The holidays are almost upon us, and you know what that means: it’s time to shop ’til we drop! Even Thanksgiving is becoming another opportunity to hit the stores and score a deal. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days devoted to consumption and gift-buying. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to buy the best gift at the lowest price, but since it’s also a season of thanksgiving and goodwill, it might do all our families good to slow down, take a deep breath, and intentionally give back to our community. Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday following Thanksgiving) is a day intended just for that – kicking off the charitable season and helping us focus on our holiday and end-of-year giving.
One of the best ways to get involved is focusing on those in need in our own community. Here are some ways you and your family can be involved in giving back to Wichita this holiday season.
The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County (CAC)
The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County (CAC) is a local organization leading our community in eliminating the suffering of abused children in our area. CAC aims to provide a safer, stronger community for children, pointing them to resources that will bring relief and healing. If you would be interested in helping alleviate the suffering of abused children in Wichita, visit CAC’s website, where you can easily donate money, individually wrapped snacks, juice boxes, bottled water, or $5.00 meal cards. You can also register to volunteer for fundraising activities, special events, or administrative support.
Dress for Success
Dress for Success seeks to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional apparel, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Here you can donate nice, professional clothes collecting dust in your closet, recycling them from closet clutter to confidence-boosting attire for a woman in Wichita in need. This is a great opportunity for working moms to volunteer as career coaches or personal mentors to someone who would greatly benefit from your expertise. If you are interested in volunteering, or would simply like to donate money or clothes, visit their website to get started.
Ember Hope is a nonprofit, faith-based agency providing infrastructure and support for thousands of at-risk youth and families each year. Through their programs, employees focus on the needs of the individual so they can give the gift of hope to a young person, helping them make healthy and lasting changes. To partner with them, visit their website and learn how you can donate and serve. You can even purchase an item off their wish list while you’re doing your holiday shopping. Purchasing wish list items will support their STRIVE program, which directly supports children who have aged out of the foster care system as they start living independently.
Harbor House at Catholic Charities, exists to help break the cycle of violence against women and their children, as well as men. It provides shelter, outreach, support and compassion to victims of family violence. Their website provides a wish list, and donations are much needed and very appreciated. You (and even your children, aged 7-17) can also volunteer at the shelter. What better gift to give our children than experience giving back to those in our community?
ICT S.O.S is a Wichita-based organization that seeks to end human trafficking in our town. Many of us have heard of how Wichita is a hot-spot for sex trafficking, thanks to the easy accessibility of route I-35. Instead of giving into fear, become a part of the change that needs to happen and volunteer with ICT S.O.S., an agency that acts as a liaison between specific local professional organizations who work with trafficked youth and the Wichita volunteers who seek ways to get involved and to find solutions. Visit their website and learn how to fill a Fresh Start bag or volunteer, either consistently or on a by-project basis. Become apart of the change and stand in the gap for our city’s endangered youth.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC)
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their futures right here in Wichita. By volunteering at the Wichita IRC, you can meet people from all over the world and be apart of helping them make a new start in our own city. Just visit their website and register for volunteer opportunities that range from picking refugees up from the airport to helping them move into their first apartment, or organizing a coat drive for the cold, winter months ahead.
The Lord’s Diner
The Lord’s Diner strives to combat hunger in our community. Their mission is to serve a nutritious meal with dignity and respect to anyone who is hungry. Serving an evening meal 365 days a year requires a good deal of manpower (and womenpower), and their small, paid staff is assisted by more than 6,000 volunteers who help prepare and serve hot, nutritious meals in a spirit of compassion, respect and loving service. If you would like to donate or volunteer to serve at the diner (or with one of their food trucks), call (316) 266-4966 and ask for Sheryl, or email [email protected].
The Treehouse is an agency created to fill a unique niche: helping economically challenged moms and children. Imagine being a new mom who never received a baby shower. Unfortunately this is not unheard of, and women in our very city have babies without ever having being “showered” with all the things a baby needs! The Treehouse is committed to offering compassionate physical and emotional support for local mothers in need. Diapers and formula, parenting education, spiritual support and an inexpensive thrift store with books, toys and clothes up to 4T are just a few of the resources they provide to women referred to their organization. If you would like to partner with them, please visit their website, and learn how you can donate money, time and supplies to this outstanding agency. You can even put together a “baby shower in a bag”, which includes everything from bath towels to baby hats for Wichita mamas who may not have been showered with these things before the birth of their babies.
The Wesley Children’s Foundation
The Wesley Children’s Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing support to every child and family being cared for in the hospital. The goals are simple: provide high-quality assistance to families and their children, ensure ongoing education and training for staff, utilize preventive medical programs and best practice research, and engage those around us with meaningful community partnerships. As fellow mamas, this is just the sort of thing to tug at our heart strings! After all, we never know when this foundation might be there to help us and our children in our time of need. Interested in helping out? Visit their website and learn how to donate, volunteer, or attend an upcoming fundraising event!