All of the sensations that come with the holiday season are returning: The warmth of gratitude in the belly, the it’s-been-too-long bear hugs from loved ones, the welcome crispness in the air and, admittedly, the little kid in us ready to salivate over gifts. Do you think everyone feels like this? We sure do hope so.
As one of the happiest, wealthiest, and most educated cities, we, sadly, lack a culture of giving. In 2015, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that Colorado has the lowest giving ratio compared to our neighbor states. Out of 64 Colorado counties, BOCO crept away with its tail between its legs, with a ranking of 44. Let’s do better this year.
Take a moment, think of those in need. To them, the holidays may be lonelier and the crisp in the air more biting. Giving this holiday season can be exhilarating and sharing a small act of kindness can go a long way. You may help a single mom support her kids, or a child who can’t remember the feeling of having enough. No matter what you donate, giving back matters. You have the goodness in your heart to do good. If you feel inspired (which I’m confident you will), make giving into a holiday tradition.
BOULDER COUNTY AIDS PROJECT
BCAP has several upcoming holiday events as well as a list of item that the community can help with to improve the lives of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. Every November, BCAP puts together a holiday food drive to provide meals to homes impacted by HIV. Holiday baskets include donations of turkey or ham, cranberry sauce, canned or fresh sweet potatoes or yams, canned corn, green beans, bags of stuffing, pie shells and cans of pumpkin. Gift cards to local grocery stores and fresh fruits and vegetables are also appreciated for families who don’t celebrate traditional holidays. BCAP also operates two food pantries that rely on donations to remain full with nutritious foods which are especially important for supporting a diet infected by HIV or AIDS. They have a list of things they need year-round online. Personal hygiene and cleaning supplies such as shampoo, soap, deodorant and toilet paper, are always wanted, Executive Director Ana Hopperstad emphasizes. She also suggests that gas cards or bus booklets are exceptionally helpful so clients can get to their medical appointments.
On Dec. 2, local radio station KBCO sell the years’ worth of live studio recordings in a one-of-a-kind CD which is called the KBCO Studio C CD release. BCAP is a beneficiary of this event. The community can help by purchasing the CD or volunteering.
Two more holiday events are BCAP’s World AIDS Day Concert on Dec. 3 and the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus on Dec. 8. The holidays brings out the caroler in everyone, so why not attend either of these concerts and sing along to support BCAP. Tickets will be available on BCAP’s website.
Serving all ages with developmental disabilities, these people are creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. All year long, they work to provide educational and therapeutic services, job training and placement, recreation and leisure activities, behavioral health services, support and much more.
Imagine! Holds an annual gift giving drive that lives through the generosity of the community. In the office, they put up a tree sculpture (about the middle of November) with specific gift tags for each individual. If you can’t make it to the office, they also have wish list
that you can check out online. They ask for all types of gifts from iPads, books
and games, to couches, kitchen sets and bedding for their homes.
“If we can provide them with some of these gifts, it’s a simple way of saying ‘Hey, we see you, we know you’re here, and you’re important to us and the community,’ said Public Relations Director Fred Hobbs. “This is a very tangible way of expressing that you too are part of this community of Boulder and Broomfield county.”
People can also volunteer to not only deliver the gifts to their houses, but be the one to see how bright the smiles are.
Buying jewelry that makes a difference makes that piece of jewelry so much more beautiful. Bead for Life empowers women in Africa by teaching them entrepreneurial skills through their Street Business School and selling their handmade necklaces. Bead for Life has learned that the women who go through their training are increasing their income by 211%. When buying their carefully crafted jewelry, we’re repaying them by lifting them out of poverty, feeding their families and giving women and their children the opportunity to attend school.
The community can help by purchasing beads online, or shopping in the Boulder studio. These gifts are wrapped with a
deeper meaning and a story originated in Uganda.
“Since we’re entering the giving season, we welcome any type of donation, so we can empower more women around the world to lift their families from poverty by becoming successful businesspeople,” said Co-founder Torkin Wakefield. She reflected on Rose, a Street Business School graduate who now is a businesswoman who sells her colorful jewelry confidentially.
Let’s gift colorful jewelry to our loved ones to put more color into their lives and the daily lives of the woman in Uganda.
THERE WITH CARE
With compassion and care, as the name of their organization suggests, There With Care reaches out to families during the critical phase of a medical crisis to give families the support, money, and spirit they need.
They post a wish list regularly which you can find on their website, or Amazon, with foods such as canned tuna and macaroni and cheese, or diapers and clothing for babies in NICU. During the holiday season, they have three programs for the community to open their hearts to: Thanksgiving meal program, holiday meal and gift program, and team delivery. Sponsoring a meal personalized for each family (ham, turkey, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.) can make the holidays a lot brighter for families who don’t have the spirit or time to cook. The wish lists for each family remain private to the individual who sponsors them. Team delivery is a program where volunteers can have the honor of delivering the meals and/or gifts to families. This means wherever the families are – whether at home, in the hospital or even the Ronald McDonald house. Each of these acts of kindness spreads the holiday spirit one meal at a time.
