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Eugene Weekly : Feature : 12.24.2009

 

Just Give It!

Feel that holiday spirit (and save on your taxes too)

by Paula Hoemann and Suzi Steffen

Let’s face it: When you’re curled up under the covers, trying to understand why the sun arrives so damn tardily each morning, the holiday spirit can be hard to summon. But people and animals around the community need your smarts and ideas, or a bit of your time or money. We’re here to get you out of that bed and into the streets! Or, well, into the nonprofits that do the heavy lifting when things get grim.

Filbert’s siblings Soy, Walnut and Almond (all boys) and their little cousin Brazil (a girl) live at Lane County Animal Services but would love a forever home. Photo by Kelly Beal / Beal Designs

We trimmed our Giving Guide last year to focus on things that rank high on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, shelter, safety, medical care. We’ve re-expanded a little (the economy is rebounding, right?), but we do want to say again that through Oregon Cultural Trust (www.culturaltrust.org), you can give to arts organizations like theaters, museums, symphonies and other arts programs and reduce your state taxes in a rather major way. Generosity, rewarded in Oregon! Consider treating your community and yourself to year-end cheer in the midst of the gradually lengthening days.

 

food for lane county

A hungry belly gets in the way of everything — thinking, working, peace. FOOD for Lane County is a private nonprofit food bank dedicated to eliminating hunger. It runs a variety of programs including emergency food boxes, shelters, meal sites, gardens, gleaning and nutrition education. FFLC advocates for strengthening the local food economy and improving access to food. The nonprofit serves a diverse population of people living on limited incomes, including children, families, seniors and single adults, and this fall and winter have seen a combination of a dramatic increase in need and a decrease in donations. Giving to FFLC helps your neighbors and friends in need, and even a small monetary donation goes a long way at FFLC. Visit www.foodforlanecounty.org or call 343-2822.

 

white bird

For sheer volume of opportunities provided, it’s hard to beat White Bird. The institution provides support and services to low-income individuals and families and responds to more than 60,000 service requests annually. These services come in a variety of forms: mobile crisis intervention, outpatient drug treatment, low-cost dental and medical services, counseling services and a 24-hour crisis intervention center. White Bird offers classes and training in crisis intervention, counseling and drug treatment. White Bird staffers are also familiar with local service options and will refer folks they can’t help directly. This cold winter, they are particularly eager for cold weather wear, toiletry items, backpacks, boots and blankets for the homeless. To donate, to volunteer or for more information, visit www.whitebirdclinic.org or call 342-8255.

 

looking glass

Each year Looking Glass serves more than 7,000 of Lane County’s at-risk youth and families, offering a wide variety of support and resources including a counseling program, an outpatient substance abuse program for youth 20 and under, a 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter for youth 11-17, transitional and independent services for homeless youth 16-21, an alternative school and vocational training for out of school youth, academic and therapeutic services for youth with mental health issues, a short term shelter for girls, and alcohol and drug treatment programs for male juvenile offenders. Looking Glass also works to address the issues that create adversity for youth and families. Call 686-2688 or visit www.lookingglass.us for more information/donation/volunteer opportunities.

 

womenspace

Working to end domestic violence by empowering women and children and changing community standards, Womenspace offers peer counseling, support groups and training as well as shelter in a safe place for any woman who is dealing with issues of domestic and/or sexual violence. By providing presentations in local elementary, middle and high schools, staff members work to prevent sexual and domestic violence through education. Womenspace gladly accepts monetary donations and could also use the following items: diapers/wipes, dish and laundry soap, toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, razors, lotion, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and Kleenex, pajamas (adult and youth), kitchen and bath towels, hand towels and washcloths, pots and pans with lids, dishes and silverware, mattress pads, bedding of all sizes, school supplies, nonperishable foods and dedicated volunteers. Call 485-8232 or visit www.enddomesticviolence.org to donate or learn more, and fan them on Facebook for updated info as well!

