It’s the season when we think more often about being kind to others. And it’s also the last week of the year when donations of money and food often pour in to non-profit organizations as donors try to meet tax deadlines.
But right now, let’s promise ourselves not to forget groups and people whom we can help all-year-long, not just for the holidays. Here are a few possibilities in Arizona along with suggestions on what you can do for them:
St. Vincent de Paul
This Phoenix non-profit has some 10,000 people who serve as volunteers in facilities for the disabled, five free dining rooms, thrift stores, food pantries, a medical clinic and a homeless shelter. The charity also has an urban farm that provides organically grown food for its dining rooms and a program to repair homes and apartments for residents who need help. Thrift stores in Prescott, Flagstaff, Cottonwood and other locations around Arizona sell appliances and furniture that have come in as donations. Some of these locations also provide food boxes for those who need them.
There are lots of volunteers now as well as plenty of money coming in. But after the holidays, interest tends to slow down and helpers are needed. The Web site often has lists of volunteer positions that need to be filled. You can sort donated items in thrift stores; you can provide dental and medical help in a clinic; you can do clerical work and provide skills training in a homeless shelter; you can dice vegetables and make sandwiches in a dining room.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat organizations in Phoenix and Tucson regularly use volunteers to help build new houses and repair old ones. Similar construction work is done in some other locations in the state as well. All of these projects can be a great chance to share your do-it-yourself skills or to learn some new things about building and repairs. You can also shop for used furniture, cabinets and building supplies donated to Habitat stores in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Cottonwood and Flagstaff. And of course, you can make donations of your own to these stores as well.
The Salvation Army provides services in numerous locations throughout Arizona, including but not limited to Phoenix, Yuma, Tucson and Prescott.
Although most of us only think about the organization when we see volunteers ringing bells and collecting donations at kettles in front of stores or public buildings, their work involves hundreds of services for the homeless, the aged, and those recovering from drug and alcohol dependence. The organization also provides after-school tutoring and camps for children, a missing person service that will search for lost family members, does work to identify human trafficking victims, and even provides heat relief for those who need shelter or water during hot summer months in the Southwest. There is emergency financial and food available for those with an immediate need.
Besides donating money or goods to the organization, you can also be a volunteer. You can sponsor a toy or food drive; help clean up, paint and repair Salvation Army facilities; run activities for children, provide landscaping for patio and playground areas; and sort and organize items that have been donated.
Matthew 25 Project
The Matthew 25 Project in downtown Phoenix serves hot meals at five homeless shelters including some facilities for homeless veterans and women and families. The group also uses donations to provide food, clothing, medicine, diapers, reading glasses, Bibles, shoes and hygiene products for those in need.
Phoenix Rescue Mission
The mission has three campuses including a men’s emergency shelter and public dining hall on 35th Avenue. There is also a donation center on 26th Avenue and a center for women and children on 15th Avenue. The focus of programs is on the homeless and near homeless. So the Mission is always in need of men’s and women’s clothing. Besides seeking monetary donations, the mission accepts cars, boats and property.
IMPORTANT CHANGES IN CREDITS FOR DONATIONS
The state of Arizona gives state taxpayers a tax credit for donations to qualified non-profits that assist the poor. But the size of the credits has recently doubled. And beginning this year, contributions can be given up until April 15 of next year and can be used for either 2016 or 2017. But if you don’t donate until 2017, you may miss a federal deduction.
If you want to know the details on the state credit, check out: https://www.azdor.gov/about/faqs/charitabletaxcredit.aspx.
- Header image: St. Vincent de Paul
- Garden: St. Vincent de Paul
- Construction: Habitat for Humanity