This was written on the Parent Club. ca blog "Think about the ways – big or small – you can help a family out…(I’ll give you some more keywords: donate, babysit, cook, volunteer, help, visit) and then comment, blog, tweet and so on to spread the buzz about making life easier for families this holiday season."
In our community we have the CAS that asks for donations of new toys to give to children at Christmas. We have a local food bank that we can donate non-perishable food, baby items like disposable diapers etc to, and each big grocery store has a box by the exit doors to put the items into. The local churches are always helping and a phone call to one of them will let you know what they need, and if you can't give financially, you can always donate your time.
For the rest of the year there is something called Clothesline and they do regular pickups, you just need to have the gently used clothing, electronics and small household items packed up and at the end of your driveway for them. I keep a few boxes around so that I can put in items I can donate as I come across them.
And there is a payoff for doing this, it makes you feel really good.