You’re already in giving mode right now, so go one step farther and give outside your immediate circle… Goods, funds, and just a little of your time can greatly help another.
Below are just a few charities or organizations that would appreciate your contributions:
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF THE GREATER TWIN CITIES
BBBS works to enrich children’s lives by making and sustaining a match with a caring mentor. This means volunteering to pair up with a child, or making a donation so that others can do so and additional resources are made available to the organization. In 2004, BBBS served more than 3,700 children with the help of more than 3,200 volunteers. www.bbbs.org
TWIN CITIES HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity appreciates all donations of funds, vehicles, materials and services so that more affordable housing can be created within our community. Volunteers can help with construction, office support, family services, event planning, and many other aspects of Twin Cities Habitat’s work. www.tchabitat.org
LITTLE BROTHERS FRIENDS OF THE ELDERLY
LBFE believes that no one should have to grow old alone. That’s why they organize volunteer visitors, funds and special events. Joining an elder in friendship and celebration of life, in the words of one volunteer, “will enrich your life beyond measure.” Visiting volunteer opportunities are available in St. Paul and Minneapolis Area. Call (612) 721-6215 or visit minneapolis.littlebrothers.org
Child’s Play, a Seattle-based charity, has Amazon.com wish lists that ask for everything from board games to books. People can purchase the wish list toys right online and the items are sent directly to the participating children’s hospitals. www.childsplaycharity.org
Whether you donate clothing and items, shop yourself or give direct funds to any Goodwill location, you’re helping support job training and other services that prepare people for job success. Goodwill also generates income by helping businesses fill gaps caused by labor shortages, time constraints and limited space or equipment, and builds funds to support other education and career services. www.goodwill.org
LOCAL SOUP KITCHENS
Food shelf needs are at an all-time high during the winter. Find any local soup kitchen and donate goods (or money, if you can’t find the time to buy and deliver food). All food shelves are always in need of the following: baby supplies (diapers, formula), cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, paper towels, kitchen and bathroom cleaners), complete meals (pasta and sauce, boxed meals, hearty soups), hygiene products (shampoo, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene, toothpaste), plus fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.
GREATER TWIN CITIES UNITED WAY
One of many volunteer opportunities being organized is a giving program called Holiday Wishes. Sponsored by the Pioneer Press, Hope for the City, Bridging and United Way, specific families are selected and people can donate directly to them – or the organization. Make a secure donation online; give furniture, or a vehicle. www.unitedwaytwincities.org
** To research these charities, or many, many others, visit Charity Navigator, ‘your guide to intelligent giving’. www.charitynavigator.org