Charities to give to this holiday season

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The shopping season has begun, but some yogis I know are donating money in lieu of gifts this year. I will be writing checks to the three organizations below. What are some of your favorite charities?

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: This is where doctors around the world send their toughest pediatric cases (mostly cancer). Families don't pay for treatment beyond what is covered by insurance, and those without insurance are never asked to pay.

The Smile Train: This organization provides free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries. They also train local doctors and medical professionals.

The Food Bank for New York City: The Food Bank helps provide 250,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers who otherwise would go hungry or not eat enough, who are largely comprised of women and children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and the working poor.