Nov 06, 2015 11:30AM
● By Dia
Learning how and where to allocate your resources to aid these nonprof- its can be confusing. You may have in mind a specific cause you’d like to con- tribute to—education or animal shel- ters—or you might just want to start with the basics. Whatever the case may be we’ve put together a list of notable area organizations in need of volun- teers, whether you’d like to contribute financially or you prefer to get hands- on with your giving.
Dedicated to the education and wellbeing of children, Commu- nity Storehouse works with children of families at or below the poverty level in the Keller, Northwest and Carroll Independent School Districts. For more than 33 years, Community Store- house has provided educational programs for school children of all ages. Whether it is through tutoring, literacy help or even college preparedness, the organization hopes to end the cycle of poverty one child at a time. In addition to meeting educa- tional needs, Community Storehouse provides nutritional as- sistance to kids during the school year and the summer.
Interested in supporting the enrichment and wellbeing of today’s youth? According to Megan Stiller, Resource Develop- ment Lead for Community Storehouse, the best way to help the nonprofit is by hosting clothing drives, book drives and food drives. Bringing together family and friends to raise awareness and provide for kids in need is a great way for individuals to promote the mission of Community Storehouse.
Another organization dedicated to making life better for chil- dren who may be experiencing the aftermath of a life uprooted is TableTops Southlake. As the name suggests, themed table- tops are decorated with gift baskets and gift packages at the organization’s main fundraising event each year. The Novem- ber luncheon raises funds to directly support the Gatehouse Community in Grapevine, which houses women and children in crisis. Raising money to purchase bicycles for each child at the Gatehouse and making sure Gatehouse families are able to enjoy Christmas are just two ways TableTops uses the funds. Interested in getting involved with TableTops Southlake? Visit the organization’s website, TableTopsSouthlake.com.
Grapevine Relief And Community
Grapevine-based GRACE is a nonprofit relief agency that pro- vides food, clothing, financial assistance and other vital necessi- ties to individuals and families struggling with a limited income or recent emergency. While the organization is extremely active throughout the year, the holiday season brings unique opportu- nities for GRACE to help families during what can be a stress- ful time. Food distribution during Thanksgiving and Christmas, hosting the Christmas Cottage and continuing to meet the gen- eral needs of families are the top three agenda items for GRACE at the end of the year. And according to Executive Director Shonda Schaefer, this is the time of year when the most volun- teers are needed.
Interested in sharing your time and treasures within the com- munity? The mission of GRACE is twofold. Not only is the orga- nization focused on providing for families, it serves as a vehicle for those to give back with their blessings. Whatever your talents may be there is a place to put them to good use at GRACE. Current- ly, individuals are needed to distribute food and provide dona- tions for the Christmas Cottage, which serves as a place for fami- lies to “shop” for Christmas presents for their children at no cost.
Metroport Meals on Wheels
If you’d like to narrow down your efforts to lighting up some- one’s life with a warm meal and smile, Metroport Meals on Wheels (MWOW) is ready to enlist you. MWOW has served the North Texas area for 35 years with programs crafted to meet the needs of the community. Volunteering for the nonprofit orga- nization is as simple as applying to be a driver to deliver meals to seniors and other individuals not able to prepare their own meals. There’s no need to be Betty Crocker—MWOW serves meals prepared by local restaurants and grocers. However, you should be prepared to make friends. Often times these individu- als have no family close by, and simply spending time with them and visiting can feed their soul. For more information about MWOW, visit MetroportMOW.org.
Operation Kindness cares for homeless cats and dogs in a no-kill environment until each is adopted. Located in Carrollton, Operation Kindness is the largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas. With a full medical facility on site, Operation Kindness is able to treat any animal abandoned, brought to them as a sur- render, or one that has found its way to the shelter by oth- er means. As a nonprofit organization, the shelter receives no government funding. And with a full-time staff of only 18, it is easy to see why outside assistance is imperative.
Interested in showing some love to cats and dogs? The main idea CEO Jim Hanophy wants potential volunteers to know is that the atmosphere is hope- ful at Operation Kindness. Because the final outcome for each animal is adoption, you’ll be giving your time to provide care for animals as they wait for their for- ever homes. There are different levels of work at the shelter, and you can start as early as age seven under parental supervision. Training is given at every level. Needs of the shelter include having volunteers social- ize with the animals, which includes walking the dogs, assessing the animals once they are brought in and becoming a foster family for an animal until they are adopted. Interested in promoting the importance of education? The main fundraiser for CEF each year is the Culinary Celebration, and while donations are often the main treasures given for the event, the organization is still in need of volunteers who can provide their time. Serving on the organization’s event board, organizing the donations for the silent auction or even using your time to go out and procure items for the auction, there are a variety of ways you can help.
Carroll Education Foundation
Meeting the needs of the Carroll Independent School District through the creation and distribution of resources to benefit students is the mission of the Carroll Education Foundation (CEF). Formed 19 years ago, the organization has since raised more than $1 million to enrich, expand and protect the edu- cational resources at CISD. Whether the organization is pro- viding grants for classroom projects and innovation, or giving scholarships to students for different areas of excellence, CEF is using its resources to help enhance the already exceptional education the district provides.
While keeping your efforts close to home may seem like the right choice, you can help locally and internationally at the same time. CISD students, teachers and schools, through the nonprofit ConnecTeach, are reaching out to their counter- parts across the globe in places such as India. Headquartered in Southlake, ConnecTeach is dedicated to using resources from the community, most importantly teachers, to build relationships across the world. What started as a mission to meet the under- served education needs in the slums of India turned into a variety of projects that give educators the means to improve children’s lives one class at a time. Not only are educators connecting with one another, but local students are spending time to impart the importance of education on their peers overseas. To find out how you can volunteer as a teacher or provide financial assistance, visit ConnecTeach.org.
Trinity Habitat for Humanity
Trinity Habitat for Humanity has been building hope and houses since 1989. Serving four counties in the DFW area— including Tarrant County—Trinity Habitat partners with hardworking families who may not be able to qualify for a home loan or other assistance. Habitat for Humanity allows families to purchase a house at a zero-percent interest rate. According to Senior Director of Development for Trinity Habitat for Hu- manity, Lydia Traina, the mission of the organization is to “build strong families and communities through affordable home ownership.”
Interested in helping families build relationships within their community? It’s okay if you aren’t a handy man or woman; Habitat can use you in other ways that don’t involve wielding a hammer. You can serve as a construction site host, making sure everyone is signed in, safe and hydrated (by bringing wa- ter). Habitat also runs unique retail outlets named ReStores—a Lowe’s-meets-Goodwill type of place.
Another way to nurture the bonds within your community is by volunteering right here in your own backyard. In the City of Southlake, there are many opportunities for community ser- vice. Opportunities abound for ages 12 to 99. Areas of service, just to name a few, include Metroport Teen Court, Parks & Rec- reation programs, the Senior Center, numerous departments within Town Hall, and a new Music program the city is starting. Visit Southlake.com to see how you can help.
“A city is a shared community in which its citizens play an integral role in the wellbeing of their shared resources,” says Brandi Kaplan, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Southlake. “Volunteer Southlake aims to create a lasting community by providing various opportunities that grant our citizens the ability to take an active role in their city.”