Athena Recommends: Our Favorite Holiday Charities
If you’ve been following our Month in Review column, you already know that the Athena team loves to talk about national and international news. But we also like to discuss podcast picks, industry apps, life hacks, newsletter tips, charitable organizations and (inevitably) the best spots for lunch in Philadelphia. Every first Friday of the month, Athena is sharing our water-cooler conversations with the world. We hope you’ll leave comments with your own recommendations. For the November installment of Athena Recommends, the team is naming their favorite charities for the holidays and all year long.
As a company, Athena is supporting a few causes this holiday season. In mid-November, we’ll spend an afternoon sorting and packaging food for those in need at the Share Food Program in West Philly. Our monthlong toy drive for the Salvation Army kicks off around the same time. The Athena team will also pen handwritten holiday cards to include with our donation in December.
Looking ahead, Athena has a new partnership with City Year. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps members serve in classrooms across the city, providing students with academic and social-emotional support one-on-one and in small groups. There are a variety of ways to get involved, from making a personal donation to attending upcoming events like Cocktails for City Year and the Women’s Leadership Luncheon.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
I was a big sister to a young woman in Philadelphia as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that helps develop and mentor our youth in Philly. It was extremely rewarding to spend time with my little sister and help support her mental and overall wellbeing. Gianna DiBlasio
Fred’s Footsteps provides financial support to families in the Philadelphia region who find themselves in a crisis due to the costs associated with caring for a seriously ill, injured, or disabled child. My husband has served on the Board of the Young Professional’s arm of the organization (Friends of Fred’s) since 2019, where he has raised money for the cause by organizing events like Phillies tailgates, golf outings, and wine giveaways. We’ve also gotten to work directly with some of the kids and families who have benefitted from the organization at special events they hold for them across the city. Katharine Anastasiadis
MANNA provides medically appropriate and nutritious meals to their clients fighting life-threatening illnesses, all at no cost. They offer plenty of opportunities to volunteer, but I personally like working in their kitchen along with their chefs and team. You get to actively participate in making their meals and usually meet plenty of new people along the way. One of their largest fundraisers, Pie in the Sky, just started and is an easy (and delicious) way to get involved. Mia Spadoni
This homegrown nonprofit is led by an incredibly dedicated team of staff and volunteers. They have served 20 million meals to clients experiencing major illnesses free of charge since 1990. I’ve been supporting MANNA for nearly a decade, from preparing meals and buying pies to attending the annual gala. Three years ago, my sister and I started delivering holiday meals on Thanksgiving morning. Meeting people at their homes and hearing about how much this service helps them all yearlong really reinforces the organization’s mission. Kristin Detterline
Team IMPACT matches kids with a serious illness or disability with a college sports team, in turn, creating a life changing, long-term experience for all parties. Per their website, “Our mission is to guide children and teams alike in a mutually beneficial relationship of belonging, empowerment, and resilience.” I have served on the Philadelphia Young Professionals Board of Team IMPACT for about a year and a half now. There is no greater feeling than watching a child get matched with a team, have their very own signing day, and be treated like they are part of the team. Jenna Steinbrink
I believe Christmas is that one time of year where magic truly happens. The Angel Tree Program gives me the opportunity to help bring that magic to kids in my local community, many of whom are missing one or both parents in their lives, by giving Santa a hand and anonymously fulfilling their Christmas wish lists, so that when they wake up Christmas morning, that magic has come to them and they know they are loved (plus it gives me an excuse to buy all the kids toys that I secretly want to play with!). Amanda Fink
I have adopted many cats and dogs through the program and understand how dedicated this organization is to the well-being of animals of all types and ages. Jennifer Buchness
Swim Across America
Swim Across America is a nonprofit org I support all year round. My dad founded it. It began with a run across America that his friend did in the 80s on one leg. He lost one to cancer. Now the org does swims all over the country and the swims raise money for cancer research. Tricia Vossler
WMMR’s Annual Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger
Camp Out For Hunger is the nation’s largest single-food drive benefiting Philabundance and is one that I have been proud to support for the last 10 years. I love seeing the Philadelphia community show up during this weeklong event of radio fun to fight hunger together. I’ll be there bright and early this year to make my donation. Christine Rudloff
This annual event is the largest single-site food drive in the country—and for good reason! Last year, they donated over 2.3 million pounds of food directly to Philabundance. Food insecurity is such a large issue for many and this event allows for its visitors to have a good time while doing good. The event each year has live broadcasts from WMMR, games, theme nights, and most importantly, opportunities to donate. If you go this year, I suggest checking out the fireworks show! Mia Spadoni