Anonymous Donors Bring Holiday Cheer

December 18, 2023 | Luke Wachob

The holiday season is a time for giving, and all across the country, Americans are doing their part. Generous citizens are donating their time and money to provide holiday cheer for their neighbors in need. They do so not for recognition or personal gain, but to bring joy to others and share their good fortune with their communities.

Many donors choose to give anonymously because they want to stay out of the spotlight. They all have their own reasons for doing so, whether religious, ethical, or practical. But to those on the receiving end, it hardly matters. Private giving helps Americans help each other, and what better time for that than the holidays?

In many parts of the country, people turn to their local sheriff’s office to help distribute gifts to those in need. In Huron County, Michigan, an anonymous donor provided money to the local sheriff’s office to distribute in small amounts and gift cards to individuals and families who suffered a hardship during the year. In Essex County, New York, a group of anonymous donors came together to contribute $1,000 for officers to hand out in small amounts to those in need during the holiday season.

“It’s just another way to be able to give back and spread a little joy in the community at a time that should be joyful and full of hope and just an easy way to add to that,” said one donor.

Many Americans donate toys and gifts in hopes of brightening the Christmas mornings of children in need. In the Bluefield region of Virginia and West Virginia, an organization called the Community Christmas Tree has been running toy drives for over 100 years. This year, the group received its largest ever donation – a whopping $20,000 – from a long-time contributor who wished to remain anonymous.

“The donor has contributed to the Little Jimmie campaign for many years and we cannot express enough gratitude for the compassion and heartfelt concern and care expressed for the children of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia,” said Community Christmas Tree Coordinator Samantha Perry. “This $20,000 donation is crucial to helping us meet our goal and provide a merry Christmas to children in need across the region.”

The giving season is in full swing by December, but it kicks off early. Take this donation of 12,500 turkeys to the Clearwater Salvation Army in Florida. For that anonymous donor, turkey giveaways are more than a Thanksgiving tradition. They are a personal challenge.

“Quite a few years ago, she drove up to our office in her Camaro with about a dozen turkeys in the trunk and said, ‘Can you use turkeys for Thanksgiving?’ We said, ‘Absolutely!’ Every year she’s tried to increase that number — coming up to 12,500 this year. So we’re just so thankful for her and her friends, and the volunteers who are coming to help distribute those turkeys for us,” said Major Ted Morris of the Salvation Army.

Many Americans give anonymously in accordance with their religious beliefs. Others give privately out of a sense of modesty or simply to avoid being inundated with requests to donate to other charities and issues. The pain of saying “no” to a worthy cause can be great. Some Americans also choose to give privately to have a greater sense of security or to protect the privacy of their beliefs.

Whatever their reasoning, Americans have a right to make private donations to charities and nonprofits. As we take time this holiday season to practice gratitude and giving, let’s also be grateful for the right to give privately.