Around this time of the year, as many of us begin to celebrate our blessings, our thoughts turn toward those in need.

Especially as those Americans among us prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts, it’s difficult to think of others — perhaps even people in our own towns — who might be going hungry without making some effort to help.

These days, however, it’s easier than ever to help others. You don’t have to pick up any canned goods or make a trip to a soup kitchen. With a just a couple minutes and a few mouse clicks, you can donate to any number of food banks, charitable organizations and homeless shelters…

Many organizations, from big-name charities such as the Salvation Armies to your local food bank, have websites that can accept donations; a lot of these sites even accept Paypal, too. And many will allow you to set up automatic monthly donations so you can keep helping others even when the holidays are over.

Check out some of the organizations here, and please let us know in the comments if you’ve found a great way to help others by making online donations.

4 National Organizations That Help Feed the Hungry

Name: The Global Foodbanking Network
Minimum Donation Accepted: $1.00
Paypal? No; Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are accepted
Automatic Recurring Donations? Yes; annual and monthly donation options are available.

This group’s ambitious mission is to alleviate world hunger. This organization is the only one of its kind operating not only on a national level but on a global level, as well. It operates in 18 countries, supplying food to existing food banks. It also works with nongovernmental organizations to create more food banks where they’re needed.

The Global Foodbanking Network was founded in 2006 by four of the largest hunger-helping organizations from around the world.

Name: The Salvation Army
Minimum Donation Accepted: $5.00
Paypal? Yes, Paypal is accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards.
Automatic Recurring Donations? Yes; a monthly donation option is available.

The Salvation Army is one of America’s best-known charitable organizations. Its programs range from substance abuse rehabilitation to disaster relief, and its holiday fundraising drives are a staple of holiday shopping in the United States.

When you donate to the Salvation Army, you can name a specific use for your funds. If hunger is a particular concern of yours, you can ask that your funds be used to purchase food for Salvation Army shelters’ sit-down dinners or for food distribution to needy persons.

Name: Feeding America
Minimum Donation Accepted: $5.00
Paypal? No, but Amazon Payments are accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards.
Automatic Recurring Donations? Yes; a monthly donation option is available.

Feeding America is a leading organization in the struggle to fight hunger in the United States. It helps a network of food banks around the country by securing and distributing food and raising funds; these efforts have allowed member food banks to supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year.

Name: United Way
Minimum Donation Accepted: $5.00
Paypal? No, but Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards are accepted.
Automatic Recurring Donations? No.

According to the United Way, education, income and health are the building blocks for a good life. In attempting to build the public health, many local United Way organizations also offer assistance to hungry people, from operating food banks to helping needy folks find and use community- and government-provided resources.

Finding a Food Pantry or Food Bank Near You

If you’d like to make an impact on your own community, you can always find a food bank or food pantry near you. Many have websites, and many of those websites take credit card or Paypal donations. If they don’t take online donations, many food pantries may list items needed and times when physical donations of food can be dropped off.

You can always use Google MapsGoogle Maps to locate a food bank near you; however, the information GoogleGoogle has can sometimes be inaccurate.

Other ways to find food banks locally are through, which allows you to search by state or ZIP code to find a food pantry near you, and the Feeding America food bank locator, which does roughly the same.

One great resource for finding food banks and pantries is Ample Harvest’s food pantry finder, which lists critical information about local food pantries including website URLs, directions, donation days and times, food and other items needed, and other programs offered by that pantry. Ample Harvest also helps local gardeners donate excess produce to food pantries around the country.

We encourage you all to give as you are able, and for those of you who are celebrating the holiday, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

via Mashable