Whether you are a natural giver — one of those noble souls who prefers presenting to receiving gifts — or a more average Joe, for whom a small altruistic gesture just feels good, we’ve listed several charities that make a difference in our neighborhood. Any of them could benefit from a tad of your time or money.
Oak Cliff-based Promise House supports homeless and at-risk youth in Dallas. The nonprofit, founded by Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in the early 1980s, runs an emergency shelter for homeless, runaway and abandoned kids ages 10-17. Promise House also runs a transitional living program for youths ages 16-24, wherein residents are given time and support to obtain education and learn to be independent, productive adults. A Promise House shelter for otherwise homeless single mothers, their children and pregnant women ages 14-20 offers up to two years of housing, childcare and community support. Promise House has a new shelter under construction, the Street Outreach Shelter, which will be the only shelter in Dallas specifically for ages 18-24.
How to give
Promise House has come up with several creative means of year-end giving. Send them your holiday card list, and they will create cards, address them and mail them for $10 per card. Promise House also accepts gift cards to use as giveaways at fundraising events or to use for residents’ emergency needs. Even if you can’t spend much money, there are fun volunteer opportunities at the shelters — host a cookie-decorating party, show a holiday movie, lead a craft project, teach a music lesson or pitch another idea to help brighten up shelter life.
- $25 buys a holiday gift for a homeless child
- $50 supplies a month of diapers to a newborn baby
- $100 provides a new winter coat to a teen mother and her child
- $250 feeds up to 16 youths for a week
- $500 buys all the school supplies for Promise House youth for one year
- $1,000 gives a homeless youth 14 days of shelter from the streets
- $5,000 buys all the major appliances for the new Street Outreach Shelter
- $10,000 fully furnishes the new Street Outreach Shelter
224 W. Page
North Texas Food Bank
The North Texas Food Bank was founded in 1982 and supplies food through 250 partner agencies in 13 North Texas counties. The food bank provides about 175,000 meals a day to hungry people in our region. About 304,000 children in North Texas are “food insecure,” which means they lack nutrition, experience anxiety about food and often have no grocery stores in their neighborhoods. About a third of food bank clients have someone with diabetes in their households, and more than half report they have unpaid medical bills. The food bank distributed about 62 million meals in 2014, including 12.8 million pounds of fresh produce. The need is growing, and the food bank has set a goal of serving 1 million meals more in 2015.
How to give
Individuals, community organizations, schools and businesses can volunteer boxing food at the food bank on Cockrell Hill or helping out at fundraising events.
At least 93 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to food aid.
- $1 provides three meals
- $5 provides a weekend backpack with food to a chronically hungry child through the Food 4 Kids program. Teachers can enroll children in that program when they have shown signs of chronic hunger, including rushing the lunch lines, hoarding food and exhibiting anxiety. These children receive a backpack filled with shelf-stable foods every Friday during the school year.
- $200 supplies a child with a weekend backpack for the entire school year.
4500 S. Cockrell Hill
AIDS Arms Inc.
As many as 20,000 people in the Dallas area live with HIV or AIDS. Oak Cliff-based AIDS Arms Inc. helps deter the spread of these diseases and offers medical and community support to those who have them. The nonprofit runs two health centers, including one in our neighborhood, to treat patients with HIV or AIDS, and they help provide low-cost medications. The nonprofit offers case management and counseling and provides a link between patients and other helpful nonprofits. AIDS Arms also offers free testing for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C. About 70 percent of AIDS Arms clients live at or below the federal poverty level, meaning they earn less than $12,000 a year.
How to give
HIV patients who consistently take antiretroviral medication are unlikely to spread the virus. But the cost of the medications is so high — between $10,000 and $15,000 a year — that HIV patients often live in poverty. AIDS Arms Inc.’s big fundraiser is Life Walk, which takes place every October. So organizing a group to fundraise and participate in the walk is a way for almost anyone to contribute.
- $25 provides one free HIV test
- $50 pays one prescription co-pay
- $75 provides two hours of HIV prevention education
- $250 provides a homeless HIV or AIDS patient with one week in safe, temporary housing
351 W. Jefferson