Nonprofit Wishing Well

During the holiday season, the spotlight illuminates the needs of area nonprofits more than any other time of year. But any charitable organization will tell you that need is year-round and while cash donations are always appreciated, sometimes a non-monetary donation is just the thing it needs to keep moving forward.

The TCBN challenged a few of the area’s nonprofits – whose missions range from immigration to housing to wildlife rehabilitation – to dream up three non-monetary donations they’d like to receive from corporate givers and persons this year. Their wishes were small (less than $100), medium (less than $500) and large (sky’s the limit).

Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN)
2804 Benzie Hwy., Benzonia, 49616

In a community where finding year-round work is difficult and wages are low, many residents rely on Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN) for the food pantry, clothing center and computer lab, along with transportation assistance, utility bill assistance, GED training and tutoring. The program has been providing assistance to residents of Benzie and northern Manistee counties since 1982 to help alleviate the effects of poverty and other challenges.

Less than $100 – Window weatherization kits for four homes. The window plastic enables families to reduce their use of energy during the winter months, allowing them some room in their tight monthly budgets.

Less than $500 – Turkeys in the food pantry for the holidays so area families could enjoy a traditional holiday meal. Often, the turkey provides a second or third meal for a family.

Sky’s the limit – A volunteer break room so BACN can offer a kitchen/lounge space that would provide volunteers a place to eat lunch, have a cup of coffee or share some fellowship time. Volunteers currently give more than 11,000 hours year to BACN and are a 2015 Governor’s Service Award finalist for “Outstanding Volunteer Program.”

Boots For Kids
P.O. Box 179, Grawn, 49637

This local nonprofit organization helps area children to stay warm and healthy during the winter months by helping to provide them with winter boots and other cold weather accessories.

Less than $100 – Packages of crew socks. They need about 1,700 packages per year.

Less than $500 – Printing services for brochures and stationary.

Sky’s the limit – Sponsor who would like to pay for all the boots ordered each year.

H.A.N.D.D.S. to the Rescue (Helping Abused Neglected Disabled Displaced Souls)
P.O. Box 1953, TC, 49685

This 100 percent volunteer organization is dedicated to saving the lives of dogs that would otherwise be euthanized due to health conditions or lack of shelter space.

Less than $100 – A few gallons of Odoban disinfectant and rolls of paper towels.

Less than $500 – A universal microchip reader, insertion devices and microchips.

Sky’s the limit – A new water line to the organization’s pole barn with an on-demand hot water heater.

Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON)
Central United Methodist Church/TC Satellite
222 Cass Street, TC, 49684

JFON is a nationwide ministry, founded in 1999 by the United Methodist Church. As part of this national outreach effort, the Traverse City Satellite Clinic provides affordable, high quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants in northwest Michigan. Services are focused on family-based and humanitarian immigration law. It also offers educational presentations to communities of faith and the public.

Less than $100 – Gift certificate to a local office supply store.

Less than $500 – An executive-style desk, with locking file drawers on both sides.

Sky’s the limit – Two desktop computers, each with dual monitors.

Leelanau Wildlife Care
526 W. 14th St., Box #145
TC, 49684-4051

Dave and Donna Prevo aim to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife mammals and ultimately release the healthy and able wildlife back into the wild. It is their mission to educate the general public about their encounters with wildlife as to when and when not to intercede with their assistance.

Less than $100 – Wildlife feed (sportsman’s deer and elk feeds, raw goat milk, calf manna, sunflower seeds, raw nuts, alfalfa, carrots and apples (that will hold up in storage).

Less than $500 – Steel Web Deer Fencing (1-inch opening black PVC coated hex mesh) to add more fawn run areas.

Sky’s the limit – Wildlife Multipurpose Barn complete with receiving/exam room, isolation rooms, fawn stall, fox kit stall, small mammal room, small kitchen for cleaning, warming and feed preparation, laundry room, and feed storage including cold storage. Much of this is now being accomplished inside the Prevo’s home and garage.

Little Collaborative (LC)
1105 E. Front St.
Traverse City, 49686

The combined mission of the Little Collaborative (LC) programs is to stand beside families and individuals who can benefit from LC’s individual services in their journey to permanently move beyond circumstances that have kept them in poverty. They do this through connecting neighbors to resources (HELPLINK®), providing long term family-to family mentoring (Family Partnership), and removing financial barriers to success through potential loans and budget counseling (Agape Financial).

Less than $100 – One month supply of laundry detergent or fabric softener so that struggling families can have clean clothes for school and work; one year supply of tissues to wipe tears away.

Less than $500 – Office chairs so volunteers can focus on clients not a broken chair; Printed materials – volunteer handbooks (training); marketing materials (to reach more clients and engage more partners) and coloring books for the youngest clients.

Sky’s the limit – Underwrite the Laundry Project for a month or a year (one laundry session serves about 38 families, nearly 1,500 a year); administrative assistant for a year so that staff and volunteers can focus on the client not the paperwork; marketing consultant for a year to reach potential clients, volunteers, and community partners; graphic design to create a look and feel of printed and electronic materials; computer(s) and IT services to network and train volunteers for efficient access of records, resources and service to clients.

Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing
250 E. Front St., 
Suite 320
, TC, 49684

Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing (NMSH) provides permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and families struggling with mental illness. In addition, NMSH provides supportive services to ensure the physical and mental health needs of each client are being met. Each NMSH unit is scattered throughout the community to increase community integration. It is NMSH’s mission to house those most vulnerable (those whom are chronically homeless and struggle with mental illness) permanently with the goal of independent living. It costs NMSH roughly $2,500 to house, support and maintain an individual for a year.

Less than $100 – Cleaning and household supplies for an individual or family for three months. This may include soap, light bulbs, toilet paper, paper towels, rugs, etc.

Less than $500 – Cover an individual or family’s utilities for two months. This includes electricity, gas, and water.

Sky’s the limit – Support an individual or family in the program for one year, including any supportive services the family or individual would require to maintain and sustain their housing with the goal of independent living.

Old Town Playhouse (OTP)
148 E. Eighth St., TC, 49684

The mission of the OTP is to be a volunteer-based organization promoting quality community theatre experiences for the people of northwest Michigan by providing educational opportunities and entertainment in the theatrical arts.

Less than $100 – Every one of OTP’s 15-plus productions per season needs scenery (the “set”) to transport the audience to world of the play. Every set needs new lumber, screws and paint. Gift cards to Ace Hardware, Northwoods Paint & Supply, Home Depot, or Lowe’s will help underwrite these costs.

Less than $500 – The computer monitors for four of the staff members are small and very old. New, larger, brighter monitors would make life much simpler. Video monitors for the sound and light booths, as well as for the area where the actors wait to come onstage, would also be helpful.

Sky’s the limit – The primary places where OTP builds its sets are on the stage of the auditorium or in the construction area next to the auditorium. OTP would like to keep the theatre area clean, which is hard to accomplish with lots of sawdust and other construction dust flying around. There are tools available that attach directly to a vacuum system, which suck in much of the dust before it has a chance to escape into the air. Drills, sanders, and saws with this capability are a high priority.

The lights that illuminate the actors onstage are programmed into and run by a piece of equipment known as a dimmer board. The current one at the Playhouse uses an old floppy disk computer system, and while it is still functional, it will require replacement when it fails. Having the ability to replace it before that happens would make the life of the volunteer lighting designers and operators much more relaxed.