Donate before year-end: Just $10 will buy 40 meals thanks to a Mosaic match.
When I helped serve a free meal recently at House of Charity in downtown Minneapolis, a man came back to the serving line and politely asked for seconds. He quietly added — just to explain, not to complain or solicit pity: “I haven’t eaten much lately.”
Lucky for me, I have never had to utter those words. And truth be told, during the holiday season I’ve uttered – or muttered – way too often: “I ate too much today.”
How ’bout you?
Countdown for Year-End Gifts
According to Network for Good, 10 percent of annual giving occurs on the last three days of the year. If you’re now sifting through end-of-year appeals, why not also consider a gift to a local organization fighting hunger or homelessness? Here are just a few in the Twin Cities:
- House of Charity: This is the only downtown Minneapolis organization that serves free, hot meals — no questions asked — 365 days a year. Your gift right now is eligible for a match by Mosaic, so your contribution of just $10 will buy 40 meals.
- Simpson Housing Services: Did you see the recent news coverage about the Homeless Memorial March and Service? Through this event and other activities, Simpson is an organization at the forefront of solving our local housing crisis.
- Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless: If you’d rather have others determine the best use of your donation, this federated charity pools contributions and makes quick-turn-around grants to housing agencies and food shelves all across the state.
Save Money, Then Give More
I’m sure you have your own favorite charities in these final days of the calendar year. But as you calculate your 2014 tax savings, consider what portion of that amount you could pass along to a worthy organization that meets food or housing needs in our community.
After all, someone who hasn’t eaten much lately might just need our dollars more than we do.
Last Friday was my first day as a volunteer shopper for Store to Door. Yes, a volunteer shopper. Does that sound like a dream gig for a “shop-a-holic”?
But shopping for Store to Door is not as frivolous or simple as it sounds. Volunteer shoppers meet up at 6:00 a.m. at a local Cubs Food store and fill grocery orders for home-bound seniors who are unable to get out to the store and shop for food, medicine and other necessities. (The orders are created by another group of volunteers who call the seniors every other week and enter each requested item into a nifty computer system.)
The orders are very detailed — brand, size, flavor, expiration date and much more. Matching the items from the store shelves with what’s listed on the order sheet is challenging . . . like a scavenger hunt.
The need for this service is large and growing. Minnesota Compass reports that 30 percent of seniors 65-plus in the Twin Cities have a disability. And 10 percent of the 75-plus population lives in poverty. Without Store to Door and other human services organizations, some of these seniors would face malnutrition, mounting health problems and consequences even worse.
I was impressed on Friday with the dedication and efficiency of the volunteers (some were 20-year veterans) and the professionalism of the Store to Door store coordinator and drivers who deliver the orders. I look forward to going back again this week to shop for everything from soup to nuts — and whatever else these elders need to stay well-fed and healthy.
Do you know of a senior who is homebound or having difficulty walking through the grocery store or lifting heavy bags? Do you have a couple hours a week to spare to become a volunteer order taker or shopper? Check out the services and opportunities at Store to Door . . . it’s a vital service in our community.
photo cc Phil! Gold