Meridian’s nonprofit organizations carry a strong history of helping those in need. Those needs can vary from something as critical as a place to sleep and food to eat, to the desire to laugh at perfect comedic timing by a local actor.
Many nonprofits shut down or were severely hampered by the essential lockdown period for the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. For some, this will mean a leaner year. For others, their legacies may come to a close.
But Meridian’s residents have shown time and again their support for the community and it is boundless. Meridian has multiple nonprofits across all sectors, but here’s a few you might consider supporting as the Treasure Valley takes its next step into an uncertain future.
Treasure Valley Children's Theater
440 W. Pennwood Street, Suite 100
Treasure Valley Children's Theater (TVCT) offers year-round education for youth ages 6-18, a professional adult acting company (presenting performances through schools, libraries, and community spaces), and a leadership-through-performing arts program (which engages youth ages 8-18 in the process of preparing a quality performance for the community).
Founder and Executive Director Autumn Kersey said, "Our company is committed to using the transformative power of the performing arts to help young people identify their own unique talents, to harness the core values of commitment, courage, respect, enthusiasm, and excellence, to make their community and the world a better place. We are focused on changing the world one theater kid at a time."
During the lockdown, TVCT moved more than 20 programs to an online platform. It is still exploring new options for helping kids.
Meridian Food Bank
133 W. Broadway Avenue
Meridian Food Bank, an all-volunteer organization, aims to provide nourishing food to people in need and refer them to resources for needs beyond food. Supported by local churches, civic organizations, businesses, and individuals, the Food Bank faced a variety of challenges as the virus impacted the community. This included fewer older volunteers, limited food supplies and the need to change to a drive-through service to protect both volunteers and clients. You can support the Food Bank through volunteering or donations of non-perishable food items, fresh fruits and vegetables, personal care items and money.
Meridian Symphony Orchestra
P.O. Box 1016
The Meridian Symphony Orchestra (MSO) contributes regularly to the community through concerts, a Young Artists Competition and other outreach.
“This past season was a special one for us – we celebrated our 30th anniversary,” said David Stolhand, president of the Meridian Symphony and a violinist with the group. “It’s truly rewarding to look back at how the Symphony has grown and matured over the years. Our 70 musicians are volunteers who play at a very high level while performing for the love of it. We're excited about what lies ahead for us as we plan another great concert season and lay plans for new ways to support the performing arts in Meridian. Musicians create that feeling that we all get when listening to live music and this will help us heal and move forward.”
Idaho Youth Ranch
The Idaho Youth Ranch’s (IYR) mission is to “unite for Idaho’s youth by providing accessible programs and services that nurture hope, healing, and resilience.” The nonprofit has seen this through by serving youth at its runaway and homeless crisis center, Hays House; providing individual and family therapy through centers in the Treasure Valley and northern Idaho; continuing its equine therapy program and providing guidance for parents and families grappling with physical and mental health.
“We are anticipating the need for our therapeutic services to grow as we go through and beyond this difficult period in our world,” IYR CEO Scott Curtis said in a release.
IYR’s thrift stores were closed during the lockdown, and couldn’t accept donations. If you sorted out items that could use a new home, check the IYR website for guidelines on what they can accept and drop off locations.
Meridian Library Foundation
1326 W. Cherry Lane
Phone 208.888.4451 x1003
With Meridian’s rapid growth, more people than ever are using the library. While all branches were shut during the lockdown, the library continued to help the community through its digital resources (like e-books and job resources). Helping the library is the Meridian Library Foundation, which raises funds to support the capital needs of the Meridian Library District. In doing so, it supports the library's strategic goal to “offer physical spaces that are welcoming, set the tone for excellence, and meet the diverse needs of Meridian.” You can support the Foundation and the District by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards to the library, shopping using Amazon Smile, sponsoring a book, or making a donation.
Boys and Girls Club of Ada County
Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County hit the frontlines as coronavirus hit the Treasure Valley. Their services included opening up grab-and-go meal sites available to any child, not just Club members. Collaborating with the Boise School District, the Clubs also opened pop-up sites in addition to their five locations to provide emergency childcare relief for healthcare workers, first responders, and essential personnel for a nominal fee. In a release, the Club said it was “doing whatever it takes to make sure that now, more than ever, we are here for the kids who need us the most. Clubs will keep kids safe, enriched with academic activities and keep them nourished with healthy breakfast and lunches.” To keep their programs up and running, the Clubs can always use monetary donations.
How can you help out local businesses?
Buy a membership. For theaters, museums, parks, zoos, and performing arts venues, purchasing an annual membership or season ticket can help provide them with needed funds. Plus, you’ll have things to look forward to and do. Keep an eye on exhibition schedules and show dates.
Buy local. Whether this means purchasing a gift card or swinging by your local restaurant for some takeout, supporting local shops and restaurants will be critical to keeping Meridian going.
Donate your goods. Depending on how you spent your lockdown, you might have perfectly clean closets and sorted donations ready to make someone else’s home, garage or wardrobe shine. Check with local donation centers for guidelines on what you can and cannot donate.
Spread the word. If you’ve ever enjoyed a product, shop, or service, now’s the time to write up that review you’ve been procrastinating on. Let others know what you enjoyed to boost the signal for small businesses and individual service providers.
Fulfill a wish list. Many nonprofits keep a rolling list of needed donations. Check out this list and see what you can help with. Start with local shops to help make a difference for even more people!