Rhode Island Monthly: “Support Rhode Island Nonprofits in Need this Holiday Season”

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December 16, 2020
By Nancy Kirsch

In good times and bad, volunteering can be satisfying. COVID’s impact has left some nonprofit organizations scrambling to reconfigure their volunteering/fundraising model, especially after galas and events have been canceled. Don’t wait for the New Year to support a cause you believe in.

Children’s Friend, serving the state’s most vulnerable children, will deliver holiday cheer this year. Money, diapers and gift cards are needed, as are holiday gifts fulfilling Adopt-a-Family holiday wish lists. The website links to Amazon for easy shopping and giving. cfsri.org

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation “doesn’t tell someone they have the wrong cancer if they need support,” says executive director Maria Gemma. The Pawtucket-based organization’s new Hands of Hope initiative provides assistance with housing and grocery expenses to individuals in active cancer treatment. With 2020 fundraising revenue slashed, even small donations help. gloriagemma.org

The pandemic shut down an annual fundraiser bash, student art exhibits, community events and on-site volunteering at New Urban Arts, a community arts studio for youth. Despite significant financial repercussions, its “fundraising initiatives are moving full-steam ahead,” so financial donations — but not art supplies — are welcome, says executive director Daniel Schleifer. “Delivering art supplies to students at home” has been an especially successful engagement tool. newurbanarts.org

With COVID-19 shutting down Potter League for Animals’ big spring and summer fundraisers, the Middletown organization invited people to “walk for animals, wherever they are” and peer-to-peer fundraise, says director of marketing and communications Kara Montalbano. Now hosting mobile pet food pantries in Newport and beyond, the agency welcomes wish list/cash donations and volunteers for helping with vaccinations and cleaning. potterleague.org

Amid the pandemic, Save the Bay reconfigured its annual Taste of the Bay event into a stay-at-home fundraiser for restaurants that have supported the organization. “Save the Bay Swim supporters held swimming, biking, kayaking, running and walking fundraising challenges,” says director of communications Katy Dorchies. Volunteers can also mark storm drains to reduce marine debris or clean shorelines. savebay.org

Fundraising and onsite volunteers kept the Westerly-based WARM Center chugging along until COVID-19, when “everything came to a screeching halt,” says executive director Russ Partridge; grab-and-go meals replaced WARM’s soup kitchen. Community members, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Champlin Foundation provided invaluable help, and one new donor has contributed $100 every week since early March. warmcenter.org