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By Michelle Lewis

How Can You Help

By Michelle Lewis Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Are you interested in helping, here and there, with some local nonprofits but don’t know where to start?  Or need a service project for a local school, church, neighborhood, or Scout group?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Below is a quick sampling of the needs of various nonprofits in our community.  

Kidzu Children’s Museum – Kidzu is a nonprofit children’s museum dedicated to providing children with opportunities to learn through doing.  This is a museum in which children are encouraged to touch everything, ask lots of questions, use their energy, and, especially, use their hands to build, draw, and create!  A great way to make this opportunity available to more children is to buy Kidzu gift memberships ($75) for the Children’s Hospital and The Arc.  If you have any young ones at home who need a day out of the house during cold winter days, don’t forget that Kidzu has moved to a new bright, cheery location at University Square. http://kidzuchildrensmuseum.org/home

Meals on Wheels – Meals on Wheels provides 20,000 nutritious meals annually to the homebound in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.  Many MOW clients are either elderly, ill, or otherwise incapacitated.  MOW volunteers deliver a warm, balanced meal each day – along with a smile and “How are you?”  MOW Carrboro/Chapel Hill delivers meals to approximately 110 people every day.  There are a lot of ways you can help.  You can volunteer to deliver meals (about  1 ½ hours), donate baked goods, make cheery greeting cards, or make a financial donation.  A donation of $25 will provide a week’s worth of meals to a MOW client. http://www.chcmow.org/support.html.  My children and I started delivering meals to MOW clients in the fall.  It has been a great experience; one we heartily recommend.

Orange County Rape Crisis Center – The Rape Crisis Center is much more than a 24-hour Crisis Line.  It provides support groups, community education and outreach services, and a trained response team when a sexual assault has occurred.  The Center currently is in particular need of used cell phones.  It does not matter how old your cell phone is, the Rape Crisis Center can use it.  Other items on the Center’s wish list can be found at:  http://www.ocrcc.org/wishlist.html.

SECU Family House – Family House provides a “home away from home” for families who have a parent being treated for a critical illness or injury at UNC Hospitals.  It is a warm, welcoming place with comfortable rooms, a huge kitchen, sunny eating area, playroom, and cozy places to snuggle up and be alone or read a book.  My daughter’s Girl Scout Troop and 4-H Club enjoys visiting Family House and donating Girl Scout cookies, as well as baked goods and various items on Family House’s wish list.  The wish list can be found at: http://secufamilyhouse.org/get-involved/wish-list/.  

UNC North Carolina Children’s Hospital – There are lots of wonderful ways to help!  My favorite way is to browse through their Wish Book http://www.ncchildrenspromise.org/pubs/wishbook/.  Our Girl Scout troop had a great time doing this because there are over 100 items from which you can choose.  Select the item, enter it online, and NC Children’s Promise will purchase the item with your donation and deliver it to the hospital.  For example, you could give $4 for rattles, $14 for puzzles, or $12 for card games.  Or you could give $10 for lots of bubbles, $10 for teddy bears, and $5 for coloring books and crayons.  So snuggle up with a family member or friend, look at the Wish Book, and choose whatever delights make you smile.

There are, of course, lots of other ways to give to your community.  In the weeks to come, I will be highlighting some of the ways in which you can share your energy, time, ideas, and other resources with those who need your help.

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