The holidays are a busy time, full of celebrations and family traditions. They can also be an incredibly difficult time for some people in the area that are struggling to make ends meet. With Thanksgiving and Christmas just weeks ago, now is a great time to think about giving back a little to a charity. There are hundreds of great organizations in the area that are doing wonderful things in the community and even worldwide, but here are some of my favorites!
World Vision Gift Catalog
This organization is near and dear to my heart and has some wonderful giving opportunities for children and families in need overseas, as well as here in the United States. World Vision is focused on creating sustainable change in people’s lives and one of the ways they do that is through the gift catalog. Do you have someone in your life that doesn’t really need anything, but you still want to honor them with something special? Honor a loved one with a gift that goes to someone in need. Animals like goats, sheep, and chickens can provide ongoing vital nutrition to families, while boosting the local economy with extra income. Or, give the gift of clean water to someone in another country or provide education or career training for young girls and women. There are a lot of wonderful options and I have seen these types of gifts bring wonderful transformation in families.
Habitat for Humanity
This is a great worldwide organization (over 100 countries have 2,100 active affiliates!) that provides quality housing for low income children and families. For many local families, kids don’t have a place to bring their friends home to, simply because they don’t have predictable and reliable housing. Families are selected through an application process and the family gets to be involved in the home building process. The current Habitat for Humanity home project is located off of Middle Way in Vancouver.
Share Vancouver currently runs three shelters, one for men and two for families that do not have homes. Last year, the organization served nearly 1300 people through the shelters and through its partnership with the Winter Hospitality Overflow program, which provides much-needed shelter to the homeless population during the cold fall and winter months. In addition, they provide daily, hot meals for free to homeless and low income families at their main location on 13th street in downtown Vancouver. Last year, they served more than 92,000 meals to people in the area with an additional 33,000 served at family shelters.
Friends of the Carpenter
I like this organization because of the focus it has on building relationships. In addition, it allows people to tap into what their purpose is in life. They have a day shelter that gives people a safe place to come and experience hope and warm hospitality. The organization helps teach people woodworking, which is a tangible activity that gives people a way to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Friends of the Carpenter was recently in the news providing homeless people downtown with Rubbermaid containers to store their valuables, memory books, or other items that were important to them that they don’t need all the time. People were given two bins each and if they wanted, the organization would store their items in the Friends of the Carpenter warehouse.
In addition, every year Windermere hosts an annual coat and blanket drive. We are collecting blankets and coats through December 18. Or, if you don’t want to make an extra stop at the office for your donation, I will come pick it up for you!
May your upcoming season of Thanksgiving and Christmas be filled with the beauty of giving.