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Five charities you need to know about

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A budget isn't just for spending, saving and investing. There's also giving. Here are five worthy charities.

Muscular Dystrophy NSW

What is it?

giving

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a neuromuscular, genetic disorder that results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function.

Most forms occur in babies or children, which can result in a child as young as eight years using a manual wheelchair and then an electric wheelchair in their early teens.

Life expectancy is usually early adulthood. Muscular Dystrophy NSW's vision is to improve the quality of life for all people living with a neuromuscular condition.

Where your money goes

Your generosity will make a big difference to the lives and wellbeing of children, teens and adults whose lives are impacted by muscular dystrophy.

A donation will ensure that every child or adult in need can receive the benefits of advances in medical care, assistive and life-support equipment, professional support services, opportunities for life-enhancing activities and social networks, and support and respite for families and carers.

How to donate

Call 1800 635 109 or visit mdnsw.org.au to make a donation.

You can also hold a fundraiser or register for a charity event for Muscular Dystrophy NSW such as the Big Red Ride Sydney from Bondi to Richmond or Katoomba on November 8.

Pet Rescue

What is it?

This not-for-profit organisation inspires Australians to discover the joy and unconditional love provided by a rescue pet.

Pet Rescue brings potential owners face-to-furry-face with thousands of adorable pets from shelters and rescue groups nationwide, empowering Australians to save over 6000 animal lives every month.

Where your money goes

Unfortunately, 80% of pound cats and 40% of pound dogs are put down every year because they are unable to find a new family to adopt them.

From 2015, all funds raised will be invested in PetRescue's Safe & Sound Pounds Program, allowing pound staff to implement effective life-saving adoption programs and offering maximum exposure to lost and homeless pets by putting them online. This program will hopefully increase the pets' chances of being reunited with their owner or finding a new home.

How to donate

Visit petrescue.com.au and make a one-off donation or become a regular donor. You can also fundraise on behalf of PetRescue or become a foster carer. More than 70% of pets listed on PetRescue are in pet foster care.

Motor Neurone Disease Australia

What is it

This is the national body for people living with motor neurone disease. Its mission is to promote optimal care outcomes for them and to fund research.

MND is a progressive, terminal neurological disease and there is no known cure or effective treatment. The average life expectancy is 27 months and it's estimated 1900 Australians have MND. In this country, two people a day die from the disease.

Where your money goes

If you donate to the MND Research Institute of Australia, every dollar will be invested in research with the best chance of understanding the causes, developing effective treatments and finding a cure. If you give to MND Australia, your money will go towards producing national publications and online resources that are crucial for informing people at every stage of the disease, as well as the health professionals who care for them.

How to donate

Visit mndaust.asn.au and make a one-off donation or sign up for monthly donations. There are other options such as online sponsorship or an "in memoriam" page.

Soldier On

What is it?

Soldier On is an independent charity that offers support to physically and psychologically wounded Australians who have been involved in contemporary conflicts after 1990. This includes Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australian Federal Police and Customs personnel.

Where your money goes

Soldier On relies on your generous donations to help make a financial, physical and emotional link with those who have been wounded.

The areas in which they work to help include enhancing rehabilitation, adventurous events, community events and employment and education.

How to donate

Simon Jones, who is a veteran himself, is raising money to support the wounded. On the 10th October 2015, he will be doing the Coolangatta Gold to raise money to help soldiers with mental and physical injuries suffered whilst serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He will ski, swim, board, swim and run a total of more than 32km. Using this as part of his own recovery, he has almost smashed his goal of raising $15,000 before his event in October.

Click here for the Simon Jones fundraising page to make a donation.

Merry Makers Australia

What is it?

In 1978, Rosemary Marriott taught a young child with disabilities how to dance. She proved that the power of music and dance can make all the difference to those with disabilities - and Merry Makers was born.

To this day, the charity continues to perform "miracles", with dancers ranging in age from six to 56, most of whom have an intellectual or physical disability.

Where your money goes

Your support will allow Merry Makers to continue to help people with disabilities to develop their social skills and to aid in their personal development. Every Saturday, they get together in what the organisation describes as an atmosphere of love, acceptance and support. It is run entirely by volunteers, so your donations help keep the Merries dream alive.

How to donate

Visit merrymakers.com.au and click on the "donate now" link. The Merry Makers also put on an uplifting gala performance every year at the Sydney Opera House, so keep an eye on the website for dates.

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