By Troy Petenbrink

First held on August 19, 2009, World Humanitarian Day was originally designed to honor and raise awareness of aid workers who provide vital services following disasters. It has continued as an annual observance; however, it has evolved to also serve as a reminder that everyone can be a humanitarian. In the Washington, DC area there are multiple organizations that are doing important domestic and international humanitarian work ready to welcome your support during World Humanitarian Day and everyday.

Martha’s Table
2114 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 328-6608

Martha’s Table is one of DC’s most respected nonprofits and — unfortunately — its services are widely needed. The nearly 40 year old organization works to support children and families through programs ranging from full day early childhood education to children to a daily meal service. Last year, Martha’s Table received help from more than 18,000 volunteers. To make it easier to volunteer it uses an online scheduling system that allows volunteers to sign up for their own shifts. In addition to possibly being a volunteer, Martha’s Table accepts monetary donations as well as donations of clothing, housewares, and food.

So Others Might Eat
71 O St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 797-8806

Last year, So Others Might Eat served 388,213 meals to hungry men, women and children in DC. In addition, it provided clothing and showers, arranged medical visits to doctors and dentists, and assisted with housing among many other services. The opportunities to volunteer with SOME are plentiful, and there are even a variety of ways that youth (age 13 and older) can volunteer their time and energy. In addition to a direct giving program, SOME has many fundraising events throughout the year including a 5K Thanksgiving Day run/walk and annual gala dinner.

1400 16th St. N.W., Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 667-8227

InterAction is an alliance of many nongovernmental organizations from around the world addressing nearly every aspect of need — from gender equality and public health to education and disaster relief. It received strong support from major foundations and agencies such as Gates, Rockefeller, and USAID; however, it also relies heavily on individual donations. When donating to InterAction, you are support the humanitarian efforts of nearly 200 different organizations.

Related: Green Volunteer Opportunities In Washington DC

1023 15th St. N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 480-9241

When a disaster strikes it is important once it is safet o have aid workers on location as quickly as possible. Airlink works to make transportation possible by networking between commercial and charter airlines and international nonprofits. Since its inception in 2010, its airline partners have transported thousands or passengers and tons of cargo in support of a broad range of domestic and international humanitarian initiatives. Individuals can support Airlink by making a monetary donation or by donating your United MileagePlus miles.

Refugees International
2001 S St. N.W., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 828-0110

According to Refugees International there are currently 65 million displaced men, women, and children around the world. Its mission is to advocate for lifesaving assistance and protection for these vulnerable individuals and promote solutions to displacement crises. As an independent organization with no ties to any government or United Nations funding, Refugees International is a trusted source for The Washington Post, NPR, and many other major news outlets. Its efforts have led to billions of dollars of vital support being direct to needed communities. To support its efforts Individual donations are the lifeblood .

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities for Animal Lovers in Washington, D.C.


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