your favorite non-profit to support in the comments section below.

1.     Donate your ill-performing financial stocks: Maybe you're totally disappointed those H&R Block shares are down almost 40 percent for the year, so let Caritas take them off your hands. Caritas is a local charity founded in 1964, and each year it helps more than 20,000 homeless people, working poor, and documented refugees. Donate your stock to them. Wells Fargo will sell the shares and send you a tax receipt. Of course, Caritas would accept those high-performing Apple shares too.

2.     Hand out stuffed animals to low income kids: Bring smiles to the faces of kids from poor families by helping with the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Distribution today and tomorrow. The charity is handing out 28,000 gifts.  Volunteer shifts are today and tomorrow:  Morning from 9 a.m. until noon, afternoons from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., or all day, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Just show up at those hours to 6510 South Congress or call 512-445-2003 for information.

3.     Buy a haircut for a senior citizen: Meals on Wheels and More has a gift list on its website that allows you to buy specific items for senior citizens in need. For example, an 83-year-old named Zella is requesting a bib apron with arm holes and snaps in the back. 73-year-old Aurora needs an electric can opener.  And 69-year-old Harry could use a gift card for a haircut and shave. Find the full list here

4.     Send a foster kid to the roller rink: Christmas can be an emotionally stressful time for anyone, "but for a child or youth in foster care, it's especially difficult," Austin Children's Shelter spokesperson Julie Burch told KUT News. The shelter has served as a safe haven for youth in crisis since 1984. But it doesn't have the budget to entertain kids during the holidays, so it's soliciting gift card donations to places like Westgate Lanes, Peter Pan Mini Golf, and Playland Skate Center. They'll accept any gift card, really, but to get foster children out of the house and having fun, check out some of their suggestions.

Who are you supporting this holiday season and how are you supporting them? Let us know in the comments!

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.