With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, it's time to start thinking about giving back to our community.
Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday directly after Thanksgiving, which in turn takes place on the 4th Thursday of November.
Giving Tuesday was created to help the “giving season” get started, reminding people that there is more to holidays than consumerism and commercialization.
Here's a list of a few Central Texas and Brazos Valley nonprofit organizations to consider giving to today and in the future:
Shepherds Heart Food Pantry
Shepherd's Heart's mission "is to feed, clothe, empower, and advocate for families in need in our community, demonstrating to them the love of God."
Shepherds Heart Food Pantry began serving families in need in June, 2010.
"We exist to meet poverty and hunger head on and overcome it," the organization says. Today it is one of the largest Food Pantries in Central Texas serving thousands of families to protect their children from being without food.
Their services include Empowerment Programs, their resale store Things from the Heart, and their annual Toys from the Heart program providing Christmas to over 500 children that are “homeless."
Families in Crisis
Families In Crisis, Inc. (FIC), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, houses, supports, and empowers people experiencing family violence, sexual violence, and homelessness.
FIC was established in 1980 to assist and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault in Bell, Coryell, and Hamilton counties in Texas, including Fort Hood.
What started as a grassroots effort by volunteers has since evolved into a multi-program, comprehensive social service organization that continues to serve survivors of family/sexual violence as well as veterans and their families and the homeless and at-risk for homelessness populations.
Services include: emergency safe shelter for survivors of family/sexual violence; transitional and permanent housing assistance; crisis intervention counseling; case management; 24-hour hotline; hospital accompaniment; provision of food, clothing, personal care items, and household items; support groups; life skills classes, and information and referral.
Caritas of Waco
Caritas of Waco's mission is to provide emergency/supplemental assistance in the form of food, clothing, household items, utility, medication, rent and mortgage aid to people in need in the Waco community.
Caritas has been serving the community for over 50 years.
Some of their programs include emergency assistance with prescription medications, utilities, rent and mortgage assistance, transportation. A Veterans' Outreach Case Management Program. A Employment Case Management Program. Caritas operates two resale stores in the Waco area providing clothing and other items. They have a partnership with the Walmart Returns Center called Gifts-In-Kind which distributes hundreds of thousands of pounds of paper products and household items to organizations and food pantries serving people in need.
The majority of their recipients are residents of McLennan County, although there are no geographical restrictions to receiving services. Recipients are interviewed to determine their needs for emergency services and case management.
To donate to Caritas of Waco, click here.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Brazos Valley
Big Brothers Big Sisters recruits community volunteers (Big Brothers/Big Sisters) to match them with at-risk youth (Little Brothers/Little Sisters). Bigs "provide encouragement, friendship, guidance and support to children in need of a positive and caring adult role model in their life."
Children ages 6 to 16 can apply to enroll in our program, and they can stay matched up to age 21. The average age for Littles is 12. BBBS of Brazos Valley recognizes "the value of prevention, providing a positive adult role model for children before they get in trouble in the first place."
BBBS of the Brazos Valley serves 250 children per year. Children who participate in BBBS are proven to be more likely to stay out of trouble, stay in school and graduate high school.
"We are a 100% volunteer and donor-supported organization. We have no revenue from fees or earned income. Our funding comes from donations by individuals, grants, and special events such as Bowl for Kids' Sake and other fundraising events," their website says.
Feed My Sheep
Feed My Sheep is a Christ-centered, Temple-based, all-volunteer non-profit organization formed to provide, through community involvement, nourishment and basic human needs to the homeless and needy people of Bell County.
The organization provides free hot meals and sack lunches seven days a week. They also offer showers, laundry facilities, and other personal services such as haircuts and wellness clinics free of charge.
Programs include The Shepherd's Cafe, Resource Center, The Well - Woman's Day Center, The Locker Room - Men's Day Center, The Furniture Program, The "Jim Hornsby" Children's Clinic.
Feed My Sheep provides the following services free of charge: Daily meal - hot meal and sack lunch to go. Breakfast and dinner on select days. Showers and Laundry. Provide fellowship, ministry, mentoring, and advising. Women's Day Center ministry. Fax and internet capabilities. Free children's medical clinic. GED classes. 12-step recovery programs. Haircuts, wellness checks, shoes, clothing, hygiene necessities, sleeping bags, and other basic needs. Serve as an intermediary with social services agencies, rehabilitation facilities, the Department of Veteran's Administration, and other institutions and services as deemed necessary.
To donate to Feed My Sheep, and to learn more, click here.
B/CS Habitat for Humanity
Founded in July 1989, B/CS Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. The non-profit organization partners with local low-income families in need of decent housing to help them build and buy decent, affordable homes of their own.
B/CS Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Their affiliate began building homes in 1989 on scattered sites throughout Bryan and College Station.
B/CS Habitat for Humanity serves families in Bryan and College Station, Texas, who earn between 35%-80% of the median income and are in need of quality affordable housing.
To donate to Habitat for Humanity, click here.
Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children
The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children began in 1976 as the Waco Rape Crisis Center. It has grown into an umbrella agency with three programs, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), The Victims Center, and Prevention and Education – offering many services to the hurting in the community.
Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children offers forensic interviews and medical exams, crisis counseling, prevention and education and other services to children and victims of crime in McLennan, Hill, Falls, Limestone, Bosque and Freestone counties.
"Although approximately 80% of victims served at the agency are survivors of sexual assault, we help ALL victims, always free of charge," the organization says.
Over the past year the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children has: Conducted 452 developmentally sensitive and legally sound forensic interviews for children ages 2-17. Responded to 386 crisis hotline calls. Performed 241 sexual assault medical exams of children and adults in the Central Texas region. Provided direct counseling and advocacy services to 3,622 primary and secondary victims of crime. Presented 1,500 prevention related programs to more than 10,250 community members.
ImPossible Paradigm Shifters Youth Program
ImPossible is a 501c(3) Nonprofit teen mentoring and sports organization that serves the teens of Harker Heights, Ft. Hood and Killeen, Texas since 2016. The teen center is a supervised environment where teens can express and explore their interest, with the guidance of mentors.
Personal Growth, Entrepreneurship, and Sports are the foundation of ImPossible.
"Our teenagers deal with parents leaving for deployment, wars, and to the field leaving our teens with a constantly changing environments causing a lot of teens to never have consistency during the most important times of their growth and development," the organization says.
ImPossible Teen Campus will provide an environment that natures their growth and help provide them some consistency. Education, Entrepreneurship, and sports are the foundation of ImPossible, Teens receive training classes on jobs creation and 21century jobs such as; coding, e-commerce, website building, S.T.E.M etc...the program provides teens a supervised environment to explore their interest and develop life skills.
United Way of the Brazos Valley
United Way of the Brazos Valley fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in the Brazos Valley.
The United Way of the Brazos Valley strengthens the community by identifying issues facing the Brazos Valley, engaging individuals to build strategies and mobilizing resources to invest in change. They invest through Community Impact Grants to local nonprofit organizations and Investment Initiatives including 2-1-1 Texas, Youth Leadership Cabinet, Early Literacy Programs and the Financial Stability Innovation Fund.
Located in Bryan, Texas, United Way of the Brazos Valley serves the seven counties of the Brazos Valley:
Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, Washington.
United Way of the Brazos Valley annually invests $182,500 in health initiatives through Community Impact Grants. In addition to the Youth Leadership Cabinet and Early Literacy Programs, United Way of the Brazos Valley annually invests $37,500 in education initiatives through Community Impact Grants.