We've put together a list of charities and gifts with a food connection that we think are well worth your end-of-year giving. All of these are close to our hearts. We hope you'll make a donation or purchase in honor or memory of a loved one, and watch the love grow, grow, grow this holiday season.

1. Jones Valley Teaching FarmJones Valley Teaching Farm is in Cooking Light's back yard here in Birmingham, Alabama. Just a few miles from our offices, this organization is working year round to teach kids and their families about healthy food, where it comes from, and why it's so important. Their mission is closely connected to our own, and earlier this year we worked with JVTF to bring families into our Test Kitchens. We helped them cook several different recipes and discussed why cooking is so important to us and how they can continue to incorporate these lessons in their families. This video tells you more about that initiative.

2. FoodCorpsFoodCorps is taking the healthy-food message to American school kids. Modeled after the Peace Corps, FoodCorps sends young Americans into schools to promote healthy eating, nutrition, gardening, and cooking. The organization has service members in 15 states currently. Service members help communities and schools develop food and nutrition programs, plant gardens, locate resources for school lunches, and provide students with hands-on cooking instruction. Read some of what FoodCorps service members have said about the work they're doing around the country.

3. Feeding AmericaThis time of year, no one should go without a warm meal and a kind friend. Unfortunately, more than 50 million Americans live in food-insecure households. Donations to Feeding America help stock food banks and deliver supplies to disaster-stricken areas.

4. Full Circle Exchange and Southwest CreationsFull Circle Exchange is dedicated to empowering women and communities to rise above poverty through partnerships with organizations that provide well-paying jobs and economic opportunities to women across the country. Full Circle Exchange sells fair-trade coffeesteas, and chocolates. They also partner with other organizations to provide an array of artisan goods from all across the country and globe.

One such partnership is bringing together a major supermarket and another deserving organization from New Mexico:  WalMart is selling a kitchen and towel set made by the employees at Southwest Creations, a manufacturing social enterprise that provides cutting, sewing, and handwork to companies across the country

This set is just one of several gifts Walmart is selling as a part of their Empowering Women Together initiative. See other gifts that give back to worthy organizations working to give women with the financial and social ability to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities.

5. Cookies for Kids' CancerAfter her late son was diagnosed with cancer, Gretchen Holt Witt launched Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise awareness and research funds. You can be a good cookie for this organization in several ways:- Plan your own bake sale and donate the proceeds to CFKC.- Order cookies from them as gifts or a sweet treat for yourself.- Donate.

Last week, Cooking Light team members in New York baked over 1,800 cookies as part of our Bake a Second Batch initiative. All of the cookies were donated to CFKC, and sales of those cookies have generated more than $10,000 for the organization. Learn more about Bake a Second Batch and how you can be a part of it, too.

If you're hosting your own charity event such as Bake a Second Batch that requires organizing people quickly, consider using free online and mobile signups from VolunteerSpot. Schedule people to contribute ingredients, to attend a baking party, and to help deliver your goodies. VolunteerSpot is a timesaver for organizing activities with schools, teams, faith groups, and other nonprofits important to you.