Organizations that serve vulnerable neighbors, help sustain our planet and offer refuge and rehabilitation to animals who need your help. The “giving season” is a wonderful opportunity to match your time, treasure, talent and passion with a local nonprofit.
Here are four Central Oregon entities to support for a season, or all year-round.
La Pine Christmas Basket Association
Business owners and community members help local families enjoy holiday meals when times are tough. The La Pine Christmas Basket Association is a nonprofit directing 100% of all donations to provide turkeys, canned cranberries, corn, green beans, pies, yams, stuffing, milk, potatoes, margarine and rolls to families in the La Pine and Gilchrist areas. When available, toiletry items are also provided. Toys for Tots partners with this organization to provide gifts for children.
In 2021 the organization provided holidays meals to 235 families (799 individuals).
Need assistance? Applicants sign up at the La Pine Senior Center or online at facebook.com/food baskets from November 1 - 28.
Want to help?
Time: Volunteer on distribution day December 10 at the La Pine Senior Center.
Talent: Make distribution day festive with your holiday decorating skills!
Treasure: Donate food and other items at locations in La Pine November through early December – holiday fare especially - or provide funding for food purchases.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/foodbaskets
Cascade Youth and Family Center Street Outreach
Cascade Youth and Family Center is one of the programs of J Bar J Youth Services. They provide shelter and programs for runaway and homeless youth and children. The Street Outreach Team, led by Hasani Davenport, is literally meeting these youth where they are.
Currently a staff of two is handling over 200 interactions with youth 18-24 years of age each month. These are young people who have never had a positive role model to guide them. They are those who have been shunned by family for coming out as LGBTQIA+. They are second generation homeless. But foremost they are just kids trying to get by. Kids who make mistakes and kids who try really hard and still fall down.
“My kids,” Davenport says, “I see them every day. I know where they are and where they move to. We work on goals.” Yet without enough housing, both in terms of low and high barrier shelter space and more permanent solutions like low-income apartments, the pattern just repeats. So, Davenport’s team does their best to keep youth warm, dry, fed, and in touch with help.
Want to help?
Time: Advocate for more shelter space. Take time to learn about generational houselessness and ACEs (adverse childhood experiences).
Talent: Apply to be a host home or a Big Brother or Big Sister.
Treasure: Donate items or funds to J Bar J for their wrap-around services.
3 Sisters Equine Refuge
The all-volunteer team at 3 Sisters Equine Refuge in Redmond believes that every equine deserves a permanent and loving forever home. They offer temporary refuge to horses at-risk of slaughter, abuse, and neglect while looking to match each horse with a guardian (they do not believe in ‘ownership’ of an animal) for life.
The process of recovering from trauma can take over a year.
Most challenging for funding are what 3 Sisters terms “Safe Haven” horses. For their well-being, these horses cannot handle changes in habitat or guardianship any longer. They need a permanent space and familiar faces to care for them. Usually, 3 Sisters houses 8-11 of these horses on site while they also bring in rescues that will be adopted out. The average monthly cost to care for a Safe Haven horse is $350.
Want to help?
Time: Assist with feeding and cleaning stalls.
Talent: Spend time with the horses. Or, if you have the skills, help as a trainer.
Treasure: Donate funds for hay and healthcare. Sponsor a Safe Haven horse.
The Environmental Center
Since 1990, the Environmental Center in Bend has been working to embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon. It’s a simple mission that has led to a wide range of programs.
The center’s physical space is a testament to sustainability, surrounded by a learning garden. Plans are in place for a capital campaign to further update the building and expand.
Main areas of focus are:
· ReThink Waste, ideas to limit consumption, reuse, repurpose, and recycle.
· The Garden Program, providing experiential learning for 4th and 5th graders and supporting gardens on school grounds.
· The Green Leader Coalition, a youth-led climate action initiative.
· Advocacy, providing information on the effect of transportation, building, and energy choices on the environment so that community members are informed voters and active participants in change.
Want to help?
Time: Learn about local issues that affect our environment. Write to your elected officials.
Talent: Re-Think Waste for the holidays – how creative can you be with gift-giving and decorating to minimize waste?
Treasure: Donate to the year-end fundraising campaign.