No. of Recommendations: 1

This year, I'm going to increase my giving at the grass roots level and I'd like your thoughts on best ways to give in consideration of taxes. As an example, I could buy some clothes and toys and grocery gift certificates and give them to some of Bookgrrrl's Santa Elves drive, or I could make a tax deductable donation to something like a local church or the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to let the tax tail wag the giving dog, but if I can give more because Uncle Same takes less, then that's even better.

One time, a friend of mine was going to the Phillipines and I went to
Toys R' Us and bought $100 of toys for him to take to the local orphanage. Now, if that was tax deductable, I could've spent $130, know what I mean? On the other hand, the problem with giving to organizations is that a lot of the $$ gets tied up in "program" funding and not the actual "act of kindness" itself. For example, $100 donated to my local church would have only seen maybe $10 or $15 go to grass roots aid. (Of course, the church provides non-aid, but valuable services like ministry, but you get the idea.) So, there has to be a balance between giving to organized programs and grass roots efforts.

I guess this is turning toward less of a question and more of a request for a general discussion.

I mean, if I wanted to give out toys, clothes and food baskets this Thanksgiving is there a general tax-advantaged way of doing that? If not, that's ok and I'll still contribute.
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