It’s almost the most wonderful time of year… which means that your inbox is about to get massacred by sales, deals you “can’t resist,” and one that, let’s face it, makes us all feel terrible: Giving Tuesday.
The influx of emails from organizations saying that they need your support, or thanking you for support, or making you sick because they’ve used the word support so many times… well, it can be annoying at best, devastating at worst. Just how are you going to help each org that reaches out? So we’ve taken the dirty work out of your hands and hand-picked a few Rhode Island organizations you might not be aware of who could definitely use your hard-earned cash, no unsubscribe required.
You could start by picking an arts organization that has brought you joy in the past. Many arts organizations are still deeply struggling because of the pandemic, and they would welcome your donation.
Next up is Vintage Pet Rescue, which is going to tug at all of you animal lovers heart strings. Vintage Pet Rescue specializes in finding homes for and caring for elderly and senior pets. They make sure that these dogs have blissful and happy final years of their lives. https://www.vintagepetrescue.org
An organization often accepts items over donations is Amenity Aid. Their goal is to bring personal hygiene items to Rhode Islanders, and their impact is vast. From January to June 2021, they had already served over 24,000 Rhode Islanders in need. They focus on small things, like a simple bar of soap, and how it can change a person’s life. They accept toiletries, hotel hygiene samples (those tiny shampoos you take that you swear you’re gonna use…), and monetary donations, as well as allow you to host collection boxes for items. https://www.amenityaid.org/
Focusing specifically on the LGBTQ+ youth is Youth Pride Inc, which creates inclusive spaces for teenagers at a pivotal and confusing point in their lives. Their goal is to help RI youth whose lives may be impacted by their sexual orientation find a community and support network with other youth. They also offer one-on-one counseling, a lending library, a basic needs pantry, and HIV testing. https://www.youthprideri.org/
GrowSmartRI is dedicated to helping Rhode Island grow and revitalize its neighborhoods, all while remaining sustainable. They encourage growth but call to make certain that helps the community and reflects it, and does not hurt it. http://www.growsmartri.org/
Focusing on the plight of refugees and immigrants, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island provides these vulnerable populations with legal assistance with citizenship, education, clothing and necessities, and crisis intervention. https://diiri.org/
While many of these organizations need support financially or through items, it would be insensitive to not mention that being able to donate does come from a place of privilege. Another option is to give time, and there are plenty of orgs (those above included) that solicit volunteers constantly. Additionally, the best way to give your time may be as a mentor. Foster Forward (https://www.fosterforward.net/), while aids in the placement of foster children in Rhode Island, also has a mentorship program pairing young adults with an older adult. Mentorship RI also helps pair adults with youth who may need help — everything from students struggling in school to those who may need another role model outside the home. https://mentorri.org/
… and I have to include a fan favorite. While researching this piece, I “polled the audience,” meaning, I took to social media and many people wanted to support the Ocean State Curling Club. Yes. The sport with brooms. On ice. You might make fun of it at every winter Olympics, but, the club has dedicated itself to bringing the sport to the state, focusing on staying active, teaching the community about the sport and how to play it. https://oceanstatecurling.org/
Remember, Giving Tuesday is November 30th this year. Have a plan, avoid your inbox, and remember what we all really want is to just support each other, and unfortunately, that day gets overused for organizations doing pivotal work that should not be ignored.
Caitlin Howle (she/they) is a writer, professor, and small business owner in Rhode Island. Her hobbies include researching obscure history, arguing the need for the Oxford Comma, and bothering her pug, Winston. Find her on Instagram @caitlinmoments.