Although Giving Tuesday has passed, the spirit of giving to local organizations doesn’t have to stop as we approach the holidays. Below are seven organizations that I would suggest making a donation towards. On Giving Tuesday, I supported four of the ones below, and I hope you will too.
The Illiana Cat Project
The daughter of a good friend of mine is involved with this effort to help rid the area of stray cats and get cats neutered, reducing the population. You can donate on their website.
Here’s an explanation of the organization from their site:
The Illiana Cat Project was created as a way for dedicated and compassionate individuals to join efforts to humanely reduce the Lansing, Illinois and Munster, Indiana area’s community cat population. Through the Trap-Neuter-Return model (TNR), free-roaming cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and released back into their home environment or placed for adoption. TNR will reduce the number of cats and kittens housed and euthanized in shelter environments and improve the quality of life for cats who, despite their circumstance, deserve care and kindness. Funds donated to our campaign are allocated to the cost of veterinary services, including spay/neuter services and vaccinations, supplies needed for TNR efforts (food, traps, chip scanners, etc.), community education efforts, and organizational overhead.
The Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce
Like many non-profits, the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce has had challenges with fundraising this year because events have been cancelled and groups can’t gather. They are doing a cash raffle currently. Contact the Chamber Office or reach out to Amy Todd (Executive Director) via Facebook to get a ticket.
Honor Flight Network
I would venture to say this may be favorite charity of all the charities. I have such a soft spot for veterans, particularly World War II veterans. This organization flies WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War vets to Washington D.C. to spend a day visiting the national war monuments that have been erected in their honor. I have been at Midway Airport for one of their welcome home celebrations after a flight and it was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. To see everyone lining the airport with flags, band playing, people singing, people waving and congratulating them and cheering for them like they are the rock stars they truly are is so touching. I think everyone, especially every kid or teen, should experience that at least once. They have a big group of dedicated volunteers including my friend Maureen Grady-Perovich. They haven’t done flights this year because of the pandemic, but go to honorflight.org to make a donation for when flights resume.
Lansing Meals on Wheels
I could not love this organization more. Unlike many other Meals that are government supported, this one is entirely volunteer run. It originated in the 1970s at the First United Methodist Church and has been running ever since, currently delivering meals to 70 or so in town who are elderly or homebound. It is run all by volunteers and funded entirely by donations. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, volunteers gather to prepare and deliver meals. I know many of the volunteers there and they are such wonderful, selfless people. I have also been providing desserts for the meals as a volunteer for probably 15 years. They’re always in need of volunteers for that—maybe once every three or four months I get a call. I drop off three or four dozen desserts and it helps keep the costs down. So, get in touch with the church—they can direct you on how to donate to the organization. If you’d like to be a dessert volunteer, they can use help in that area, too. And sometimes they need to add new kitchen volunteers or delivery drivers, so you might want to consider giving your time in that way if you aren’t able to give a financial gift.
Helmets for Cody toy drive
Run by the family of a local kid who sustained a head injury a few years ago, this annual Christmas toy drive brings joy to kids/families in need or who are undergoing medical treatment. They’re taking donations for their holiday project of toys or cash to purchase toys. Reach out to Colleen Clay Ziemkowski or contact them through their Facebook page.
Wildlife Educational Exhibit of Northwest Indiana
Run by a gentleman I know through the Griffith Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America that our family has been a member of for several years, the Wildlife Educational Exhibit of Northwest Indiana is a traveling exhibit that goes around the area and the state to visit schools, churches, and other groups to help them learn about wildlife in the region. There’s also a cool component to it where local hunters donate meat to needy families and they are contacted by police/DNR if a deer or animal has been hit, but the meat can be harvested and then they process that meat to donate to to families in need. If wildlife and conservation is your passion, consider giving to help keep this project going. With few events this year, there hasn’t been an opportunity to get donations as there usually would be. Reach out through their Facebook page to donate.
St. Anne School
I saw a post on Facebook about St. Ann Catholic School in Lansing and that unless they raise a large amount of funds, the school is in in danger of closing. Donations are being sought to keep the school open. Let me start by saying I support both public and private school. My kids have attended both public and private schools in Lansing and in Munster, including Trinity Lutheran School (where my oldest son attended a year of preschool), which closed in recent years and St. John Lutheran School in Lansing, (where my oldest son attended junior high and three of my kids attended preschool), which closed last year. St. Ann holds a special place in my heart. Although I’m not catholic, all of my older siblings married catholics, so I’ve been to a lot of catholic churches over the years for christenings and school events. My brother’s three girls all attended St. Ann from kindergarten though 8th grade and their family were members for decades before they all moved. Some of my boys also were in Cub Scouts at St. Ann so I’ve spent a lot of time in that church basement for scout meetings where my husband was also a leader for a few years. It would be such a shame to see this school close, especially since it’s one of only two private schools left in Lansing. If St. Ann is special to you, too, or if you simply don’t want to see it close, please contact the school and consider giving a donation.
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