’tis the season to

Be Giving

by Emma Zang Schwartz

Want to make a difference this holiday season? With over 150 Valley nonprofits championing worthwhile causes, one of the best ways to support our community is to give of yourself. Taking the time from your busy schedule to volunteer will be greatly appreciated. At random, we’ve selected 10 of the many organizations that will be grateful for your help. 

 

 

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) strives to ultimately change the world by helping to make a child’s life better. RMHC looks for ways to directly improve the health and well-being of children. They can’t do it alone. Volunteers are crucial to the assistance that they provide; from cooking meals to gardening to teaching arts and crafts lessons, you can choose how involved you would like to be. On a one-time basis, you can create a “penny war” at your child’s school to collect loose change or sponsor a room at the Ronald McDonald House with coworkers to paint, furnish and decorate. If you are able to devote more time, consider serving on a committee or helping with a golf tournament, auction or other fundraising event. For locations and other volunteer opportunities, visit www.rmhc.org

Interfaith Cooperative Ministries

IMC is a food and clothing bank that helps over 100 families a day by providing food, clothing, medical care, toiletries and job assistance. They are always looking for donations of food, clothing, toiletries and money. If you want a more personal experience, they also need volunteers who work with clients to assess their needs, sorting and distributing clothes in the “clothing boutique,” supervising children in the “Love Corner” while parents meet with interviewers and help sorting toiletries. Medical professionals are also welcome to help at their free monthly clinic. Visit www.icmaz.org

 

 

AZ Humane Society

The animals in our community need help too, and the Arizona Humane Society ensures that they are taken care of in many ways. Volunteers at the Humane Society share a compassion for the homeless animals in the Valley, a commitment to create a brighter future for the animals and offer consistent care for the animals. Volunteers help with administrative tasks, admitting animals and even offering foster care to the dogs, cats and other critters including bunnies and guinea pigs. Of course, adopting a pet is always another way to help and will provide the animal with a new, permanent, loving family. To view adoptable animals, make a donation or to learn more about volunteering, visit www.azhumane.org

Packages From Home

Help brighten up the troops’ days this holiday season by donating to Packages from Home. Based in the greater Phoenix area, this local charity collects, packs and ships care packages to soldiers who are stationed overseas and in harm’s way. This grassroots organization started in 2004 with the sole purpose to send non-perishable food, personal toiletries, books, games, CDs and DVDs at no cost to our deployed troops. There are many ways to help. Some donate money, which goes towards mailing costs or the purchase of special items; others donate items or their time to help pack the donations for shipping. To find out what, where, and ways to donate, visit www.packagesfromhome.org



				


				
Scottsdale Senior Services

Scottsdale Senior Services, through their Granite Reef and Via Linda Senior Centers, provides social services and resources to senior adults and their families in order to improve lives, neighborhoods and the community. They host peer support groups and provide social services and health and wellness programs. Volunteers are always appreciated to help seniors with transportation, deliver meals to homebound patients and to assist at other service points. Your pets can even make a difference by visiting local health care centers for an hour.  To learn about other ways to help, visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/seniors

St. Mary’s Food Bank

St. Mary’s Food Bank distributed over 72 million pound of food last year to hungry people in Arizona. They rely on volunteers to help with the Food Bank’s operations and in raising awareness of the realities of hunger and poverty. Opportunities include office work, emergency food box sorters and packers and kitchen assistance. Hosting a food drive is a great way to get your friends, family and coworkers involved. St. Mary’s makes it easy with boxes ready to be picked up and filled with nonperishable food items. Flyers, participation forms and a “Most Wanted” list are ready to be printed from their website. You can even host a Diaper Drive. Monetary donations are always welcome as a way for you to contribute to the cause. For more information, their website is www.firstfoodbank.org

 


Phoenix Rescue Mission

The Phoenix Rescue Mission provides meals, toiletries and relief from the elements to homeless people in the area through emergency services, recovery programs and the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children. Help is greatly needed and much appreciated and can come in many forms. Volunteer options include serving meals, helping prepare the meals as a sous chef in the kitchen, creating sack meals to be delivered by the Hope Coach or creating a toiletry tote. Through prayer, hope and hard work, the Phoenix Rescue Mission makes life better for people without a home. For more ways to support the mission, visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org

Red Cross Blood Donations

Currently the nation is experiencing a critical blood shortage. The best way to make a difference is to find a blood drive near you and roll up your sleeves. The whole process takes about an hour and fifteen minutes but the pint of blood that you donate can be used to help three people. Donations from a healthy donor can be made every 56 days, so donate now and donate often. To learn more about the requirements and to make a donation appointment, go to the American Red Cross website at www.redcrossblood.org


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity builds simple, decent and affordable housing for low income families around the world. Habitat doesn’t give the houses to families; the new homeowners make a down payment and pay a monthly mortgage. These fees are used to build other Habitat houses. The organization also relies on volunteer labor and donations of money and materials for building. With projects here in Arizona or in faraway places like Malawi, there is a project that could use your help wherever you desire. Volunteers build the homes under trained supervision, but there are also other types of jobs such as in their ReStores. To volunteer or find out more information about their projects, visit www.habitat.org

East Valley Child Crisis Center

The Child Crisis Center works to prevent child abuse and neglect through education and intervention. They have a Safe Haven Shelter for children who are abused, neglected or whose well being is in jeopardy.  To help the children at the Child Crisis Center, you can become a volunteer. It requires a commitment of at least one two-hour shift a week for at least one year. If you are looking for something just around the holidays, you can hold a collection drive or donate items from their “Wish List.” Frequently requested items include diapers, baby food, towels, child-safe lotion and gift certificates for Target, Wal-Mart, and grocery stores. To see other ways to get involved, go to childcrisis.org.