The holiday season is filled with gift giving opportunities, as we are involved with several gift exchanges with friends, family members and coworkers all month long.
It’s also a natural time to give back to the community. After all, this season is particularly difficult for those who are experiencing homelessness, hunger or other strenuous life circumstances. Thankfully, there are several charities and nonprofits in the Bend area working tirelessly to assist those in need in our communities.
Let’s stand beside these incredible organizations to spread some joy and cheer this holiday season — and beyond! Here are a few ways you can lend a helping hand, whether it’s through a monetary donation, in-kind donations or volunteering.
Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Inn
Bethlehem Inn is a community-supported emergency shelter that provides a warm, safe place to sleep, plus nourishing meals and case management services for those experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon. As the temperatures drop in the winter, Bethlehem Inn provides life-saving support to the most vulnerable in our community.
How to Support Bethlehem Inn: The best way to support Bethlehem Inn is by donating money.
Humane Society of Central Oregon cares for stray, neglected, surrendered and abused animals throughout the city of Bend, southern Deschutes County, and surrounding counties. They provide a number of services, including medical and behavioral care, adoption services, lost and found services, humane education, spaying/neutering and more. HSCO has been serving the community since 1961.
Social Services Organization
NeighborImpact’s mission is simple: to support people and strengthen communities. They do this through distributing food to those in need, preparing children for kindergarten, helping young people purchase their first home, and much more.
Community Meal Program
Bend Family Kitchen aims to serve anyone who needs a nutritious meal in a safe and caring environment. They do this through serving meals throughout the week, including lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and dinner on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Due to COVID-19, all meals are currently served in to-go packaging.
Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to providing affordable homeownership opportunities for families and individuals in Bend and Redmond. Their thrift shop in Bend is filled with a wide variety of home improvement materials, tools and home furnishings, almost exclusively donated by the generous Central Oregon community.
How to Support Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Donate any unwanted items to their Bend store. They accept most furniture and home decor, major appliances, building materials and tools in good, clean, complete, saleable condition. Check out their donation guidelines and click on each category for specific rules, as they are subject to change. You can also volunteer with ReStore! They host a volunteer orientation every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Seasonal Community Meal Program
Founded in 1990, the La Pine Christmas Basket Association is a non-profit purpose-driven organization dedicated to feeding those in need during the Christmas season. Each December, volunteers come together to distribute food to community members in need.
How to Support La Pine Christmas Basket Association: Follow the organization on Facebook for the latest information about distribution day in December and how you can get involved.
Homeless Support Organization
Jericho Road is a non-profit in Redmond that provides consistent, nurturing and tangible support to those experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon. Programs at Jericho Road include meal service, food for students, housing assistance and emergency assistance.
How to Support Jericho Road: The best way to support Jericho Road and their programs is by making a monetary donation. It costs $6.50 to provide a hot meal for a person in need.
The Sisters Kiwanis Club operates a food bank in Sisters that serves hundreds of people each month. During the holidays, they host a major food share event, and throughout the year, the organization provides emergency assistance, scholarships to graduating seniors, grants to nonprofits, and other projects to better the community.
How to Support Kiwanis Food Bank: Kiwanis Club of Sisters hosts a community work party every week at 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to join. You can also donate money or food. Check here for information about what food is accepted.
Child Abuse Prevention + Treatment Center
KIDS Center is dedicated to the prevention, evaluation and treatment of child abuse in Central Oregon. They offer life-changing services for children and families to help them heal and overcome the devastating effects of child abuse.
How to Support KIDS Center: There are several ways to support the work at KIDS Center, including a one-time donation, monthly giving, virtual fundraisers, corporate giving, AmazonSmile and much more. There are also many volunteer opportunities at KIDS Center, from helping out at the front desk to supporting an event.
Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, Inc. (COVO) is a community non-profit organization offering respect, support and advocacy for all Central Oregon veterans and their families. They aim to help keep veterans and others “warm, fed and dry” and support the homeless veteran community in the region.
How to Support COVO: Make a direct monetary donation, drop off a needed item, or purchase something from their Amazon wishlist, which is specifically tailored to their current needs. Plus, you can select COVO as your charity through AmazonSmile, so your purchase adds on a donation to COVO at no additional cost to you!
Non-Profit Performing Arts Theater
Tower Theatre is a historic theater in the heart of Bend. The nonprofit Tower Theatre Foundation believes the performing arts strengthen our community and improve our lifestyle, and they are committed to providing top-quality events and educational programs. The Tower does not run on ticket sales alone; rather, they rely on the support of sponsors at a number of financial support levels.
Women’s Service Organization
Chartered in August of 1943, Soroptimist International of Bend, Oregon is a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls in Central Oregon. This international organization has chapters in about 120 countries and territories throughout the world.
How to Support Soroptimist International of Bend: Each holiday season, Soroptimist International of Bend hosts a Holiday Evergreen Sale. Your purchase of a fresh wreath, garland and centerpiece directly supports the programs of this organization. Proceeds from this year’s sale will be used to fund their Live Your Dream education and training awards presented to women living in Central Oregon. You can also make a monetary donation here.
Faith-Based Community Meal Program
The mission of The Giving Plate is “feeding the hungry today with compassion and hospitality.” This faith-based organization makes a conscious effort to remove the “clinical experience” of entering a food bank, by creating an environment of welcoming compassion and warm hospitality. Each year, The Giving Plate distributes more than 8,000 food boxes to households in Central Oregon, each containing five days’ worth of groceries per individual being served.
How to Support The Giving Plate: The best way to support The Giving Plate is by donating — whether it’s food or funds. Click here for information about both opportunities, paying special attention to the list of most-needed food items.
Food Distribution Program
The Bend Food Project is a donor drive — not a food drive. Instead of asking for one-time contributions of food, their volunteers (otherwise known as Neighborhood Coordinators) enlist their neighbors to become long-term Food Donors. Neighbors donate a bag of food every two months and Neighborhood Coordinators pick up the food to be redistributed to those in need.
How to Support Bend Food Project: You can support this unique program by becoming a Food Donor or a Neighborhood Coordinator, who encourages others to become Food Donors and handles drop-off and delivery. You can also contribute a financial donation to support the Bend Food Project.
Cascade Canine Rescue East and West is a non-profit group operating out of the Tumalo area of Bend, run by passionate volunteers who work to save, vaccinate, care for, spay/neuter, microchip, and network for the adoption of dogs and puppies. The majority of their dogs are saved from overcrowded high-kill shelters and other urgent situations in the region.
Domestic Violence + Sexual Assault Center
Saving Grace offers safety, hope and healing to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and engages Central Oregon to build life free from violence. Their services include a 24-hour helpline, a supervised visit and exchange center for children, emergency shelter, support groups, court advocacy, youth violence prevention and much more.
We’ve just skimmed the surface on the many charities and nonprofits in Central Oregon. What organization are you passionate about supporting? Let us know in the comments below!