During the holiday season so many people give back, especially today for #GivingTuesday, the global giving movement. I am also so inspired by stories I hear about children who’ve started charities. From helping to provide unused food from college campuses to feed local communities, to raising money for children with cancer and even collecting and distributing used coats to keep people in need warm during the cold winter, these remarkable young people should be saluted.

Below are just five of the many charities started by these inspiring young people that I wanted to share with you during this holiday season. I hope that their work will warm your heart as it did mine and perhaps inspire new ways to give back.

Food Recovery Network. This is the largest student movement against food hunger and waste in America. In 2011, four students at the University of Maryland, College Park, noticed good dining hall food ending up in the trash at the end of the night. By the end of the school year, FRN at UMD had recovered 30,000 meals to DC-area hunger-fighting nonprofits. They now have 230 chapters and more than two million pounds of food has been recovered since 2011.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alexandra “Alex” Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer before her first birthday. When she was just four-years-old, Alex held her first childhood cancer fundraiser in her front yard and raised over $2,000. By the time of her death in 2004, Alex raised $1 million and inspired a legacy of hope and cures for childhood cancer.

Coat-A-Kid. Coat-A-Kid has been providing coats to kids in the St. Louis area since 2001. This organization began when a third-grader reported to her mom that a girl in her class did not have a coat to wear out on the playground on a cold November day. Upon arriving home, the 9-year-old said, “Mom, she needs a coat!” A coat, hat and gloves were purchased and taken to the school counselor to give to the student in need of the items. They discovered that there were hundreds of children in all areas of St. Louis who did not have warm winter coats to wear. In their first year, they provided 37 coats donated by family and friends and now provides 4,000 new coats every year.

Sheltering Books. Mackenzie Bearup of Alpharetta, Georgia, was only 13 years old when she began collecting children's books for shelters and her book drive quickly took off. It soon became a family project with her two brothers, Alex and Benjamin. Today they have collected and donated over 360,000 books to shelters across the world. Alex focuses on children in the Atlanta area and Benjamin focuses on providing books to our military across the world.

Kids Saving the Rainforest. This organization was founded by two 9-year-old girls, Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone in 1999 in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. They saw the rainforest disappearing from their beloved home and the negative impact of this on the animals, particularly the mono titi monkeys. They were kids inspired to save the precious rainforest and set up this organization for the purpose of educating people around the world about the ecological importance of the rainforest, to set up programs to preserve and protect it and its wildlife.

I am so inspired by the work of these young people and others like them and by all the parents who’ve raised such generous and giving children.

Happy Holidays!

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