By Betsy Natter
The holiday season is filled with the giving and receiving of gifts. It’s also a time filled with frenzied shopping, crazy deals and jammed parking lots and malls. Six years ago, a group of people came up with #GivingTuesday as a way to counter the commercialism that so often takes over the season and provide a day earmarked for donating to charitable organizations.
While Tues., Nov. 27th is one day dedicated to giving to a non-profit or charitable organization, there are many ways to keep the giving going beyond the holiday season too. Here, we’ve listed local opportunities for both short-term and longer-term giving to support the MontCo community.
1. #GivingTuesday Campaign at the Library
Throughout the county there are many organizations prepared to accept contributions through their websites. One great campaign is hosted by the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library. Throughout the year the library offers a wide range of programs to the public – all at little or no cost. Yoga and computer classes, a live Bollywood dance performance, and superhero appearances at the Montco ComicFest, were just a few of the events. They also offer book-by-mail services to home bound patrons and the Bookmobile takes the library to areas without easy access to books. Your contribution will help to support these programs and much more for the coming year. Check out their contribution page by clicking here.
2. Holiday Sharing Program
Keystone Opportunity Center
104 Main St., Souderton, PA 18964
Although the holidays are a time of anticipation and excitement, for some in Montgomery County they become stress-filled and only highlight the financial struggles they face. Keystone Opportunity Center’s Holiday Sharing Program provides gift cards to needy families so that they can shop and provide the exact gifts their family needs. The program allows the dignity of personal involvement in caring for their families on the holiday.
They ask for contributions of $50 gift cards for Visa, MasterCard or Walmart. Drop-off at the Center on the following dates and times:
Tues., Nov 27 – 10 am to 4 pm
Wed., Nov 28 – 10 am to 4 pm
Thurs., Nov 29 – 5 pm to 7 pm
If you prefer to purchase items and drop them at the center, families in the Center’s programs are most in need of NEW Bed in a Bag (twin or queen size), NEW Bag-less Vacuum Cleaners, NEW Pots and Pans Sets, or NEW Blankets. Check the Center’s website here, for Food Pantry items needed as well.
Giving isn’t just for the holiday season. Consider signing up for a year of volunteer service at one of these local organizations:
3. Crayons to Cradles – Philadelphia
Crayons to Cradles helps to fight poverty in the Philadelphia region by providing clothing, school supplies and other basics needed for children to thrive. Groups and especially families who are part of the Family Leadership Circle, process donations at The Giving Factory in Conshohocken. Volunteers work throughout the year at special events and family days. This opportunity not only helps the organization, but teaches kids to care about their communities and develop social responsibility.
4. Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run, operating across several counties, mentors young girls, grades 3-5, and provides them with life skills. The 10-week program builds caring, competence, character, connection and confidence skills. Girls learn from both an educational curriculum and a running program that trains them to compete in a 5K when the season ends. Volunteers coach teams, manage the 5K and prepare lesson materials. Visit the Girls on the Run website here to learn more!
Responding to Community Needs Through Volunteerism is an organization that connects adult volunteers to a variety of needs through the Montgomery County community. Volunteers might tutor a child in reading or math, drive home bound seniors to medical appointments, counsel juvenile offenders or Medicare recipients, provide business counseling for struggling nonprofits or lead tours at historic sites & museums. See how you can participate by visiting the RSVP website by clicking here.
6. Family Services of Montgomery County
Family Services provides services to families in the county, helping them to thrive through difficult circumstances. The Meals on Wheels program always needs volunteers to pack and deliver lunch to home bound individuals. Volunteers also supply help for Project HEARTH (Helping Elderly Adults Remain in Their Homes) and the Telephone Reassurance Program. These programs help seniors to live in their homes as long as possible, by helping with household maintenance, running errands, and providing a daily check-on for safety. Visit the volunteer page by clicking here for more information.