As the holiday season hits its peak, so does the spirit of giving. Charities say the time has come to help out neighbors and those less fortunate so that they, too, may have a very merry holiday season. Opportunities to contribute are vast even though some events have already come and gone.
One event that is rapidly approaching is the United Way’s annual “Resolution Run.” The run is held on New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. in partnership with First Night, an organization for non-alcoholic events. Runners are encouraged to dress up and the will be given a prize if they are deemed wearing one of the top three costumes.
“Last year’s winning team was a Santa and reindeer that were tied together,” said Dawn Paepke, the campaign director for Larimer County United Way. Paepke said in general the costumes are holiday-oriented.
Pre-registration is $20 and race day registration is $25. Also, donations are accepted at the race and all proceeds benefit the United Ways of Larimer County.
“We get over 800 runners for the Resolution Run,” Paepke said.
The Larimer County Food Bank is another way to get into the spirit of donation or volunteering.
For each dollar donated, the Food Bank can distribute $10.20 worth of food. Sabrina Arch, the volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank said this is possible for two reasons:
“Because we have such a great volunteer commitment… and because we don’t pay for food,” she said.
Arch said this time of year is defiantly the height of both food and money donations and there are massive requests for volunteer opportunities.
“There is a small percentage of student volunteers because work takes place during the day when students are in school,” Arch said. However, she said student interest in volunteering at the Food Bank is on the rise.
Volunteering at the Food Bank means working in a warehouse to bag food and repackage bulk food donations to create a more suitable amount for a family.
“Volunteer opportunities are on an as-needed basis,” Arch said.
The Food Bank accepts donations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1301 Blue Spruce St.
Even though the technical deadline to donate to soldiers in the demilitarized zone in Korea has lapsed, people are still encouraged to donate past the deadline, according to a press release from Battalion Capt. Mike Curtis of the United Nations Command Security Battalion.
Soldiers like items such as playing cards, stationery, unused cards, stamps, candy, drink mixes, disposable cameras, word puzzles and Gillette Mach 3 razors, according to Curtis. However, he emphasized that one should use their imagination when picking out something to send.
If sending baked goods, they should be priority-mailed so they may be received while still fresh. Curtis said Christmas decorations or Santa hats are appreciated as well if mailed early enough.
The CSU service-based Hesperia club is getting into the spirit as well.
“We’re working with the Department of Human Services with the “Adopt a Family” program and we’re preparing food baskets,” said Hannah Pendelton, the president of Hesperia.
“If students want to help they can contact me and we’ll find a way for them to help out,” Pendelton said.
A couple events that have come and gone are the Beau Jo’s donations for the United Way and CSU’s Applied Human Science College Council’s (APHSCC) Christmas party.
From Dec 2nd to the 8th, Beau Jo’s customers were able to bring in a United Way flier. By doing so, 20 percent of their meal was donated to United Way.
“It was a success; anything helps at this time of the year,” said Ryan Parker, the general manager of Beau Jo’s in Old Town.
The APHSCC held their annual Christmas party for Even Start participants. According to Christy Benson, the president of the APHSCC, the Even Start is a literacy program for lower income families.
“It’s a program [participants] go through every day and we give them a Christmas party,” Benson said.
“[APHSCC] is a leadership group within the college [of applied human sciences] that also serves as the governing body of the college,” she said. Though the group usually puts on its annual Christmas party alone, this year they accepted help from education classes at CSU.”
There are numerous donation opportunities online as well.
The Salvation Army’s “The Angel Giving Tree” Web site makes it possible for people to pick out a gift online to purchase for a child who may not receive a gift otherwise. The program is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Another online donation site is the Habitat for Humanity’s “Gift from the Heart” program. Donors can chose to donate between $10 for a floor joist up to $250 for 50 bundles of roof shingles. The people benefiting from the donation will also receive a card telling them who donated the money to them.
For CSU students the giving season might be tough to participate in.
“I’m not donating because I don’t have money to even pay for my own food,” said Matt Epstein, a junior graphics design major. Although he said that he has dropped money in the Salvation Army buckets outside of grocery stores.
For other students, donating is something they do year round.
“We give clothes whenever they call from the Cerebral Palsy and also the ARC,” said Kiley O’Brien, a junior art major.
“I donated $50 to the church on Shields, St. John’s,” said Pat Dogherty, a junior economics major. “I think charities are a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit,” he said.
United Way of Larimer County 970-407-7000
Contact for sending donations to soldiers in Korea CurtisMR@usfk.korea.army.mil or Mike Curtis, UNCSB-JSA, UNIT 15162 Box 103, APO AP 96251-5162 ( be sure to include your address and a note to the soldiers if desirable)
Salvation Army 970-207-4472
Hannah Pendelton, Hesperia firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina Arch, Larimer County Food Bank 970-493-4477
Habitat for Humanity “Gifts from the Heart” www.habitat.org/giving/gfth.html
Salvation Army “The Angel Giving Tree” www.givingtree.org/default.asp?f=6&browser=true