“We get letters [from families] that they wouldn’t have been able to get anything for their children or siblings because they can’t get out of the house or they don’t have the time or the money or they might not have the ability to go do it,” said Volunteer Director Kelly McGahan. “And they wouldn’t have had a meal.”
HUMANE SOCIETY OF BOULDER VALLEY
The contagious tail-wags, meows and cuddles from the dogs, cats and small animals are only a few reasons to give back to them during the holidays. They depend on us as humans to take care of them and it’s the least we can do for them as they wait for one of us to give them
their fur-ever home.
Browse through their wish list on Amazon to support the care-taking and enrichment of each unique animal who stays at the shelter. Choose from toys to stimulate their playtimes to milk replacement and bottles to take care of the newborn orphaned animals who are lost without their mom. The wish list can be found on Amazon, or on their website.
“Every donation will touch a life by providing a critical safety net of food, shelter, love, medical care, behavioral support, and more, to better serve our animals and the community the following year,” said Development and Communications Coordinator Nick Walsh. “Individual contributions are the reason we can serve over 7,000 animals each year, finding new loving homes for pets, maintaining strong relationships, and reuniting lost animals with their guardians.”
COMMUNITY FOOD SHARE
By donating extra cans of beans or foods we might throw in the trash because of an unexplainable fear of expiration dates, we serve one in eight people in Boulder and Broomfield counties who are struggling with buying food. Our donations help fill the aisles of the food bank with millions of pounds of fresh food and pack the selections with variety where families can stock carts with fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, meats, eggs and more.
Their annual Let’s Bag Hunger food drive during Nov. 10-14 asks individuals to donate or drop off non-perishable food items at King Soopers stores in Boulder, Lafayette, and Louisville.
On their website, they have a regular list with their most needed items which include: nut butters, soups, cereals, canned tuna and chicken, baby food and formula, beans, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and sauces and rice.
BOULDER SHELTER FOR THE HOMELESS
Each year, 1,500 homeless adults seek help from the Boulder Shelter who proudly opens their doors. In the shelter, they’re protected from the vicious wind and fed to ease stomach pains. On their website, they have a list of goods and foods they need most. Donations they need most include travel size toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap, deodorant and goods such as disposable razors, shaving cream, Kleenex, Q-tips, sunblock, lotion, earplugs, reading glasses and Chapstick. Winter wear such as hats, gloves, and large size winter jackets are also a must this holiday season.
Taking care of the people in our community takes care of everyone.
WILDLANDS RESTORATION VOLUNTEERS
We love the beauty we see in every direction from the Flatirons, walkable hiking trails, and grass free of trash. This Colorado nonprofit helps heal the land our community travels on.
Their adventurous wish list is packed full of useful restoration supplies: shovels, drills, tarps, fencing, gloves, axes, first aid kits, closed trailers, a fuel-efficient vehicle, storage space, projectors, crawl hauler, software, non-perishable food for when their projects are weekend-length, trowels, loppers, and pruners.
For specifics, contact them or check out their website.
BLUE SKY BRIDGE
Children who are going through trauma don’t get to experience the holidays as much as other kids. This nonprofit dedicates their time to protect them from future abuse and make them and their families feel as comfortable as possible with serious intervention, forensic interviews, counseling and family support.
Their wish list includes specific, yet simple, items that can help children relax and feel like the active kid that they are. Card and board games for all ages, colored pencils, coloring books, gel ink pens, healthy snacks, juice boxes, water bottles, Mandala coloring books, markers, stress balls, stuffed animals (must be new or gently used with no religious affiliation), and Play-Doh – the simple joys of life that can turn around a child’s day.
SAFEHOUSE PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE FOR NONVIOLENCE
Escaping an abusive relationship and starting over is possible with support. This domestic abuse shelter has needs you can meet. There is a year-round list on their website seeking supplies for both shelter and residents. Donations help with a begin a fresh start.
Safehouse Progressive Alliance also holds a Gift Card Drive. Volunteers are also welcomed to cook a holiday meal for the shelter.
*BONUS CHARITY – YOUR LOCAL YMCA
Dive into a swimming pool. Take a class. Let the kids play. The Y counts on community for
the supplies to help youth; specific supplies, at that. Books and new art supplies for preschoolers at YMCA Inspire Preschool in Longmont; board games and new art supplies for K-6th graders in After School Programs; new crayons; new or gently used toys and dress up clothing for Child Watch programs at Y in Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont.
The list of nonprofits that need donations goes on…Thank you in advance for your holiday generosity. Tell them Yellow Scene sent you.
• A Woman’s Work
• Boulder Valley Women’s Health
• Intercambio Uniting Communities
• Boulder Housing Partners
• National MS Society
• Eco-Cycle Inc.
• Realities for Children Boulder
• “I Have A Dream” Foundation
of Boulder County
• Zonta Foothills Foundation
• Out Boulder County
• American Cancer Society –
Relay For Life
• Bridge House
• Bonfils Blood Center
• Social Venture Partners Boulder
• Attention Homes
• Sister Carmen Community
• Agile International