You won’t be surprised to learn that among those who’ve been hardest hit in recent years are the non-profit organizations in our community.
Due to COVID, fundraisers have had to be canceled or postponed, volunteers and staffers have been harder to recruit and budgets have been slashed.
That makes it ever more important to thank you, our loyal readers, for all the contributions you continue to make to the wide range of organizations we feature each year in Make a Difference.
“The donations just keep coming,” says Vicki Braun of Oak Tree Corner, Dayton’s center for grieving children. “Response to a mention of Oak Tree Corner in Make a Difference brings in many magazines, toys, craft items, paper goods and soda.”
Braun says they have also met some wonderful people who stopped by. “A few tell us that they look for this column every Thursday and whenever possible, they purchase items for the non profit listed. All of us are so grateful for the generous citizens who read the Dayton Daily News.”
Celebrating a 12 year anniversary
The roots of this column began 12 years ago when St. Vincent dePaul on Apple Street hosted a tour of their homeless shelter for a local women’s philanthropic group. At the end of the tour, when asked what they most needed in terms of donations, we learned that toothbrushes, toothpaste and towels were always in demand.
We posted that tidbit of information in the Dayton Daily News and quickly heard that our newspaper readers had been showing up in droves with those much-needed items.
It seemed clear that folks in our community were eager and willing to help if they were told specifically what’s needed as well as where and when to deliver those items. Voila! The Make a Difference column was born.
In the years since, you’ve donated everything from dog food and diapers to carpeting and hay for farm animals. You’ve shown up with bags of food, stacks of clothing, sheets and blankets, garden tools and sewing machines. You’ve helped our troops, the disabled, needy families, animal shelters. You’ve provided eyeglasses for those who can’t see, cribs for infants who are forced to sleep on the floor, books for adults who are learning to read.
You’ve also sent financial donations to many of these charities. Sometimes you’ve learned about an organization that’s new to you and decided to offer your services and skills as volunteers.
Thanks, also, for reaching out when you have something you’re ready to discard but want to make sure it ends up in a place where it’s appreciated and most needed. Not a week goes by that we don’t get a call or an email from someone who is downsizing or moving to Florida or cleaning out the home of a loved one who passed away. “What organizations might like furniture?” they ask. “Who can use a wheelchair or a walker? What can I do with all the fabric and sewing notions I’ve collected for years?” And the most unusual: “What can I do with all of the Playboy magazines I just found under my father’s bed?”
If an immediate charity doesn’t come to mind, we can always mention the item in a future column. Chances are some worthy organization will respond.
We’re very proud to have been honored with the first ever “Friend of Philanthropy” award from the Greater Dayton Region Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
“The pandemic has been a difficult time for many of our local charities, but Daytonians are resilient,” says Michael M. Parks, president of the Dayton Foundation. “Dayton has a rich history and tradition of generosity to our neighbors in need. “It is who we are, it is in our DNA and this past year is a shining example,”
He says nonprofits have weathered the storm, and buoyed by the generosity of so many individuals, can look optimistically to 2023.
With your help, dear readers, we can all continue to make a difference.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: email@example.com.
Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.