 

animal rescue groups

Lane County folks really would love to have no-kill animal shelters, and one way to help that happen is to fund spay/neuter services for the animals already alive. Willamette Animal Guild estimates it has prevented the births of about 41,765 unwanted animals since opening in January, 2008. You can help WAG provide low-cost spay/neuter services by donating at www.wagwag.org, and find more info at 345-3566.

Meanwhile, animals waiting for their “forever home” often hang out at Greenhill Humane Society, where volunteers help walk, feed and take care of many furry small creatures. Greenhill offers education and adoption services, fosters animals out (more volunteers!) and helps seniors and people in domestic violence situations with safe pet care. Notable items on the Wish List (aside from money, of course!) include bedding for dogs, cats and small animals like rabbits; toys; scrubs; and clean towels and blankets for the animals to snuggle. To donate or volunteer, head to www.green-hill.org or call 689-1503.

Our cover animals come from Lane County Animal Services, where valiant efforts have transformed the shelter into a nearly no-kill space. LCAS always needs more volunteers and foster parents; donations of cat and dog food, non-comforter blankets, leashes, crates and cat and dog toys; and, of course, money. If you can’t have a pet but want to provide some benefit, sponsor an adoption or medical care for the animals. One LCAS fan on Twitter told us, “I started sponsoring a dog ... food, treats, toys, all the goods w/o the addition. It’s like having a pup away at college!” Visit http://wkly.ws/1z or call 682-3645 for more info.

Lane County has a ton of fabulous animal groups, and we’re out of room except to say don’t forget Pro-Bone-O, which helps provide care and food for pets of homeless people (www.proboneo.org or 607-8089); S.A.R.A., which provides dog and cat rescue services, helps get lost/homeless animals into safe homes and supports its mission with the thrift store S.A.R.A.’s Treasures (www.sarasavesanimals.org or 607-8892); Save the Pets, which is doing a smart thing by taking shelter pets out in the community where people can see them (www.savethepets.net or 683-7387); and Luv-A-Bull, which does much more than serve as an ambassador for pitties (www.luvabullpitbullrescue.com); The Bearen Foundation, which helps people pay for vet care (www.bearenfoundation.org or 242-3827); and West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue, which helps animals find homes (www.westcoastdogandcat.org or 221-3055). Outside of Eugene, there’s the Oregon Horse Welfare Council, which helps owners in need keep their horses fed and sheltered and rescues abandoned/neglected horses (www.oregonhorsewelfarecouncil.com or 541-530-8509).

 

sexual assault support services

SASS, Sexual Assault Support Services, provides community education and outreach, advocacy and support for survivors of sexual assault, abuse or harassment. SASS offers bilingual support groups for all ages for both male and female survivors of abuse and operates a 24-hour crisis and support line and a drop in center open 9 am to 4 pm weekdays. SASS’s 24 hour advocacy supports abuse survivors with healing, medical and legal information with transportation and accompaniment to medical care, an emergency shelter or the police. It offers a 40-hour volunteer training program three times per year; the next one starts Jan. 15. Call 484-9791 or visit www.sass-lane.org to donate, to volunteer or for more information.

 

amigos

The stunningly dedicated staff makes Amigos one of your best nonprofit donation bets. Formerly known as Amigos de los Sobrevivientes, Amigos was originally created to assist Latin American families who came to the U.S. after having experienced political violence and torture. Through education and advocacy Amigos works to protect the human rights of immigrants — insuring their protection, security, just treatment and inclusion in U.S. society. Amigos’ youth program, Juventud FACETA, serves Latino youth ages 14­24, encouraging personal growth, civic engagement and development as community leaders through advocacy and training on immigrant rights as human rights. Amigos also runs a Human Rights Education Program, offering speakers and panel participants on human rights topics. Call 746-6022 or visit www.amigosmsc.org for more information.

 

committed partners for youth

By matching caring volunteer adults with at-risk youth for mentoring, Committed Partners for Youth connects kids with their community, focusing on positive reinforcement, trust building and achievement of goals through one-on-one outings and group adventures in the community. Programs include Pathfinders, for at-risk middle school students; Bolder Options, an ongoing program of goal-setting, self-discipline and athletic skills development; True Friends, for youth 7-17 who have at least one parent or primary caregiver currently incarcerated within the criminal justice system; and Project Impact for children in grades 4-8. Volunteers can mentor or offer support in other ways, and donations are welcome. Visit www.committedpartners.org or call 344-0833.

