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Monday, December 17, 2012

Preview: The Other Kind of Giving

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM

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After a year in which Americans doled out millions to hopeful political candidates and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, the year-end season of giving could look bleak. However, several polls indicate that nearly half of Americans plan to give charitably this year.

“I think lots of times people want to help but they don’t know where or who or how,” said Marvel Jensen of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in Boise. Jensen said the program handed out more than 4,000 tags this year, with at least 50 area businesses participating in toy collection for needy families.

Whether you want to give charitably in addition to or in substitution of gifts this year, here are a few ways you can give in the season of giving.

Women’s and Children’s Alliance: Pull a tag from the holiday tree in Boise’s Grove Plaza to help the Women’s and Children’s Alliance all year long. Return the tags with new, unwrapped gifts and/or financial contributions to any Zion’s Bank location before Friday, Dec. 21. Additionally, the center needs women’s and children’s robes and slippers throughout the year; drop those off at WCA (corner of Washington and Eighth streets) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to WCA communications manager Colleen Steinman, the center will also find sponsors for 108 families who need help this holiday season. By press time, it’s unlikely the center will still need sponsors for this year, so keep it on your list for charitable giving next year.

Charity Gift Cards: You give the money in someone’s name and the recipient of the gift gets to choose the charity that will receive your donation. Use caution when determining where to buy charity gift cards. A few websites include charitynavigator.org, tisbest.org, justgive.org and networkforgood.org. In Boise, visit boiserm.org to make a donation in someone’s name to the Boise Rescue Mission. The mission will send a card to the recipient announcing your donation.

Operation Warmheart: This year-round program, which assists Air Force airmen and their families, has two opportunities during the holiday season. If you have access to the Base Exchange in Mountain Home, you can pull a tag from the angel tree before Wednesday, Dec. 19. If not, the organization will donate 350 boxes to needy military families on Thursday, Dec. 20. Financial donations are accepted by checks mailed to P.O. Box 4188, Mountain Home AFB 83648. For more information call 208-828-4275.

Boise Rescue Mission: Come the holiday season, Boise Rescue Mission has all the volunteers it can handle, despite the fact that it has more than 1,000 slots to fill between Oct. 1 and the end of the year. If you haven’t already registered to volunteer over the holidays, you’re not likely to find an opening. Instead, consider volunteering well after the holidays are over. It’s also possible to gift a donation to the mission in someone else’s name. The mission will even send your gift recipient a card to announce the donation. Visit boiserm.org for information on volunteering and donations.

Salvation Army Angel Tree Program: Grab a tag from one of the Salvation Army’s Angel Trees at either the Downtown or West YMCA and return the tag with gifts before Wednesday, Dec. 19, to either the YMCA or any Salvation Army location. For more information, contact Marvel Jensen at 208-794-1745.

Social Good Network: If you’re going to shop online, you may as well support a cause you care about while you’re at it. Based in Boise, the Social Good Network allows you to make purchases everywhere from Amazon to Dean & Delcua. You pay the same as you would pay buying directly from the retailer but your purchase generates a donation, which you can direct toward a cause of your choice.

Boise Weekly will take a deeper look at the mine field of holiday finances and the retail world in the Wednesday, Dec. 19, issue.

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