Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Opportunities for Giving in the Heights #GivingTuesday

Today is what has become known as #GivingTuesday in the social media world. From GivingTuesday.org
What is #GivingTuesday?We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
There are so many opportunities to give in the Heights, both for #GivingTuesday, and all through the Holidays. Actually, the organizations that help our community could use help all year round. In the spirit of the season and the day, though, here are some local, greater Heights area organizations that would appreciate your support:

AIDS Housing Coalition Houston

Located in the Heights, AHCH has been assisting those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS for over 20 years. Gifts donated to this organization will be used to house, feed and otherwise educate people living with the HIV virus and AIDS progression. AHCH-inc. has also served guests Cancer and other immune system chronic diseases.

They need donations of winter clothing, volunteer hours, and many other resources. Please visit this How You Can Help Page link to donate.

Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry

This small pantry, opened in 2009, is 100% volunteer based. It was started by a consortium of Heights Faith communities to serve families in our local zip codes (77007, 77008, 77009, and 77022).  With so many families suffering from food insecurity in a growing neighborhood, the help of the community is so necessary so the HIMFP can serve the needs of our neighbors.

Donating is so easy! You can Feed Frank at the HIM building, 3525 Beauchamp, 24/7. Frank would love to be filled with non-perishable foods and diapers (larger than newborn size). This time of year, Frank also graciously welcomes new and lightly used toys for client parents to gift their kids at Christmas. You can also give funds via their PayPal link.

Founded in 1904, Wesley Community Center has helped generations of Houstonian's in the Near North Side community and beyond. Offering everything from early childhood education to care for needy seniors to job training, this community service agency is truly full service. Their missions statement reads: Helping people help themselves and each other. And they do! Their amazing Financial Opportunity Center helps people struggling to get out of poverty by teaching them how to change their spending behavior and make long term financial goals. Read more about the FOC here.

Wesley can use help with everything from tending their gardens (which provide fresh produce for needy families) to office help. Like most non-profits, though, they can also use financial and in-kind support. They accept non perishables for their food pantry, have an on-going wish list for materials,  and also gladly take financial donations via their giving page link.

Support our local schools

Texas is 46th in the nation for per capita spending on public schools. Our schools, especially those with high rates of poverty, depend on the community to help them provide a proper education for their students. When kids can learn and thrive, we all benefit! Here are several projects to help build stronger schools and raise smarter kids in our community:

Jefferson Elementary

Jefferson Elementary is a high poverty school in 77009, just across 45 from the Heights. They currently have four projects on DonorsChoose.org including a couple of basic necessities lists for things like paper, dry erase markers, and folders.
This link will take you to all of their projects: 

Browning Elementary

Browning is a high poverty school, with 65% of students qualifying for free lunch. They are a Title 1 school in Monte Beach with a great need for access to arts and technology. They only have one small project- to buy a new iPod. It has received $0 so far and only has a couple weeks left until the project expires. This should be such an easy wish for our community to grant!
Help buy a new iPod and bring joy to the little ones at this school here: http://www.donorschoose.org/project/please-help-replace-our-old-orange-ipod/1388249/#materialsList 

Love Elementary

Many of you probably remember when HISD wanted to shut down Love a few years ago. The parents and community fought back, and now they continue to fight for the best education for their students. Love needs a lot of basics and their amazon.com wish list gives you the opportunity to help by sending everything from tempera paint to uniform pants for students in need.

Field Elementary

Field, perhaps the cutest school in all of the greater Heights, is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. The Friends of Field group has not only donated time, talent, and money to making the school better; they have actually enrolled their kids there! Still, this small group of parents wants to help the whole school community. Their big goal for this year is to stock the library with all the great books elementary schools need to fuel the learning and imaginations of their students. This project, if completed, would add 3000 books to the schools library.
Help buy books by simply buying off their Amazon wish list and they'll be sent directly to the school: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1D67XYE243S98/ref=cm_sw_su_w

Roosevelt Elementary

Roosevelt, in Oak Forest area, is another Title 1, high needs school. This school caters to many kids whose first language is Spanish. They have projects that include listening stations, so students can hear books read to them in English to increase fluency, and just generally providing books for the student population.

They have seven projects on DonorsChoose.org. You can select one to help here: http://www.donorschoose.org/school/roosevelt-elementary-school/16576/?active=true

I know there are ample other opportunities to give in the greater Heights, so please do share info and links in the comments if you have other organizations that also need our support!