By Liz Johnson

It’s the time of year where we celebrate what we’re grateful for, the abundance we have and ways to share it with those in need. Hunterdon County ranks as one of the wealthiest areas in the country and yet there are still people living here in distress.  A recent study by the University of Chicago and Northwestern University found that giving brings a long-lasting happiness. Here are a few places locally for you to spread good cheer while giving yourself the gift of joy:

Riding with HEART

Riding with HEART in Pittstown provides a safe, progressive, therapeutic environment to persons who are physically, emotionally or developmentally challenged. It’s the Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Charity. You can donate online here or take part in the Deck the Stalls Holiday Party on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. and receive a cup of hot chocolate as a reward for your contribution.

Hunterdon Helpline

Hunterdon Helpline began 49 years ago as a teen hotline, answering calls from teens about any subject or need and providing them the connection to appropriate programs and services. Today, it’s a 24-hour helpline answering the needs of at-risk populations trying to navigate the system and find answers to their life challenges. Partnering with other organizations in the county, Helpline links clients to their programs and services when appropriate after assessing the client through the intake process. To donate, click here.

United Way of Hunterdon County

United Way of Hunterdon County in Flemington focuses on helping ALICE – the 22% of Hunterdon County residents who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed (or retired). It does this through poverty prevention programs, advocacy and collaborative community efforts.  To donate, click here.

Animal Alliance in Lambertville

If displaced animals have a special place in your heart, consider giving to Animal Alliance in Lambertville. The organizationunites more than 400 pets with loving, adoptive families every year. To donate, go to this link.

Center for Educational Advancement

If you missed  the Center for Educational Advancement’s annual Turkey Trot held in Flemington each Thanksgiving,  it’s still not too late to give to the cause. The non-profit was started in 1970s by family members of people with disabilities to provide opportunities for them to lead productive and engaged lives through work. To donate, click here.

Food pantries

Lambertville, Frenchtown, Milford and Flemington all have active food pantries that accept donations year round, whether it’s cash or a non-perishable food item. They also encourage people to run their own food drives and donate the proceeds. Many allow donors to drop off canned goods while leaving their local grocery stores. This year, Say Humbug to Hunger, hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Milford,will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. It features River Union Stage performers doing a reading of A Christmas Carol. Admission is a non-perishable grocery item. In addition, the church is hosting a winter coat and blanket drive each Sunday.  Here’s how to donate:




Non-Profit Schools

Maybe children hold a place close to your heart. Hunterdon County is home to several non-profit schools, including Hunterdon Happening List favorites Secret Garden Montessori in Frenchtown, Acorn Montessori in Lebanon and Immaculate Conception in Annandale which all could use donations. Here’s how:

Secret Garden:

Acorn Montessori:

Immaculate Conception School:




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