It was more than just a toothache.
When 14-year-old dog Lola came to the Spokane Humane Society following the death of her owner, veterinary staff determined she needed 19 teeth removed.
Lola had the dental work done and has since been adopted thanks to the care she received under the Humane Society’s Special Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Program.
This year for Giving Tuesday – an annual nationwide movement to encourage charitable donations during the holidays – the Humane Society elected to solicit support for the STAR program, which provides treatment to animals with extensive health care needs.
The program received about $2,000 in donations as of midday Tuesday.
“Each one comes in with different needs,” said Gail Golden, its director of development and communications.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic chaos it’s created, there may be no better year to give to local nonprofits.
A natural complement to the shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday following Thanksgiving every year, Giving Tuesday is a philanthropic movement founded in New York City in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. It branched off as its own organization last year.
Local organizations, including the Spokane United Way, were eager to jump on board and have made it an annual tradition.
Meals on Wheels Spokane was another local charity in need of support on – and beyond – Giving Tuesday.
The nonprofit, like so many others, had to dramatically shift operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, all while seeing an increased need for help in the community.
Meals on Wheels transitioned to a socially distanced delivery system for its seniors during the pandemic. Volunteers picked up meals curbside.
Instead of delivering daily hot meals, the volunteers – many of whom are also seniors and retirees – delivered frozen meals once a week and dropped them off in an outdoor cooler to prevent person-to-person contact.
For many seniors, and the volunteers, that lack of contact was a loss, said Sarah Hall, the nonprofit’s development director.
Meanwhile, more people are signing up for meal delivery and the nonprofit’s food costs have risen 25%. Meals on Wheels lowered the minimum age to 55 and seniors no longer have to be homebound to participate – they can also be in isolation due to COVID-19.
Last year, Meals on Wheels set a $5,000 fundraising goal for Giving Tuesday, and bumped that up to $10,000 this year. It started participating in the campaign a few years ago and now it’s just a “no-brainer,” Hall said.
“People are looking for ways to give back right now, especially this year, everyone wants a little Christmas cheer,” Hall said. “We want to make it as easy as possible.”
It’s not just about money. Hall noted the organization is always in search of volunteers, especially as it reintroduces hot meal deliveries.
The organization also is embarking on a holiday giving campaign. People can purchase an item on the wish list posted on the Meals on Wheels website and drop it off at the West Second Avenue headquarters, or donate cash directly toward the effort. Items include puzzles, scarves, hats and blankets.
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