Local Charity Holiday Guide

Locally focused charities help our neighbors move toward independence and security

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“In charity there is no excess”
–Francis Bacon

Giving Tuesday.  A season of thanks. Counting our blessings.  We all say these things and we all mean them. Starting well before the so called giving season, national and even international charities, all which make giving as convenient as a text message or click, begin their push to raise funds.  And they know their business. Studies indicate that most individual households do the lion share of their giving (upwards toward 50%) during the last quarter of the year.

Living in the shadows of giant fundraising operations are local charities that labor tirelessly for our community. They are often doing work that desperately needs to be done but falls in-between the cracks of large foundations and government services. The work of these organizations and charities seldom makes for good optics. Their efforts are on the front lines of poverty, illness and hopelessness.

These organizations are the true definition of local, working with our displaced and distressed neighbors to assist in supporting the most basic of human needs.  Needs like clothing, food, shelter, and self-security. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, charitable giving to these “human services” organizations constitutes only 12% of the $389 billion Americans give each year.

We are a charitable nation and community. Certainly, we want to cure cancer and be of assistance during natural disasters. But there are those in our community who are suffering setbacks and crises that are doing so unnoticed and in silence. A few of their advocates are listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list of local charities nor do we endorse these charities above any others. Our goal is to raise awareness for local organizations like these and ask, during a season where so many of us count our blessings, to return some of those gifts to our local community.

Cover photo provided by Morguefile. 

Blessings in Disguise

The mission of Blessings in Disguise is to provide short term financial assistance in the areas of health, education, and general welfare to individuals when government assistance is not available or the individual does not qualify for such assistance based upon the need.

Old Newsboys Goodfellows Association

With the motto of “Assistance Without Delay and a creed of “100% for Charity”, the Old Newsboys are driven by a straight-forward, yet important mission: “No child Shall Miss School for Lack of Shoes or Coat.”. Our goal has been the same since our founding in 1929: “Immediate Emergency Service when a School Administrator, Police Officer, Fire Official, or Neighbor reports a child in need.”

Family House

Family House is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing homeless families in crisis with professional, comprehensive housing and social services in a safe, caring environment. The goal at Family House is to help families in their time of crisis find permanent housing, help them regain control over their lives, and reclaim their independence through education, community resources and compassion. We keep families together when it matters most. Family House offers a hand up, not a hand out.

Cancer Connection

At Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, Inc., we believe no individual with cancer should have to take the journey alone. We provide connections to vital resources, give hands-on support, and organize unique and meaningful programming for patients and their families in our community. We strive to meet the needs of the whole person—physical, emotional, and spiritual—and focus on caring for the hearts and minds of those individuals impacted by cancer. Our services are available for free for any person of any age with any cancer, from newborn to adult.

Food For Thought

Every month, Food For Thought mobile pantries provide food assistance at multiple partner sites throughout greater Toledo. We help people who face the realities of food insecurity, offering a choice of nutritious meal options, including shelf-stable items and fresh produce. Maintaining our patrons’ dignity — and serving them thoughtfully — is our utmost priority. We invite you to join us in fulfilling our mission today!

Sylvania Area Family Services

SAFS is Sylvania’s largest nonprofit which operates without a consistent, sustainable source of funding, which is why ongoing sponsorships and events become so important to our organization. In turn, the SAFS strategy is to innovate, create, and collaborate to leverage additional community resources to both maximize and be good stewards of donor dollars. Investing locally is a sure way you can make a difference in Sylvania.

Toledo Seagate Food Bank

The mission of SeaGate Food Bank is to enhance the quality of life in Northwest Ohio by relentlessly working to eliminate hunger and improve nutrition. Each month, we collect and distribute fresh produce and packaged food to over 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, and programs that feed the hungry in our region. Unlike other programs, SeaGate Food Bank never charges for its services. And since food is not the only need, we continually develop and implement programs to educate, train, support and encourage the underserved in our community.

Beach House

In 2016, Beach House and FOCUS joined forces to become Leading Families Home. Collectively, our team has helped households transition from homelessness to permanent housing since 1921.

Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity

In 1988, a group of community and congregational volunteers formed Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity. Homes were rehabbed and eventually new homes were built. ReStore was added in 2004 and Home Repair Ministry in 2009. 190 homes and 223 repairs later, our focus remains on  ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to own and live in safe and affordable housing.

Bethany House

Bethany House is a long-term shelter for victims and their children who are escaping domestic violence in Northwest Ohio. Most shelters offer short-term stays in dorm housing, but Bethany House is the only Toledo-area domestic violence shelter that offers long-term, apartment-style transitional living. Many survivors are with us for more than a year. We also provide emotional and financial support, and give survivors the time and resources they need to rebuild their lives. And it’s all FREE of charge. Since 1984, Bethany House has served more than 1,200 individuals and provided more than 200,000 nights of safe shelter for victims and their children escaping domestic abuse in our area. Annually, we serve an average of 30 families.

The Abilitity Center

The Ability Center seeks partnerships with community organizations and supports individuals with disabilities and their families to achieve their vision of independent living. We provide a variety of vital services to help people with disabilities understand their rights and how to address them. We also help people with disabilities gain new skills to live, work and play in their community. At the Ability Center, we strive to help the members of our community understand Disability, while at the same time making sure those with disabilities feel like they belong.

Matching Peace

Matching Peace is a non-profit organization that brings together people to have dialogues that interconnect culture, healthy relationships and parenting. Our overall goal is to expand the consciousness of parents raising the next generation to affect change in our future. We are here to bridge the gaps in culture. We want to bring families together that would have never had the opportunity to come together. We are very intentional about how we are doing this through our community classrooms, invite only events and our family to family mentoring programs.

Mobile Meals

Mobile Meals of Toledo, Inc. is a nonprofit, volunteer-based social service agency that delivers nourishing food—at home and at school—to those whose nutritional needs might otherwise go unmet. Because of your generosity, Mobile Meals is able to provide more than $250,000 in financial assistance annually to people who lack the resources to buy food.

Social Services For the Arab Community

SSFAC helps Arab immigrants & refugees start their life over in Toledo, Ohio. SSFAC serves low income, limited English speaking Arab immigrant and refugee families in the Greater Toledo Area to achieve self-sufficiency and become contributing members of our community.

Children’s Rights Collaborative

Children’s Rights Collaborative of NW Ohio(CRC) program provides children and their parents with a safe, nurturing environment for supervised visitation and exchanges, allowing a child to have his or her relationship with the non-custodial parent without being placed in the middle of the parents’ conflicts.

Cherry Street Mission Ministries

Cherry Street is more than food, clothing and housing. Our redemptive programming is built around one on one mentorship. We care more about who a person is, rather than what a person has become. Cherry Street Mission Ministries is the largest organization serving individuals who are poor and homeless in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

Read for Literacy

For over 30 years Read for Literacy has been a local partner, providing a wide range of literacy services. We are able to provide reader friends to children and tutors to adults to increase their reading, writing and conversation skills. Our current Signature Lines of Service are Adult Basic and Family Education, Creating Young Readers, Claire’s Day Literacy Outreach and Volunteer Recruitment.

Joyful Smiles Through Faith

JSTF is dedicated to creating moments of joy and hope for children when they go through traumatic events. They deliver pouches filled with activities, toys, and handmade Thinking of You cards called Kare Packages. They serve kids going through serious illness, abuse, neglect, bullying, suicidal thoughts, loss of parents or guardians via addiction, and other life disrupting events. Their smiles, packages, and dedication is making a difference in the lives of our neighbors and community.

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