I’m pleased (and fortunate) to be contributing to today’s Colorado Gives Day!
Unfortunately, like so many of us, I tend to think about giving to charities only around the holidays. One of my goals is to be more conscious year-round, but for right now the Colorado Gives Day is a perfectly timed reminder to donate to groups in need of support.
Aside from the convenience – the website makes it very easy to donate – I love the idea of Giving Where You Live. I was able to find and support organizations in my community, some of which I knew about already, others that I found by looking through the options on the site. My approach is to set an amount that I can afford ahead of time, then divide it up among as many charities as possible.
Last year I knew I wanted to donate to Every Creature Counts (we’ve provided forever homes to two of their wonderful feline rescues) and the Sister Carmen Community & Family Resource Center. Because of the Colorado Gives Day, I discovered The Blue Bench:
Our hope is to one day live in a world where sexual assault no longer exists; where there are no more victims, friends and families suffering in its wake. This is our hope. This is what inspires our efforts. And until that day comes, our work is not complete.
Inspired by the courage of one another – as survivors, activists, advocates and community leaders, The Blue Bench has helped hundreds of thousands of Denver-area women and men find the courage to move from victim to survivor.
At The Blue Bench (formerly RAAP), our mission is to eliminate sexual assault and diminish the impact it has on individuals, their loved ones and our community through comprehensive issue advocacy, prevention and care.
1 in 7 Coloradans worry where their next meal will come from. These are people you meet every day- those with low wage jobs, children, seniors on fixed incomes, those with health issues. Surprisingly, the homeless represent only 10% of our food recipients. Nearly half of the food we distribute feeds children.
Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state of Colorado. Founded in 1978, FBR was known as the Colorado Food Clearing House. Operating from a 900-square-foot schoolroom in Northwest Denver, the fledgling organization collected bread from a nearby Safeway store, our first food donor, and distributed it to Little Sisters of the Poor, our first partner agency.
Today, FBR has extended its reach across Northern Colorado, providing food and supplies to more than 800 hunger-relief programs. Since 1978, FBR has provided nearly 571 million pounds of food to our member agencies, which translates to nearly 476 million meals for people in need. Last year, we distributed 53.2 million pounds of food, enough to provide more than 121,000 meals each day to children, seniors and families in need. FBR is a member of Feeding America.
– See more at: http://www.foodbankrockies.org/about-us/about-the-food-bank
This year, I’ve been reminded that there are many, many children in Boulder county (not to mention the rest of Colorado, and the U.S. as a whole) without enough food. Boulder county is one of the most affluent counties in the state and there is no excuse for there to be underfed children and seniors in this area. The Community Food Share for Boulder and Broomfield counties attempts to mitigate that:
Feeding Families Program
You truly understand the gravity of what it means to be food insecure when you cannot afford to feed your children.
Community Food Share focuses our largest direct service program, Feeding Families, specifically on families with children in the School Free Lunch program (i.e. families living in poverty). In Boulder and Broomfield counties there are approximately 14,000 children enrolled in the School Free Lunch program. The maximum income level for this program is 130% of the federal poverty line, which is approximately $30,000 annually for a family of four.
Each family enrolled in the Feeding Families program can shop for one cart-full of groceries weekly. It makes a huge difference in the families’ lives.
There are so many charities registered with the Community First Foundation (Colorado Gives Day is one of their programs) that you’re sure to find a cause that resonates with you. Want to support animal rescue groups? There’s the Animal Rescue of the Rockies, Big Dogs Huge Paws, Colorado Wildlife Federation, PetAid Colorado, and the Children’s Nature Center. Concerned for victims/survivors of childhood abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse at any age? Consider the Child Advocacy Center, ChildSafe, S.A.R.A. Inc., Street’s Hope, or the Gateway Battered Women’s Services.* There are pages of food banks, youth programs, programs for at-risk populations, and organizations dedicated to the environment.
What I learned in preparing this post is that while the Colorado Gives Day is only once a year, donations can be made year-round at the coloradogives.org website. And, you can set up either a one-time donation or a recurring donation. (p.s. You don’t have to be in Colorado to participate! But if you’re interested in the Giving Where You Live idea, you might want to look into similar options in your area.) I also learned recently that food banks hit a low point in the late winter and early spring. Something to keep in mind when planning a budget for the new year!
*Note: The charities listed in this paragraph are mentioned as examples of the variety of groups & causes available for donation through the Community First Foundation. I have not researched them or their specific missions. However, CFF vets each organization before allowing them to participate.