#GivingTuesday + Volunteering : GOTG Give Back

The air is cold, Thanksgiving has passed us by, and we are all turning our eyes on the marathon that is December. Holiday parties, shopping, food, lights. All of the things that make this season lovely. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone.

But aptly, #GivingTuesday lands on December 1st and gives us the chance to pause at the beginning of a very busy month and consider ways in which we can give back to our community and to those who really need it.  So the ladies of GotG have put together a list of our favorite causes, charities and events that you can support during this festive season.

AMY  – I’ve been involved with the Greenhouse after school program in South Natomas for years. They’re a community enrichment center in a neighborhood that offer after-school tutoring, mentoring, spiritual development, and leadership development for under-resourced youth.  What I love about the Greenhouse is they are a dignity-based program – the emphasis is on lifting up rather than handing out. They’re extremely progressive, efficient and effective. I can’t speak of them highly enough. And they need your help!

greenhouse

CHELSEA – How about adding a “giving” aspect to your holiday parties?  We are hosting a little holiday get together  and asking party-goers to help brighten someone else’s year by throwing in a couple bucks to be donated to a local charity.  After the party, guests will receive a thank you note with the total amount that we are able to collect, so they can see what a difference their donation made. I know everyone is having fun holiday gatherings this year and it’s really important to remember that there are others out there who may not be so fortunate.  And every little bit helps. Especially in this economy.

CHRISTIE Looking for a way to give today?  SPCA is holding their December Yappy Hour tonight at Oak Park Brewery (3514 Broadway) from 6pm-8pm.  The holidays are hard for shelter animals and since you’re already probably ready for a beer why not enjoy one where 10% of the beer sales go directly to SPCA?  Still need an extra nudge?  There is a human and pup ugly sweater contest and if you bring a cat or dog toy you get 5 free raffle tickets.  PS…Santa says shelter dogs love kongs.  Can’t make it to the event?  You can always donate at the shelter at 6201 Florin Perkins Rd or set Sacramento SPCA as your AmazonSmile charity.   Our four legged friends will thank you.

JAMEE – I have to be honest, I don’t have a lot of extra time this year to volunteer my time. With family functions, holiday parties, Mom duties, working full time and well, life….I have to donate in other ways. I donate clothes, bedding, old jackets and a million baby items to the Sacramento Food Bank and WEAVE as well as donating money to the Salvation Army kettles wherever I see them. I also find myself buying coffee and sharing a quick conversation with those living on the streets. It sounds small but I believe it’s meaningful. I may not have done as much as I would like this year, I know that I have done a lot in the past and plan on doing a lot more once my daughter is old enough to understand the importance of giving back not only during the Holidays but every day.

KELLIE – After being really sad to see that the Sacramento Adopt-a-Family program is no more due to lack of funding, I started trying to research where else I could volunteer and donate back in 2013.  I came across the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento Holiday Angels Drive. You can volunteer to man one of the booths at one of three locations or you can pick out a special gift or gifts for a child or children on their wish lists.  Many of these kids are coming from abuse and neglect and this is one way to make their holiday really special. Though our daughter is still a little too young to “get it” this year, I am looking forward to making this giving aspect a part of our holiday traditions every year. Also, every year Loaves & Fishes does a holiday stocking drive. These are items that the homeless can really use and benefit from. This will be our 4th year doing these stockings and it’s one of my favorite traditions.

loaves

KELLY I went through the training process for Sacramento County Animal Care & Regulation to become a dog walker a while back. Even though my normal work schedule doesn’t usually accommodate volunteering hours, it’s really fun to use paid holidays to help out while the shelter is closed to the public. Going in on Thanksgiving or Christmas day is a great way to spend your morning giving and receiving some puppy love. If you’re short on time but have some money to give, our local Sacramento pit bull rescue (Chako) is saving up their donations to buy property for a pit bull sanctuary!

KRISTEN – This year I am helping collect toys for Toys for Tots through the Salvation Army and boy do they need toys! Their warehouse started the season almost completely empty with no surplus from last year to draw on. They are the main hub for organizations who distribute toys in the Sacramento area to children. These are kids who will get nothing under the tree without their help. Anything helps so if you see a soldier out in the community and would like to donate it would be much appreciated. Christmas is for the kids after all so let’s make it a good one for them!

LAINE Obviously Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.  There is nothing that brings me more joy than being a part of the community coming together to change someone’s life.  One Habitat homeowner, a midtown cab driver whose family of four was living in a one-bedroom apartment, told me after moving into his Habitat home that his home was not his dream come true, because he could never have dreamed that big.  This #GivingTuesday , I’ll definitely be showing Habitat some love to help make some more of those  dreams come true.  I also plan on finally signing up as a monthly giver to my high school alma mater, Christian Brothers High School.  (GO FALCONS!)

LAURA – I’m a proud board member of Food Literacy Center – a local nonprofit dedicated to getting children to eat (and enjoy) their fruits/veggies. They teach low-income elementary children cooking and nutrition to improve their health, community and environment. 40% of Sacramento kids struggle with obesity, and only 25% of kids eat enough fruits/veggies – Food Literacy Center (correctly) believes our community can do better. Their #GivingTuesday goal is $5,000 – the cost to bring one class of elementary students. It’s critical that we reach younger generations – right from the start – to set them on a path for a lifetime of health and wellness. Donate here!

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LISA What better way to give back to the arts community than to take in a show? Sac Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker runs Saturday Dec 12 through Saturday Dec 22nd. Or try a comical twist on the holiday tradition by checking out the Nutty Nutcracker on Dec 11. Both are fun, family friendly ways to give back to the Ballet this holiday season!

nutty

MARY If you have a passion for healthy food, look into donating some of your time educating Sacramento-area children about the importance of eating all of the delicious fruits and veggies our city has to offer!  Take some time out of your schedule to apply to become a volunteer at the Food Literacy Center and fill out an application today!

 

MEGHAN I’ve been volunteering for the Crocker Art Museum for the last five years and find it’s a great way to support the museum as they continue to sponsor amazing events for our community.  Did you know the museum has regular events to help children learn about and appreciate art? Volunteering helps provide the extra staff needed to make events like these successful and it’s fun too. If you want to incorporate fitness into your giving, considering being a part of the Fleet Feet Holiday Classic. It’s a 5K fun run that has developed into a toy drive for the salvation army.  This year’s event takes place on December 13th.  And of course, you are always welcome to donate a toy without the added activity too.

crocker

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