My family and I have been lucky (so far) in not being greatly affected by the current recession. So as the year comes to a close, I'm making some additional donations to causes I support. One is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A major USA for UNHCR donor has provided a $1 million challenge grant to match individual contributions dollar for dollar until the end of the year in support of Darfur refugees, so it's a good time to donate if you can.
I was also reminded in a "personal email" from Michelle Obama that there are many people here in the US who need help too, and one way to help people in your own area is to donate to a local food bank. You can check the phone book or enter your location at Feeding America to find a food bank near you.
It's also a good thing to remember those who are serving in the armed forces. I wish the US weren't involved in two wars, but unfortunately we are and will be for a while longer. One thing you can do is donate to the USO so they can send out care packages to men and women who are doing some really tough jobs far from home.