by Susanna Klingenberg
November is a month of celebration and reflection: we gather, take stock, feast, give thanks. It’s also a good time to give back, a show of gratitude for all we’ve been given. As you consider how, take a look at these Triangle nonprofits making a truly local impact. Each of these organizations can use your financial support, but don’t underestimate the value of giving of yourself—your time, training and belongings—along with your dollars. Here are 25 local organizations to help you put gratitude into action.
Please note: This is by no means meant to be comprehensive—there are many other organizations worth supporting in the Raleigh area, as well!—but we hope that as the spirit of gratitude wells up around the holidays, you’ll use this list to be generous with your time, talents and donations to help our neighbors.
Arts Access helps children and adults with disabilities learn from, participate in and enjoy the arts. Contribute your marketing and graphic design expertise to support outreach efforts for the organization. artsaccessinc.org
A Place at the Table
This sunny, downtown café nurtures community by serving delicious food to all—regardless of ability to pay. Schedule your next business meeting at the Table, then add a token or two to your tab to pay for someone else’s meal. Don’t miss the turkey avocado club! tableraleigh.org
Code the Dream
Through their free, intensive software development training, people from diverse low-income backgrounds can build useful (and fun!) apps to launch new careers. Pass along your coding prowess by volunteering as a teacher or mentor. codethedream.org
Communities In Schools of Wake County
This program empowers students to stay in school and graduate. Become part of a student’s community by signing up as a youth mentor or volunteering in an after-school center. ciswake.org
Designed for Joy
This Crabtree Boulevard studio (which recently moved from Cabarrus Street) creates stylish leather earrings… and opportunity. Here, women in transitional situations can find a living wage plus work experience and references to help them succeed in the job market. Shop their studio or online store.
Dorcas Ministries provides emergency assistance in the form of shelter, clothing, food, fuel, transportation, medical care, childcare and educational expenses. They currently need grocery store gift cards for Food Pantry clients. dorcascary.org
Families Together helps families experiencing homelessness find stable housing and connect to community resources. Join their Landlord Network if you have a place to rent, create a welcome basket with cleaning supplies or match with a family to provide holiday gifts. familiestogethernc.org
Friends of Wake County Animal Center
Through sponsoring medical care, hosting supply drives and facilitating fostering and adoption, FWCAC improves the lives of our county’s furriest residents. Lend your photography skills to their adoption gallery or share your holiday with a foster pet.
The Green Chair Project
When families are recovering from homelessness, crisis or disaster, Green Chair offers the comforts of home. Pass along your gently used home furnishings—or donate new-in-the-bag, gender-neutral, twin-sized bed linens and blankets to help provide a local child a warm bed this winter. thegreenchair.org
Haven House Services
Haven House operates ten youth programs, including Wrenn House, the Triangle’s only emergency shelter for youth ages 10-17 experiencing homelessness and/or a crisis. Brighten a child or teen’s holiday by adopting a family and shopping for gifts. havenhousenc.org
This therapeutic riding program offers group-riding lessons to people with physical, mental and emotional special needs, improving coordination and self-confidence. Donate new or gently used saddles, bridles and grooming tools. helpinghorse.org
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
The Food Shuttle fights hunger, in all its manifestations. Lead a community health education class, organize a food drive or check to see if your local elementary school has a Backpack Buddies program that you can support financially or as a volunteer. foodshuttle.org
This downtown, nonprofit makerspace and community art collective uses a pay-what-you-can model for play-based learning experiences. When you donate art supplies, it means they can spark the imagination of even more kids and families.
Lutheran Family Services Resettlement Help
LFS welcomes refugees and immigrants and facilitates housing, health screenings and school enrollment. Join a “Circle of Welcome” or donate tea kettles or rice makers—always in demand—or other items off their wish list. lscarolinas.net/services-for-refugees/refugee-resettlement/
Me Fine Foundation
Caring for a critically-ill child can drain families’ wallets and emotional resources. Me Fine provides financial and emotional support, so families can focus on loving their kids. Donate gas cards, so young patients can attend follow-up appointments. mefinefoundation.org
NC Hunters for the Hungry
Licensed hunters can donate legally-harvested deer (overpopulated in N.C.) to be processed for meat at state-inspected facilities. Then nutrient-rich venison burgers are distributed to people experiencing hunger. nchuntersforthehungry.org
Note in the Pocket
By providing children in poverty stylish, good-quality clothing items that they can be proud to wear, Note in the Pocket empowers children to succeed in school. Donate warm, unworn or gently-used clothing in sizes 5T to adult (for older students).
Oak City Cares
With a mission to help make homelessness “rare, brief, and non-recurring in Wake County,” this community hub offers unsheltered locals computer access, coffee, showers, laundry, meals and medical screenings. Serve a meal or volunteer at the front desk. oakcitycares.org
Oak City Recovery Run Club
At OCRRC, the Raleigh running community connects with the recovery community at twice-weekly runs, reducing the stigma of fighting addiction. Join them on a 1-, 3- or 5-mile run or donate winter running gear labeled “Run Club” to Healing Transitions. oakcityrrc.com
Raleigh Community Kickstand
This bicycle cooperative fixes old bikes, teaches maintenance and gives bikes to unhoused neighbors, insuring reliable transportation. Pass along your adult-sized bikes or offer your public space for a pop-up workshop. sites.google.com/view/raleigh-community-kickstand
Read and Feed
Read and Feed bridges the reading gap with a combination of after-school literacy tutoring and nourishing meals. Donate K-5 children’s books with diverse characters or fuel their mobile classroom with gas cards. readandfeed.org
SAFEChild eliminates child abuse and empowers families through education, advocacy and parent-to-parent support. Mentor a new mom, lead a children’s group while parents go to class or shop their online wish list. safechildnc.org
StepUp offers a hand up, helping people find jobs, nurture life skills, create stability for families and thrive in a supportive community. Donate large-sized, professional men’s clothing to stock their winter closet. stepupministry.org
Triangle Land Conservancy
TLC preserves natural spaces and connects people with nature in our developing region. Help ready the latest nature preserve (opening next April) or donate a truck or AWD car to facilitate volunteer work days. triangleland.org
Urban Ministries serves neighbors experiencing crisis or poverty by offering food, medicine and shelter with compassion and dignity. Support their Helen Wright Center by donating T-shirts, yoga pants, socks and underwear for women in crisis. urbanmin.org