Boy saving moneyThe holiday season is a wonderful time for celebrating with friends and family. And for many, it is an annual tradition to help others and support local charities.

We asked our Facebook friends to share their favorite New Jersey charity groups that are doing good and helping others*. Here's what we heard:

The Arc of Union County:

Founded in 1949 by parents of children with disabilities, this organization is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to assisting their families in promoting the quality of their care and support.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters State Association of New Jersey:

Provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one–to–one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark:

Provides opportunities for youth that empower them to succeed and excel as contributing members of society. With programs to help develop life skills, values, character, and leadership, they help young people realize their individual potential.

Community FoodBank of New Jersey:

Fights hunger and poverty by distributing food and groceries, as well as by seeking long-term solutions. This year they helped 90,000 New Jerseyans, of which 55 percent were children and the elderly.

The Dylan Flinchum "Rock On!" Foundation:

Was established to help provide love and financial support to Mike and Melissa (Larsen) Flinchum and their son, Dylan, who suffers from the disease metachromatic leukodystrophy (also known as MLD).

Homefront:

Provides food and shelter to families in need in Mercer County and is dedicated to helping families break the cycle of poverty.

Jersey Cares:

Coordinates a variety of volunteer programs throughout the state, including their annual Coat Drive and Frosty's Friends that brings gifts to children in need during the holiday season.

The Jackson Malia Fund for Children with Special Needs:

Was founded in memory of Jackson Malia and is dedicated to helping sick and hospitalized children and their families throughout New Jersey.

Special Olympics New Jersey:

Provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the state, completely free of charge.

* Please note not all of the groups listed here have 501 (c) (3) non-profit status.

Do you have a favorite organization making a difference in New Jersey? Leave a comment and let us know and we'll do our best to update the list.