Local nonprofits are ‘thankful’ for community help around the holidays


H. Beck, Illustrator

An illustration of someone giving a gift to another during the holiday season. Local Corvallis, Ore. nonprofits say they appreciate community gifts anytime of year, including around the holidays.

Katterlea MacGregor, News Contributor

No matter what holidays you celebrate, December’s rain and air of festivity and joy may inspire you to get into the giving mood. 

One of the easiest ways to give this holiday season is with the Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis, Ore. This nonprofit accepts both physical and monetary donations every day of the week. Posted on their website is a wishlist of items they need.

“[Wishlist items are] the best way to help us,” said Debra Steeprow, the shelter manager at Heartland Humane.

Some of these items include dry cat and dog food, peanut butter and cleaning supplies like bleach or glass cleaner. Office supplies such as copy paper and dry erase pens are also included.

For those who wish to donate their time, the Heartland Humane Society is only seeking long-term pre-veterinary or veterinarian technician student volunteers who can commit to a regular, weekly shift. 

Quilts From Caring Hands is a volunteer-run nonprofit that works year-round to create quilts for at-risk children in Benton, Linn and Marion counties.

Beth Baird has been volunteering with QCH for almost 24 years. She said she is proud to announce that within 2021 alone, the organization crafted 880 quilts. These included crib and twin-sized quilts as well as tactile quilts for visually-impaired children.

This nonprofit accepts cloth and monetary donations. It is preferred that cloth donations be made from 100% cotton and at least a fat quarter in size, or one-fourth yard, which is approximately 18 inches by 22 inches. 

Those looking to volunteer can attend one of QCH’s weekly meetings on Wednesday mornings at the Philomath Scout Lodge in Philomath, Ore. These are drop-in style meets that are open to anyone willing to help.  

“Come when you can,” Baird said. “Stay as long as you can. Do as much as you can.” 

Anyone looking to check off holiday shopping lists while giving back to their community can purchase one of QCH’s quilts at Shonnard’s, located at 6600 Philomath Blvd. in Corvallis, Ore. The profits from these sales return to QCH.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new rules and regulations for volunteering and donating at many nonprofits. Some of these organizations would benefit most from financial gifts this season.

Stone Soup Corvallis was established in 1982 and grew into a large network of community members providing meals for those in need. Currently, they provide between 3,000-4,000 meals a month.

The daily meals are open to anyone who is hungry, no questions asked. Meals are hot, nutritious and cooked by volunteers.

Sara Ingle, the president of the board at Stone Soup, stressed that “anybody is welcome at our meals—we would welcome hungry students, if they’re food insecure.”

This holiday season, Stone Soup is accepting financial gifts but not small food donations unless it is locally-grown produce. For Corvallis residents with access to fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, Stone Soup is a great place to donate delicious harvests.

Volunteering has been limited for this organization because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Small kitchen sizes limit the amount of people that can prepare a meal at any time, but Stone Soup is accepting volunteers who can commit to a routine schedule.

Those looking to volunteer can sign up for repeated weekly shifts in the kitchen. There are also opportunities to work as greeters or food runners. 

Just like Stone Soup, Community Outreach, Inc. is accepting financial gifts this holiday season.

COI is a local nonprofit that provides a large variety of services such as transformational housing, medical and dental help, treatment services and childcare.

COI’s Gift of Caring campaign runs through the holiday season. People can contribute in their loved one’s name, and funds generated from this event return to vulnerable people in the area.

“As with many nonprofits, our December fundraising is critical to getting through the rest of the year,” said Ben Danley, the executive director at COI.  “Supporting our Gifts of Caring program or making a year-end gift are huge for helping us continue doing what we do.”

One-time volunteers are not currently accepted at COI, but longer-term volunteer opportunities are available.

Those looking for a simple way to gift can head over to the Pastega Christmas Light Display. This free event provides an opportunity to donate small food items for Linn Benton Food Share.

Donations fuel nonprofit activity, no matter the time of year. 

“We really are thankful, and without the community, we wouldn’t be here,” Steeprow said.


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