Posted by: endyvendy | December 15, 2009

Giving Locally: Scrooge Did It and So Can You!

This time of year most of us find ourselves besieged by mass mailings, envelopes stuffed with address labels, calendars, weird stickers, and even nickels (what’s that about?!? are they donating to me now?). But you don’t have to look far for opportunities to give back, and in fact your hard-earned cash may go further used locally. If you don’t have cash to give, you might consider giving a little time or even blood. The following guide is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a place to start if you’re hoping to help a neighbor out this year.

Helping Neighbors

Cornerstone Community Foundation – Cornerstone hosts a soup kitchen, a shelter, a community center where youth and families enjoy a variety of activities, a clothing bank, and more. The website offers helpful donation info.

Hockanum Valley Community Council – this multi-faceted organization helps the community in a variety of ways, assisting elders, providing food to the hungry, childcare, and other support to many Vernon families. Their webpage includes an easy-to-use donation page and information about volunteering.

Big Brothers Big Sisters – BBBS always collects winter coats this time of year to distribute to their “littles,” but more than anything what BBBS can use is your time. Whether you can commit to a full big brother/big sister relationship or would rather offer time tutoring and mentoring, you’ll find your time well-spent volunteering with BBBS. On a personal note, I had a great time in this program as a Big Sister to a local little sis, and although she’s since graduated high school and moved, we stay in touch.

Vernon Social Services – offers assistance to families all year round, but during the holidays clothes, toys, meals, and energy assistance are all big needs.

Tri-Town Shelter – this family-oriented shelter serves clients from Vernon, Tolland, and Ellington – tri-town in function, if not always in funding. Donations of clothing and food are always needed, and money is of course welcome as well.

Red Cross – give time or blood, the choice is yours. It’s always needed!

Eastern Connecticut Health Network – the hospital and other ECHN locations do a lot in our community. The website offers a secure donation page. ECHN also offers a range of volunteer activities accomodating almost any skill or set of interests. For more on volunteering, click here.

Helping the Town

Rockville Downtown Association – this non-profit organization dedicates its time to enhancing and preserving historic downtown Rockville. Time and money are always needed. For other organizations that can use your assistance around town, check out the Civil War Museum and the Historical Society.


Helping the Environment

Vernon Greenways – this group does important work clearing invasive plants and maintaining trails in the extensive Vernon trail system.

Friends of Valley Falls – between the pond, the trails, and the historic farm, Valley Falls Park contributes greatly to the quality of life in Vernon. Maintaining these facilities is no small task – time and money are always needed!

Parks and Recreation – you can donate to help Parks and Rec with their work maintaining the parks or even donate to help subsidize scholarships for low income families to participate in Parks and Recreation’s many year-round programs.

Shopping Locally

And don’t forget – as you’re finishing up that holiday shopping, you might try shopping locally to help area businesses. A gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant like Utsav, Cafe Lafayette, Lotus (409 Hartford Turnpike), or the ever-popular Rein’s Deli might be just the thing for that friend who has everything. Local shops like Magic Intent, Kevin’s Coffee Roasters (78 Windsor Ave.), and the Garden Barn are just a few examples of places that offer unique gifts you won’t find just anywhere. Or you might give a gift that keeps on giving like lessons at Hidden Dragon, DanceNation, or Tri-town Gymnastics.

Happy Holidays!

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