(United Way’s Executive Director Ken Wilhelm says offering kindness is one way to help the community | Photo courtesy of Grandma’s House of Central Oregon)
While the most obvious means of supporting our local nonprofit agencies is financial donations, there are other ways to help, too. Many of the agencies are in need of volunteers, services and supplies.
“Of course, financial donations are amazing and enable us to fill the gaps of our lost funding, but we understand that not everyone is able to make a donation at this time,” says Bridget Albert, community outreach coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “BBBSCO relies on the support of our community and businesses for donations, mentors and allies. We are in great need of Big Brothers throughout Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties. These mentors would spend six to 12 hours a month with their Little Brothers doing all of the fun activities and hobbies they enjoy.” She adds, “It doesn’t take much to make a big impact on a child. A mentor has the ability to ignite, empower and defend the potential that exists in every child.”
At the LOFT, Program Manager Maggie Wells says they also need volunteers who can spend time with kids. “We desperately need volunteer tutoring for our youth in online school.”
For the programs supported by J Bar J, Marketing Creative Director Eva Gill says tangible items such as gift cards for groceries, gasoline and clothing are needed.
Younity’s Co-founder and President Arlene Gibson agrees that in addition to funding, partnering is how people can help. “We are always looking for volunteers with expertise in marketing, designers, writers, social media experts, webmasters, lawyers, online event planners and virtual fundraisers; anyone who can help us get the word out. These are in-kind contributions, but sometimes they are equally as important as monetary donations.” As a completely volunteer organization with no paid staff, Gibson says any volunteer skill is welcome.
Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Inn, says that for those who want to help the residents, the organization’s Facebook page, newsletter and website (bethleheminn.org) list some specific items needed to help keep the inn running. “Look after your friends, neighbors and family members who might be in jeopardy of losing their housing, and provide support or resources to help them know that we as a community are here for each other,” she says.
When asked what people can do to help, United Way’s Executive Director Ken Wilhelm offers this: “Remember to be kind. That is a big part of building a more resilient community.”