The approaching holiday season is a reminder of the many individuals and families who are less fortunate than ourselves. Giving back—through monetary donations or volunteering—offers a way to honor the season and perhaps even put us on a path toward year-round generosity.
One of the easiest ways to donate money is through Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 10. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the goal of this statewide initiative, sponsored by the Community First Foundation and FirstBank, is to increase philanthropy through online giving. Every donation on Dec. 10 is boosted by a $1.5 million incentive fund, which is distributed to Colorado charities proportionate to the donations they receive. Last year on Colorado Gives Day, donors raised more than $35 million to benefit 2,481 non-profit groups. Visit ColoradoGives.org and search by type or location. You can also schedule future donation dates.
50% Tax Credit for Childcare Organization Donations
Organizations that are certified to provide childcare offer a 50% tax credit. (For example, if you donate $100 to a qualifying childcare organization, you will receive a $50 tax credit. Request the childcare tax credit form when making the donation on the Colorado Gives website.)
Local Non-profits Needing Volunteers
Following are descriptions of organizations near NE Denver and the kind of volunteer help they need—most are listed on the ColoradoGives website. For additional ideas about places to volunteer, consult ProjectHelping.org or ImpactLocally.org—both host volunteering events and have online calendars for signing up.
Aurora Warms the Night provides shelter, meals and advocacy for those experiencing homelessness. Year-round services include providing meals, warm clothing, hygiene items and referrals to partner agencies. Families can volunteer by assembling care kits or making & serving hot meals. Visit their website for signup information at AuroraWarmsTheNight.org.
The Urban Farm at Stapleton—The tag-line for this Stapleton-based organization is “cultivating kids, crops, critters and community.” The farm depends on volunteers to keep animal pens clean, grass mowed, fences mended and much more. Volunteers must be ages 8 and older and attend a one-hour orientation session. The next orientation is Dec 21 at 9a. For more info, consult the website at TheUrbanFarm.org.
Sand Creek Regional Greenway preserves and promotes natural and recreational resources along a 14-mile public trail in northeast Denver. The organization has monthly cleanups and other opportunities for regular trail maintenance. On December 15 from 9-11am the organization is asking volunteers to participate in a winter bird count. This is a great citizen-science opportunity; no experience is necessary. For more information visit SandCreekGreenway.org.
The Crossing is part of the Denver Rescue Mission and provides transitional housing and opportunities to help people to attain self-sufficiency. Families can volunteer to serve meals 365 days a year, 3 times a day. A signup list opens 3 months in advance. Spots during the holiday season fill up quickly. Visit www.denverrescuemission.org to sign up.
Casa de Paz is located just a few miles away from the Aurora immigrant detention center. It provides housing, meals and emotional support to families separated by immigrant detention. Volunteers are needed to bring a meal to feed 4-6 people or clean the facility. Contact Executive Director Sara Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gathering Place is a daytime drop-in center for women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness. The best way to help is to organize a donation drive for food or toiletry items. Please consult their website for specific items of need. TGPDenver.org/donate/donate-new-and-used-items.html or contact Kelly Tobin at email@example.com.
Food Bank of the Rockies serves people who struggle to meet their basic food needs (almost half are children). Volunteers are needed to work at two warehouse sites. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and accompanied by an adult if they are under 16. Sign up on their website FoodBankRockies.org.
Anchor Center for Blind Children provides education and support services for visually impaired children from birth to 5 years of age. There are numerous ways for adults to volunteer at the school year-round. Some special opportunities for family volunteering include holiday gift wrapping on Dec. 10 & 11, year-end clerical help on Jan. 6 and 9 and helping to set-up, serve and clean up at a “Visions of Love” event on Feb. 6 & 7. For more information, contact Sarah Rice firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denver Children’s Home serves children who have survived trauma, neglect and abuse. In December, you can “adopt a family” and provide gifts for families of children in the home’s care or “adopt a classroom” to provide much-needed supplies. Year-round, volunteers (21 years and older) are needed to make meals or play games with children. For more information consult DenverChildrensHome.org.
Project Worthmore fosters community and self-sufficiency for Denver-area refugees. It needs volunteers to set-up, serve food and hand out toys at its holiday party on December 7th. To sign up, contact email@example.com. For a longer-term opportunity, Project Worthmore is eeking families to partner with refugee families to share meals or outings (Must commit to at least 3 months). When the weather turns warmer, volunteers are also needed to work at the Delaney community farm which helps connect refugees with small-scale, sustainable agriculture.