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20 Ways to Give


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Being a philanthropist can be an expensive venture. But charity isn’t always about big checks or canned soup or bake sales. In fact, it means different things for different people and different organizations. Proving that anyone can help drive the greater good, 20 different local nonprofits let you know how you can help lend a hand this holiday season—from wigs to pies and more.

Adopt a family…
The “I Have A Dream” Foundation focuses on drop-out prevention for low-income youth, boasting a 90 percent graduation rate through their program. The Foundation’s adopt-a-family holiday gift-giving program is in full swing, with individuals and businesses providing a holiday for families that would otherwise go without. For information on how to adopt a family or make other donations, call 303.444.3636 or go to ihadboulder.org.

Donate cat food…
The Longmont Humane Society and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley are private, nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing temporary shelter to thousands of animals every year. Their wish lists are always changing, but at this printing, most urgently needed items included canned kitten and cat food, blankets, towels, dog beds and cat toys. For Longmont, call 303.772.1232 or visit longmonthumane.org. For Boulder Valley, call 303.442.4030 or visit boulderhumane.org.

Send a senior to a play…
The Circle of Care Project provides accessibility to the arts, education and community to Boulder County seniors. Apart from volunteer hours and monetary gifts, they always accept tickets to cultural, educational and performing arts events for use by their seniors. For information, call 303.358.4300 or visit circleofcareproject.org.

Build muscle…
Why pay for a gym membership? Get your reps while doing good: Community Food Share is in need of strong volunteers who can lift boxes of food. In addition to food donations, volunteers are always needed to sort donations, restock shelves and prepare food bags for clients. For information on how to volunteer, call 303.652.3663 or visit communityfoodshare.org.

Win a tree…
Boulder County Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals to residents who need the service, regardless of age or income. One of their most important fundraising events of the year is the Annual Festival of Trees, taking place on Dec. 6 at noon. Gorgeously decorated trees will be raffled off while patrons enjoy a holiday buffet and silent auction. Call 303.441.3908 or visit mowboulder.org for details.

Mud a wall…
Flatirons Habitat for Humanity knows that sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. Whether you can donate time to help build a house, money to sponsor a build or just a few odds and ends you no longer need around the house, every little bit helps. Call 303.447.3787 or visit flatironshabitat.org.

Donate some ink…

The Center for Safe Schools and Communities offers programs that teach children skills for success and families strategies to avoid child abuse. Their biggest need is for sponsors who can help them out with ink cartridges, printing costs and advertising costs. They’re also gearing up for their first ever “Do The Right Thing” family event in April and need assistance with advertising and sponsors. Call 303.828.9733 or go to centerforsafeschools.org.

Learn CPR…
The Longmont Emergency Unit is an all-volunteer emergency rescue group specializing in many areas of rescue including first aid, extrication, dive rescue, swift water rescue and low and steep angle rope rescue. They are actively recruiting volunteers. Call 303.776.6180 or visit leu-rescue.org.

Send Band-Aids…
Clinica Family Health Services strives to be the medical and dental care provider of choice for low-income and other underserved people in our area. Clinica always needs gifts of time, talent, medical supplies and money, but they are currently in the midst of a capital campaign to raise funds to renovate a new building that has been donated. If you can help, please call 303.665.2962 or visit clinica.org.

Lend an Ear…
The Mental Health Center Serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties has served those with a mental disorder for more than 40 years. Their ongoing need for volunteers is to increase the range and quality of their services and provides a connection to the community. Call 303.413.6351 or visit mhcbbc.org.

Shop for socks…
Attention Homes provides residential treatment, counseling and safe shelter for at-risk youth. Their ongoing wish list includes socks and underwear for boys and girls, hygiene products and small gifts that can be used for incentives, including $10–$25 gift certificates to stores (i.e. Target), mp3 players, iTunes gift cards and tickets to events. Call 303.447.1206 to help or visit attentionhomes.org.

Use your Platinum Status…
The Global Education Fund works to improve the lives of orphans and other vulnerable children around the world through education, building libraries, providing leadership programs and supplying textbooks. They can turn your unwanted frequent flyer miles into support for a child hungry for an education. Call 303.415.9935 to find out how or visit globaleducationfund.org.

Collect mittens…
Each year, the Foothills United Way hosts their annual Socks and Mittens Drive, providing much-needed items that are distributed to local organizations to help children and adults in need in our community. In 2008, the drive collected 2,392 pairs of socks and mittens—a lot of warm fingers and toes. Call 303.444.4013 or visit unitedwayfoothills.org.

Give a wig…
As part of their mission to advocate for and support those affected by cancer, the American Cancer Society Great West Division provides wigs, hats and scarves to all cancer patients free of charge and appreciates all donations made by the community. To donate call 720.524.5400 or visit cancer.org.

Give warmth…
The mission of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is to provide support services for homeless adults in our community. The shelter accepts unwrapped gifts for its residents including long underwear and other winter items, sleeping bags, bus passes, backpacks, jackets and boots. For a full wish list, call 303.442.4646 or visit bouldershelter.org.

See a show…
The best way to support the Dairy Center for the Arts is to buy tickets—that’s not a hardship when the center provides such diverse opportunities to create and participate in world-class performing arts experiences. Call 303.440.7826 or visit thedairy.org.

Recycle a bike…
Community Cycles provides recycled bikes and a welcoming space to learn about bicycle repair, maintenance and operation. They accept donations of bikes and anything and everything bike related, in any condition, including Topeak-style repair stands, rags, toothbrushes, a truing stand and more. Call 720.565.6019 or visit communitycycles.org to check out their full wish list.

Feed a bird…
The Greenwood Wildlife Center is a resource for people who have found sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. Greenwood’s constant need is for volunteers to care for the thousands of patients they see each year. Donations of items like paper towels, bleach and bird seed are also always welcome; a full list is available at greenwoodwildlife.org or call 303.545.5849.

Do your holiday shopping…
The Boulder County AIDS Project offers support for those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS as well as working to provide outreach and information and prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Attend the World AIDS Day Concert on Dec. 1 at the First United Methodist Church, or shop the merchants of East End Pearl Street on Dec. 4, when a portion of sales will benefit BCAP. Visit bcap.org or call 303.444.6121.

Share a pie…
The Sister Carmen Community Center is the only source of comprehensive basic needs assistance for the area. They need ingredients for their “pie bags,” which include canned pumpkin pie filling, evaporated milk and a pie crust and are used to supplement holiday food boxes for families in need. Call 303.665.4342 or visit sistercarmen.org.

Brienne Garside contributed to this story.

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Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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