It’s the season of giving, and Ocala is full of great charities that could use your generosity and support! Check out the list below for just a few local causes that can get you jump-started on your holiday philanthropy and make a difference in our community.

Boys and Girls Club of Marion County

In addition to being a safe place where kids can learn and grow, the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County is also the National Association of Realtors’ charity of choice in 2016. Our local Club is dedicated to helping the youth of Marion County reach their full potential and learn to become responsible citizens in a structured, nurturing environment. Members receive daily homework help, have access to service and career exploration opportunities, and participate in art and character development programs. If you’re interested in supporting the Boys and Girls Club, they welcome volunteers and donations. To volunteer, visit their Contact page, or stop by their facility at 800 SW 12th Avenue to fill out a form. If donations are more your thing, they accept gifts by credit card, check, and even appreciated stock. You can give online via PayPal here.

Marion County Humane Society

Our local Humane Society is a no-kill, non-profit animal shelter dedicated to preventing cruelty and suffering in the lives of animals. There are many ways you can support the Humane Society’s work here in Marion County, but the number one way you can help improve the lives of our area’s animals is to give one of them a loving home through adoption. You can also foster kittens or puppies who are too young to thrive in a shelter environment, until they are old enough to be adopted. And of course, you can securely donate on their website here.

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat For Humanity’s mission is to provide quality and decent housing for people who have none, and to eliminate poverty housing in our community. You can help them in this mission by volunteering to help in construction, or through generous donations. Those who volunteer need not have any construction experience–in fact many HFH volunteers don’t, but are still able to assist through all stages of home construction and setup. HFH accepts many different kinds of donations, including land for property building, vehicles, clothing, and financial support. To donate online, or to see a map of HFH clothing donation dropboxes around town, click here.

Marion Therapeutic Rider’s Association

Marion County’s Therapeutic Rider’s Association provides an invaluable service to our community by utilizing our area’s unique equine resources to help physically and mentally handicapped people build self-esteem and gain independence. Through horseback riding and nurturing a trust relationship between horse and rider, MTRA enriches the lives of countless handicapped people in Central Florida. Their facilities are located on 30 beautiful acres of the Florida Greenway. You can support MTRA by donating via PayPal on their website, or by volunteering. There are a wide range of opportunities for individuals, families, church groups, clubs, schools and businesses to take an active role in a way that is the most meaningful to them. If you have equine experience, consider devoting some of your time to helping our area’s citizens heal through love of horses. Visit MTRA’s volunteer page for more information.

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