Dec 092010
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Times are tight for everyone, I know. You probably don’t have a lot of extra money to even buy gifts for your family. But it’s still the season for giving.

There are a lot of ways you can give back, however, without giving a monetary donation. For many organizations, what they really need is your time.

Local organizations that always need help are your local food banks. Larimer County is no exception.

According to, “The Food Bank for Larimer County’s volunteers helped us collect, sort, repack and distribute over 7.5 million pounds of food last year. ”

If you don’t have the ability to donate your time, you can also donate items. Items can be dropped off at the food bank, or you can go to one of the many food drives that occur this time of year.

Another way to give back is through toy drives. There are many families who cannot afford to give their children gifts, and you can help. There are two main drives in Larimer County.

The first is Toys for Tots. You can drop off toys at many locations, including the Foothills Mall.

According to, “The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.”

Just like the food bank, you can donate both items (new toys) and your time.

The other toy drive is done through Santa Cops of Larimer County.

According to, “Together, we try to provide underprivileged children of Larimer County with three small gifts to bring a Merry Christmas to their homes. Our mission is to promote a positive law enforcement image with these children. Children need to experience officers as caring people who are willing to provide positive support.”

This program takes donated toys and then has officers from Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Department, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and CSUPD wrap and deliver these toys to families in need.

This organization accepts toy donations, but it can also use volunteers. People are needed to process applications, fundraise and coordinate programs.

If you do have the ability to make a monetary donation, there are many non-profit groups that could use your help. Many organizations address problems in the U.S., such as D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training), and help teach young kids to stay away from bad influences in their lives.

Another group I personally like is Heifer International.

According to, “Heifer International is a global nonprofit with a proven solution to ending hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Heifer helps empower millions of families to lift them out of poverty and hunger to self-reliance through gifts of livestock, seeds and trees and extensive training, which provide a multiplying source of food and income.”

Through this organization, you can donate money for an animal, and that animal will be used to feed a family through milk, eggs and meat.

Although I only mentioned a few organizations you can donate to, there are literally thousands out there, and most of them are tax-deductible.

Whether you can make a monetary donation or a donation of your time, anything you can do will help others. There are many of us who are struggling, but we still have it a lot better off than many people do.

Do your part, and donate this holiday season. You will feel good about it and you get to help others. There is no better feeling than seeing a child’s face light up because you gave him or her a new best friend in a stuffed animal.

Robyn Scherer is a graduate student studying integrated resource management. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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