Game Charities: How to Donate, Give Back

Game Charities: How to Donate, Give Back

Video games can be regarded as the ultimate privilege. Game consoles are bundles of plastic, wires, and microchips that were engineered exclusively to please us, and the companies that make these systems fund multimillion-dollar commercials that fight like tomcats for our attention. When you pause what you’re playing to really take that all in, it’s easy to feel–well, guilty. Children across America are going to bed hungry, to say nothing about the rest of the world, and we spend hours hopping around the Mushroom Kingdom hand-in-hand with Mario.

Indeed, we’re extremely lucky to be able to enjoy a pastime as awesome as gaming, but you can do something more useful than merely feeling bad for partaking in it: You can give back to the community via game-based charities. If you have a little extra in your change purse, consider giving to some of these organizations:

Child’s Play: Child’s Play, the gamer charity organized by Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, is the most popular and successful game-based charity to date. Child’s Play has raised over seven million dollars for children’s hospitals around the world, and has contributed countless books, video games, and toys to hospitalized kids. Participants can donate money via cheque, PayPal, text message, or credit card. Toys, books, and games can be purchased and donated via Amazon wishlists that link directly to children’s hospitals worldwide.

Gamers for Humanity: If your family has fallen on hard times, games of all types can take a back seat to basic survival. Gamers for Humanity works with other established charities to collect games, food, and toiletries for families in need. Donations can be made via cheque or PayPal.

Gamers Outreach: Gamers Outreach aims to provide fun and games for folks who can’t access the good stuff as easily as the rest of us. For instance, members of the U.S. military who are stationed overseas, and hospitalized children with limited mobility who can benefit from portable, accessible “GO Karts” that allow entertainment to be brought to them. Donations can be made via cheque and PayPal. Gamers Outreach is also looking for gamers willing to donate new and gently used systems and games.

The ESA Foundation: The Electronic Software Association runs the ESA Foundation, a group that’s dedicated to improving the lives of America’s youth. The ESA Foundation offers scholarships and helps support programs across the country that benefit kids of all races and religions.

Free Rice: This is a little different. Free Rice is a website that pays out to charities based on how well you perform at playing a game. For ever ten questions you answer correctly on a variety of topics (including grammar, mathematics, and art recognition), Free Rice donates “ten grains of rice” to needy children via the World Food Programme. Play games, feed the world. Sounds like a pretty okay trade off! You can also donate money via PayPal or Credit Card.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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