 

cascades raptor center

If you haven’t been to the Cascades Raptor Center yet, you’re really missing out. There’s nothing like the intensity of an up-close encounter with a raptor. The center provides care for injured raptors along with educational opportunities like classroom visits and field trips. Raptors are birds of prey: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, osprey and kites, etc. They are brought to the center’s wildlife hospital to be nursed back to health and returned to the wild. The birds, injured directly or indirectly by humans, need emergency care, temporary housing and rehabilitation before being released. Some of the birds at the center are non-releasable and become part of the educational nature center. For more info, go to www.eraptors.org or call 485-1320.

 

kindtree productions “autism rocks”

KindTree Productions, “Autism Rocks,” is a local grassroots nonprofit serving and celebrating the autism community. Its vision seeks acceptance and opportunity in recreation, education and art for people with autism. The art program supports artists with autism through art marketing and material supplies. Donations of paints, paper, brushes, etc. are needed as well as volunteers to help with marketing and distribution. KindTree also runs a unique summer autism camp/retreat for people and families with autism. For 13 years, KindTree has successfully created a safe, fun, outdoor experience where people on the spectrum are free to be themselves. The retreat needs the support of scholarship funds, art and craft supplies, flashlights, sensory toys and, of course, volunteers. Visit www.kindtree.org or contact Mary-Minn Sirag, 689-2228, or Tim Mueller, 521-7208.

 

arts umbrella

Working collaboratively with public schools and other arts education agencies, Arts Umbrella offers educational and performance opportunities in music, dance and theater for students of all backgrounds. It currently runs four auditioned orchestras, a beginning strings program, bi-yearly AP Music Theory classes and summer camps in band, jazz improv, strings and musical theater. Arts Umbrella provides scholarships and fee waivers to qualified students and never turns children away from programs because of financial status. To donate or for more information, visit www.artsumbrellausa.org or call 484-0473.

 

lane county arts council

More than the First Friday Art Walk (big and fun and fantastic as it is), Lane County Arts Council provides a ton of support for local writers, musicians and performing and visual artists, not to mention the young ’uns who find their way to artistic satisfaction (and challenges) through artist residency programs and more. Find the newly revitalized nonprofit at www.lanearts.org or call 485-2278.

 

bring recycling

Dedicated to sustainability, BRING Recycling educates the public about how to live well without waste. Its new Planet Improvement Center in Glenwood combines a resale outlet for used building materials with a hands-on learning center. Buildings and grounds demonstrate green building techniques, including a green roof, bioswales, energy-saving design and the creative use of materials. The Center is located at 4446 Franklin Blvd in Glenwood around the corner from U-Haul. Call 746-3023 or visit www.bringrecycling.org to donate or learn more.

 

cascadia wildlands

We live deep in the midst of the Cascadia Bioregion, defined as the forested region stretching from northern California to southeastern Alaska.  Cascadia Wildlands is devoted to protecting the ecological integrity of this region. Through education, advocacy, agitation and organization, the project empowers local communities to advocate for their public lands, offering legal updates and resources as well as organizing restoration projects. The website offers current news updates on forest advocacy, volunteer opportunities and simple letter writing — many ways to get involved. Call 434-1463 or visit www.cascwild.org to donate or volunteer or for more information. 

 

oregon toxic alliance

OTA works its rear end off to protect people, especially but not only kids and low-income and rural folks, from harmful pollutants. No cute kittens or other charismatic macrofauna can convey the depth of OTA’s commitment to cleaning up and keeping safe our land, waterways and air. Call 465-8860 or visit www.oregontoxics.org for more info.

 

musicians emergency medical association

Musicians often don’t have insurance or any good way to deal with medical catastrophes. MEMA uses fundraising throughout the community to help out when times get tough. Visit www.memafund.org or call 736-6726 for more info about volunteering and donations.