December 12, 2010 by wcobserver
By Susan McCarthy
This time of year often brings out the best in people. They’re a little friendlier, calling out a “hello” to a stranger as they pass. People bake for their neighbors, visit someone they’ve meant to see all year or make an increased effort to volunteer their time to help others. It’s also a time when many organizations see an increase in giving.
In the past week, stores have begun asking for $1 donations for various charities and the all familiar red kettles and bell ringers have assembled in front of retailers. Requests and special charitable catalogs have begun to arrive by mail. Those feeling a little generous have a plethora of donation options this holiday season, some that may not be as obvious as others.
If you’re one that likes to see your donation at work or has plans to pledge this New Year’s eve to volunteer more in 2011, here is a list of nine local projects or organizations that would benefit from your generosity. Some of these options are seasonal, many are not.
Help Fund a new Elementary School Playground
Pat Thaler, Principal at West Fork Elementary School, is excited about his new parents’ organization, West Fork Parents, and is looking forward to working with them to make the dream of a new elementary playground a reality, hopefully by the 2011/2012 school year. Thaler said the group will be applying for a grant, but that $30,000 will still be needed in matching funds to build the playground. He said about $5000 has been raised thus far. Donations can be made to the West Fork Elementary PTO, 359 School Avenue, West Fork, AR 72774.
Support your Local Friends of the Library
Greenland, West Fork and Winslow all have Friends of the Library organizations that support their local libraries by providing funds for books, programs and other needs outside of their library’s budgets.
Greenland’s Friends of the Library was launched just this year and are seeking members and ideas, says Stephanie Sharp. She said their group is focused on raising money to relocate and expand the library. Donations can be made to the Greenland Friends of the Library account at Arvest Bank or at Greenland City Hall.
The Friends of the West Fork Library is a 501 C 3 organization and holds several fundraisers throughout the year. Patty Baker, Co-President said much of the $4000 the “Friends” group has donated to the library this year has been used to expand the library’s collection of books including books on CD, large print, young adult and children’s books. She also said their group is always seeking new members. Tax deductible donations can be made at Friends of the West Fork Library, PO Box 963, West Fork, AR 72774.
The Friends of the Winslow Library also has an active group of volunteers and like the other “Friends” groups, is actively seeking new members. The Winslow Friends not only operate a community internet café and book store, but also purchase books and other needs that fall outside of the library’s budget like shelving and DVDs. The group holds a number of fundraisers throughout the year and is known for their yummy baked goods. Donations can be made at the Winslow Library or by mail at 351 South Hwy. 71, Winslow, AR, 72959.
Help Fund Greenland Schools’ Athletic Field House
Greenland school board members recently gave the nod for a new athletic field house, provided the needed $150,000 can be raised outside of the district’s budget. Preliminary plans reveal a 6000 SF facility that would house a weight room, locker room, concessions, a laundry room and restrooms. Athletic Director Lee Larkan said there are a number of ways the community can help including the purchase of a donor brick for $250. The brick will bear the donor’s name and be placed on the front wall of the new field house. If you’d like to donate your time or talent to the project, give Lee Larkan a call at 479-521-2366.
Donate a Coat, Food or Toy to Greenland High School
Greenland High School students are collecting new or gently used coats, non-perishable food and new unwrapped toys for all ages between now and Dec. 15. Donations can be made at the Greenland High School office during school hours.
Continue the Dream with Ozark Folkways
Clara Muxen’s dream of building an arts and craft school in the 1940’s becomes closer to reality with every passing day. While the building was never fully completed, it’s dedicated staff and passionate volunteers work to raise funds for its completion all while operating a store full of high quality arts and crafts from local artists. Ozark Folkways also offers a variety of classes and workshops including a week-long summer art camp with nearly 100 students. Donations can be made to Ozark Folkways, 22733 North Hwy. 71, Winslow, AR 72959; Ozark Folkways is a 501 C 3 organization.
Support Shop with a Cop
Armed with a grant from Walmart and community donations, police officers in Greenland and West Fork will soon join a group of local children in the toy aisles to help them select holiday gifts. Both say their school resource officer works with the school to identify children who might not otherwise receive holiday gifts. The kids, whose parents are allowed to tag along, are given a budget and allowed to purchase anything they might want or need. Donations can be made to Greenland Police up until Dec. 15 and can be dropped off at City Hall or mailed to PO Box 67, Greenland, AR 72737. Donations can be made to West Fork Police at West Fork City Hall until Dec. 14.
Donate Unwanted Toys or Buy a new one
If you’re cleaning out your kiddo’s closets ahead of the holiday and have toys, puzzles, stuffed animals or games that are in great shape, but need a new home, you can drop them at the Community Christian Worship Center in Hogeye over the next couple of weeks. Pastor David Holmes and his wife Kathy are organizing the toy drive for the second year and hope to provide toys to 100 children this year. New and gently used toys can be dropped off at Community Christian Worship Center, next to the Hogeye Mall, on Dec. 9 and 14 from 9 a.m. until noon or on Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. or by appointment, 479-839-2125. The Holmes request that new batteries be included with toy donations that require batteries.
Donate Clothing, Food & Toys to West Fork Students
Between now and Dec. 17, both West Fork Elementary School and West Fork Middle School students are seeking donations to provide clothing toys and food to school children and their families.
Toys, clothing and non-perishable food items may be dropped off at the elementary school office during school hours. The school says there is particularly a need for winter coats, hats and gloves as well as sweat pants, sweat shirts, shoes, socks and underwear.
EAST students at West Fork Middle School are also collecting winter clothing and preschool toys. Items needed include youth sized sweatpants and shoes in sizes 2-11.
Clothing will be donated to children in need and the toys will be donated to local daycare centers. Donations may be given at Super Foods, Arvest Bank, Bank of Fayetteville, Unity Covenant Church, and the library, city hall and post office in West Fork.
Keep the Stoves Cooking at Winslow Community Meals
With only one paid part-time employee and a group of volunteers, Winslow Community Meals churns out a low cost lunch five days a week and delivers meals to those who can’t get out. It is a self-supporting community organization and relies on fundraising and donations to keep its doors open. Board member Annie McCormick said volunteers and monetary and food donations are needed. Donations can be made at 1057 Ella Road, Winslow, AR 72959. Volunteers are needed 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday through Friday; call 479-634-2800 if you’d like to volunteer.