It’s no secret that around the holidays we can get consumed by, well, consumerism. And how can we not? Black Friday, doorbuster deals, the cyber Monday click-and-save bonanzas – but the holiday season is also a time for doing good, reaching out, and pitching in to help those in need. Whether it’s volunteering for your neighborhood soup kitchen or donating to your favorite local charity, it’s always a good idea to pay it forward. Here are six examples of Rhode Island-based nonprofits you can show some love to in the coming months.
For 15 years, College Visions has provided low-income and underserved students with assistance to apply to and stay in college. Services include resume and essay editing, financial aid advising, paying for campus visits, and even giving students access to computers and other technologies.
How You Can Help: Participate in events like interview prep day, care package assembly, financial aid projects, and application day parties.
The Sojourner House has an overarching mission: to ensure that one day, we live in a world without domestic or sexual abuse. The program seeks to help victims of sexual and domestic abuse with educational programs, HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, youth advocacy, a drop-in center, an abuse hotline, support groups, and more.
How You Can Help: The nonprofit accepts both donations and volunteers.
Let’s not forget our furry and feathered friends. West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton is a safe haven for injured wild animals of many kinds. Founder Wendy Taylor takes in fowl (ducks, turkeys, and geese, oh my!), alpacas, horses, pigs, goats, lost dogs, and others for shelter and rehabilitation.
How You Can Help: Volunteer at the farm by walking dogs, feeding the animals, and pruning the gardens, or donate on their website.
The holidays can be especially hard for military and law enforcement families whose members are overseas or were lost in service. What’s more, some of these families struggle to pay their living expenses and cannot afford presents for their children. That’s why the James D. Rielly Foundation made it its mission to bring a magical holiday experience to those in need. Donations to the organization will help fund a myriad of things, from toys for kid’s “wish lists” to a mortgage or accessible vehicle.
How You Can Help: Donate online, request a visit from Santa, or volunteer.
Eighteen thousand meals served in its soup kitchen annually, 225 unique individuals housed in a year, and 80 children and adults helped daily. These are the impressive differences the Welcome House of South County has made in its community. Located in Peace Dale, the emergency shelter program seeks to equip its guests with the financial knowledge and skills to live an independent, comfortable life. The Welcome House also has a one-year transitional housing onsite for a select number of individuals.
How You Can Help: Volunteer in their soup kitchen or shelter, donate food, or give money to help this holiday season.
No one should have to choose between paying the rent and eating. Project Hand Up/Be The Change is a volunteer and food donations-based group where people can take home groceries for the week in exchange for a small monetary donation. The organization also collects school supplies for students in need at the beginning of the academic year, and hosts a “Stuff the Bus With Food” event for families and the elderly trying to make ends meet.
How You Can Help: Donate food and supplies or make a monetary donation online.