I’m going to find homes for these kittens, even if it kills me.
Learn more about volunteering or make a donation at paws.org, or call 215.238.9901.
Also: Anyone want a kitten for Christmas?
More Charities/Nonprofits Worth Donating to This Season
Location: 31 E. Armat St.
Year established: 1999
Stated purpose: “We work to help homeless and runaway youth escape the streets forever and transition to a life with stable housing, a solid educational foundation and sustained employment. Our strategy to achieve that goal is to find homeless and runaway youth, help them come in off the streets and provide them the services they need to overcome their challenges.”
Annual operating budget: $3,691,904 in 2010.
Are donations tax deductible?: Yes.
Volunteers needed for: Assisting youth in employment-related tasks; mentoring youth in educational and practical skills; administrative support (filing, mass mailings, managing clothing donations, etc.); and youth-care support (driving kids to appointments, preparing food, etc.).
Why Covenant House deserves our support: Homelessness has long been a major concern in Philadelphia, but in recent years—given the terrible economic climate and rise in home foreclosures—the number of people out on the streets has spiked dramatically. It’s a full-fledged crisis, especially when it comes to homeless children and teenagers who desperately need stability and hope for the future during their formative years. Since 1999, Covenant House has been the largest provider of services to homeless and runaway youth in Philly. It operates a 51-bed Crisis Center in Germantown, offering no-questions-asked emergency shelter; provides food, clothing, health care and many types of counseling to kids on the streets; links youth with education and vocational training services; and works to combat human trafficking in the Philadelphia area. Covenant House serves more than 6,000 kids each year, and that’s not cheap, so they can use every dollar you can spare. (Michael Alan Goldberg)
The Breathing Room Foundation
Location: 120 S. York Rd., Hatboro, Pa.
Year established: 1997
Stated purpose: To provide families surviving cancer with whatever it is that will allow them a bit of “breathing room” during their daily struggle with the disease.
Annual operating budget: $250,000
Are donations tax deductible?: Yes
Volunteers needed to: Help families with cancer get through a day with fewer bumps in the road.
Why Breathing Room Foundation
deserves our support: If cancer has, in one of its many insidious forms, touched someone you know or love—and there’s a pretty good chance it has—then you know how debilitating, trying and incredibly terrifying it can be. That last trait—terrifying—is one the cancer patient and those around him or her carry together, and the Breathing Room Foundation was founded to help lighten the load. Co-founder Bernie Fitzgerald watched his wife Diane wage a six-year battle with cancer before she passed. Through it, he was touched by the kindness of friends and family who offered support in various ways—even seemingly tiny gestures meant the world. It was with that in mind that the Breathing Room Foundation was created. The money they raise is used to give families struggling with cancer a bit of “breathing room”—home renovations, school supplies, vacations, meal deliveries, grocery shopping, any help with daily ins and outs—to ensure their efforts are able to be focused on regaining physical health. Every bit counts. (Brian McManus)
Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR)
Location: 1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Year established: 1971
Stated purpose: “WOAR’s mission is to eliminate all forms of sexual violence through specialized treatment services, comprehensive prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of victims of sexual assault.”
Annual operating budget: $1,620,418
Are donations tax deductible?: Yes
Volunteers needed for: WOAR hires volunteers to staff the 24-hour hotline and to help survivors in need of medical attention. Volunteers become crisis counselors, advocates and educators. Background checks and a 40-hour training course are required.
Why WOAR deserves our support: Because one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 in this country. WOAR is one of the few organizations in the area dedicated to helping survivors and their families overcome the myriad effects of abuse. It helps both male and female survivors who experienced abuse—whether it happened yesterday or 20 years ago—by providing individual, group and couples counseling. Targeted therapy and a strong support system can help survivors overcome this debilitating trauma. (Nina Hoffmann)
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Location: 123 S. Broad St.
Year established: Nationally, 1904; Southeastern Pa. agency, 1915.
Stated purpose: “To provide guidance and companionship to youth through a one-to-one relationship with a caring volunteer to assist them to achieve their highest potential.”
Operating budget: $4.25 million
Are donations tax deductible? Yes.
Volunteers needed for: There are more than 1,000 children in our area on the waiting list for a Big Brother or Big Sister. Volunteer mentors agree to meet with their little brother/sister for a few hours at least twice a month. This time can be spent doing whatever the “Littles” like to do, from going to a museum to just spending time together. The organization also offers an array of free tickets, discount opportunities and agency-sponsored events.
Why does BBBS deserve our support? In addition to guidance, “Bigs” can provide a much-needed outlet for support. Kids involved in the program are no strangers to tough times and sometimes a little attention can go a long way to shape someone’s future. The organization has a proven track record of helping kids stay out of trouble. “For the past two years, 85 percent of mentees in our program had zero unexcused absences in a city where nearly 10,000 students are chronically truant each year,” says Ted Qualli, VP of External Affairs. (Anastasia Barbalios)
Philadelphia Children’s Alliance
Location: 42 S. 15th St.
Year established: 1989
Stated purpose: “The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, an independent nonprofit organization, promotes healing and justice for victims of child sexual abuse in Philadelphia by conducting forensic interviews, providing victim-support services, collaborating with other agencies and leading the development of an integrated response.”
Annual operating budget: $2,446,043
Are donations tax deductible?: Yes.
Volunteers needed for: Direct service: weekly arts and crafts and other self-esteem-building programs for kids, as well as facilitating caretaker support groups for parents and other caregivers. Organization: assisting with fundraisers, mailings and other administrative work.
Why the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance deserves our support: While incidents of long-running child sexual abuse at Penn State and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have made headlines this year, the sad reality is that the problem is more pervasive than most of us realize—many, many more children are being sexually abused every day in our city. To help kids get through such life-shattering trauma, the PCA has built a Center City facility where a team of crisis counselors, forensic interviewers and victim advocates work one-on-one with children and their families to end the abuse, bring perpetrators to justice and begin the healing process. In addition to cash donations and volunteers, the PCA can also use donations of SEPTA passes, gift cards to Target and other retailers and new stuffed animals, games, books and art supplies. (M.A.G.)
Charities worth donating to, gifts that won't get thrown out and New Year's Eve events of all kinds.