Ask a Business Lawyer. Get Business Law Questions Answered ASAP.
The way to get into a 501(c)(3) status is you need to incorporate as a non profit corporation. This alone is not sufficient. Just because you are a non profit, that does not mean you are tax exempt. You must separately apply to the IRS for tax exempt status. Given the nature of your organization, you should have no difficulty demonstrating that it is for a charitable purpose.
Getting tax exempt status is not simple. Forming the non profit is pretty straightforward. Getting tax exempt status is not. Normally I recommend that you retain an attorney to assist you. However if that is not an option, it can be done on your own. Here is the link to the IRS publication that tells you how to go about it.
Good luck as you have a very worthy cause.
This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.
Once you obtain 501(c)(3) status through the IRS you will be tax exempt and then contributions to your organization will be deductible as charitable contributions. Good luck this sounds like a very worthy cause.