Last week we released the tips and tricks for ideas 5 and 6 (of 10) on our Holiday Giving and Volunteer Guide. To be the first to know about the rest of the list, please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter or view past recaps! Now without further ado, here is your Week 3 recap!
Did you know that more than 150,000 people in our ten-county region are food insecure, and that many lean on local food pantries to help fill the meal gap? Traditionally, November through December is the busiest time of the year for organizations helping families to provide a decent meal for the holidays, or cut back on their grocery bill in order to help pay that a pricey, winter electric bill.
Many community-based organizations lack the capacity or resources to meet this growing need. Food pantries and other charitable organizations also often run short on food that is age appropriate (e.g., low sugar or sodium for seniors), culturally appropriate, and/or lack fresh fruits and vegetables. Assisting these organizations is a great way to give back this holiday season.
How you can help
Organizing a food drive is a great way to get involved (Bonus: it’s also a kid-friendly volunteer opportunity!) Before you begin, consider all of your options: food pantry, homeless shelter, faith-based organization, senior citizen center, and a local school. Many colleges also have campus food pantries to support students that might not know where their next meals is coming from. Each of these have different needs, so be sure to call in advance, and ask about the best ways to help (they may already have a “needs” list). You can find a food bank near you, thanks to Feeding America’s handy widget!
FCP Tip: To make it fun for kids, consider making a reverse advent calendar and placing one food item in a box each night until Christmas Eve.
- Make a list of the items you will be collecting (call in advance to find out what is needed)
- Share it with your friends and family
- Make sure your donation “ask” has a deadline attached to it
- Arrange pick-up with donors (drop off TO you, or pick up FROM you)
Deliver the goods
Once you have collected your donations, make arrangements with the organization to swing by at a time that is best for them. Remember, they may have specific times for donation drop-off due to staffing and volunteer schedules.
Other ways to help…
If holding a food drive isn’t going to fit into your schedule, consider:
- Making a financial contribution is always a great way to assist your favorite food-related charity during the holiday season. Regardless of the donation type, you can feel good knowing you’re giving someone a little extra boost this holiday season.
- Volunteer your time at a local food pantry or food bank (great for families with kids 8+!). Your local pantries may need help during a busy time of year – opportunities range from stocking and sorting, delivering, and administrative tasks. Give them a call to find out what they need! Foodlink, our regional food hub is also in need of volunteers to help during all shifts. For more information on volunteering there, please visit their volunteer website.
With all the shopping we do this holiday season, it’s nice to see gift-shopping meet charitable giving! Shop locally (don’t forget about Small Business Saturday this weekend!) to get some great, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list and support some great organizations in our city while you do! Whether it’s a portion of sales being donated to a nonprofit in need or purchasing goods that benefit something greater, here are some local ways to shop for a cause (no buyer’s remorse here):
Greater Things, a local husband and wife duo, have created an online marketplace which showcases goods that benefit something greater. Some empower women to achieve financial self-sufficiency, others help put an end to sex trafficking, and some provide greater access to education for girls in developing countries –truly every purchase has a purpose. Now through the holiday season, you can shop the Greater Things pop-up shop on Saturdays and Sundays at Emerson & Oliver on Elton Street. You can also shop their online marketplace anytime by visiting shopgreaterthings.com.
Shop and save, in more ways than one, on Small Business Saturday (November 25) at Shop Peppermint, located at the Culver Road Armory. Make a donation of $5-$10 to Verona Street Animal Society while you shop, and you’ll receive 10-20% off of your entire purchase. Shop Peppermint is my go-to for not only women’s clothing and accessories, but home goods, greeting cards, and Roc-pride gifts.
Having trouble finding just the right gift? Check out One World Goods in Pittsford Plaza, a not-for-profit marketplace that sells one-of-a-kind fair trade items, all of which are produced in developing countries. In addition, they host Community Shopping Events, where 20% of sales are donated to a local organization while simultaneously supporting artisans around the globe.
Enjoy a one-stop shop at the Shop Till You Drop Holiday Trunk Show experience on Thursday, November 30, where a portion of sales from a variety of vendors will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester, empowering those with Down Syndrome and their families to reach their highest potential.
Shop, support, and shine with Alex and Ani at their Charmed by Charity events this holiday season, where 15% of your purchase will be donated to select nonprofit partners. With locations at the Culver Road Armory in Rochester and across from Eastview Mall in Victor, accessory enthusiasts have double the Charmed by Charity events to choose from. Some upcoming Alex and Ani charitable partners include: Gilda’s Club of Rochester, National MS Society Upstate NY Chapter, and Verona Street Animal Society.
Peruse over 90 vendors at the YMCA Crafts for a Cause event on Saturday, December 2, at the Eastside YMCA in Penfield . This event raises funds to provide a “Y” experience to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford services such as summer camp, swimming lessons, preschool programs, and membership.
Visit Panache Vintage & Finer Consignments in Twelve Corners on Tuesday, December 5, for their Jingle Mingle. Visitors can pick up their copy of A Christmas Mouse In a Christmas House— a holiday story to share with the little ones in your life, with 100% of proceeds from book purchases benefiting hurricane victims in Florida.