Twinkling lights are being hung left and right, Christmas music is starting to invade radio airwaves, and you probably already have an ugly sweater party or two penciled into your calendar. The holiday season is officially upon us, and while these traditions are all great ways to get into the spirit, we can’t forget that the countdown to Christmas is also a time to give back to the community. So in between cooking up a storm and scouring stores for the perfect gifts, be sure to check out these charitable events and volunteer opportunities happening all over town throughout December.
Enoch Pratt Free Library Book Bowl Challenge
Dec. 1: The Ravens won’t be the only ones duking it out against Cleveland this week. In the spirit of tonight’s matchup against the Browns—which just so happens to fall on the eve of Giving Tuesday—The Enoch Pratt Free Library has challenged the Cleveland Public Library to a fundraising competition, which will support each system’s free community programs. (If the Pratt Library collects the most donations, we’ll get to see a video of Cleveland’s director wearing a Ravens jersey and reciting Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” posted online.) Online donations can be made from kickoff tonight until the end of the day on Giving Tuesday. To jump-start the competition, Pratt Library’s young professional’s organization is hosting a Ravens-Browns viewing party at Bond Street Social Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Urban Light Pop-Up at Wit & Wisdom
Dec. 1: In support of the international day of generosity known as Giving Tuesday, three notable Charm City chefs are teaming up to host a pop-up dinner at Wit & Wisdom that will benefit Urban Light—a local organization dedicated to helping the large population of homeless and trafficked boys in Thailand. From 7-10 p.m., take in the waterfront views and indulge in a four course Thai-inspired prix-fixe with additional wine pairings prepared by chefs Tim Dyson of Dooby’s, Cyrus Keefer of 13.5 Wine Bar, and Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom. One-hundred percent of all ticket sales will be directly donated to Urban Light. 200 International Drive, 410-576-5800, $100
12 Bars of Charity
Dec. 5: Power Plant Live has organized this holiday-themed pub crawl that will donate a portion of each individual ticket sold to one of eight local charities. The price of admission includes drink deals from 6-10 p.m., no-cover access to 12 of the district’s bars, and a sweatshirt supporting the charity of your choice. Attendees are invited to sip half-priced beers and Ketel One vodka cocktails all night to benefit participating organizations such as The Maryland Zoo, Casey Cares Foundation, BARCS, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, and The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. 34 Market Pl., 410-727-548, $30
Volunteering Untapped Salvation Army Toy Drive
Dec. 12: Throw on a Santa hat, don your most festive holiday sweater, and head to The Salvation Army in Hampden for this annual event hosted by Volunteering Untapped—a local nonprofit whose mission focuses on getting millennials involved in community outreach programs. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., grab some friends and help sort and wrap toys that have been donated to the Salvation Army for families in need. Then, after a morning of giving, head over to Union Craft Brewing to take a tour, down drafts, and hang out with fellow volunteers. Multiple locations including 400 E. 29th St., 410-370-2882
Hyatt Regency Baltimore Blanket Drive
The Old Farmer’s Almanac estimates that we’re in for an especially chilly winter this year, and in an effort to help displaced locals stay warm, the Hyatt Regency Baltimore has arranged a blanket drive through New Year’s Eve. In partnership with the Franciscan Center, The Maryland Center for Veterans Education & Training, and New Vision House of Hope, the Inner Harbor hotel has pledged to collect 1,000 new blankets this season. Donations can be purchased online and shipped to the hotel directly or dropped off at the front desk or valet station. 300 Light St., 410-528-1234
Maryland Gives More
This charitable campaign, whose goal is to make Maryland the most generous state in the nation on Giving Tuesday for the second year in a row, has set up Crowdrise fundraisers for upwards of 85 local programs and nonprofits. From the Living Classrooms Foundation and Fluid Movement to the Maryland Historical Society and the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Healthcare Reform, there are plenty of causes in need of support. Last year, Maryland Gives More raised more than $9 million over the holidays, and the group is hoping to defend its title as the most generous state once again this season.