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April 20, 2014

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Tips on how you can do your part this holiday season—and beyond

From Opportunity Village’s Linda Smith

1. Donate any amount of money you can We’ve all gotten phone calls asking for varying degrees of money, and it’s easy to simply say, “We don’t have it in our budget this year.” But Smith suggests saying to those callers, “Will you take a dollar?” Odds are, they’ll say yes.

2. Volunteer time Take it from Smith—even an hour spent at a nonprofit is appreciated. And if you don’t have the time to drive out somewhere, you can help out without leaving your house. “You can spend an hour on the phone making calls for a charity,” she says.

3. Donate something “We all have stuff we don’t use anymore, and most of us figure that stuff is worthless. But at our thrift stores, your trash is our treasure,” Smith says. “Our thrift store is able to employ 40 people, half of them with disabilities, because of people’s donations.”

4. Don’t throw away things that aren’t really garbage “One thing that drives me crazy is someone putting a perfectly good bicycle on the curb on trash day,” Smith says, adding most charities will come to your door to pick up your “trash.” “I see this kind of thing all day long; it gives me heartburn. I’ll ring the doorbell and ask them to call Opportunity Village so we can pick it up.”

5. Sponsor a child for the charity of your choice Nearly every charity in town serves children in one way or another, and every dollar or volunteer hour coming in makes a tremendous difference in the life of a child. Call your favorite charity to find out how you can help, but Smith says in most cases it’s simple—giving an old toy, giving a dollar, picking up the phone.

6. Start a toy drive at your business Most businesses in town have toy drives, but Smith says if yours doesn’t, take the initiative and get one started. “We’ve found out that if we go to any business in town and ask them to help, they say yes.”

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