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Ginny Tonkin loves traveling off the beaten path, learning about new cultures through food, and everything outdoors. She recently spent eight months teaching English in Vietnam, and loves swapping travel stories.   Read more about this blog.
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Gifting for a cause: Giving to local charity

Play Santa for friends, family, and the community by supporting local charity.

Play Santa for friends, family, and the community by supporting local charity.

Need an end-of-the-year gift for that hard-to-shop-for, yet delightful aunt, awkward second cousin, business associate, or friendly church acquaintance? Give a unique gift that they’ll appreciate and that will benefit the community: Donate to a local charity in the giftee’s name.

Amy Woods, Executive Director of the United Way of Western Crawford County said gifting donations to local charities in the name of friends and colleagues is one great way to reach the community.

“I like to say, ‘Give the gift that keeps on giving,’” said Woods. “The United Way touches one out of three in the region through our partnerships agencies.”

“Just send us the name, and we’ll take care of the rest,” said Captain Robin Holmes of the Salvation Army of Meadville. The organization will accept donations made in honor or memory of an individual, and send a card to the recipient to let them know of their new gift.

Local charities acknowledge it’s been a tough year for many, and they appreciate any type of contribution.

“I appreciate all the donation and support from the community. This has been a really hard year, and they (the community) have really stepped up,” said Terry Wig of the Titusville Area United Way. “I really applaud any donation whether it’s to the United Way, other local charities, volunteering, donating hats, gloves, coats, or whatever. It’s appreciated.

Wig warns against donation scams that look like the real thing.

“There are a lot of people who raise money for non-charitable purposes (pretending to be otherwise),” said Wig. She says these scams pop up most frequently around the holidays or times of natural disaster when people are feeling inclined to donate.

She suggests calling a local charity directly, and asking them the best (and most secure) way to donate.

You can also check online: Find them on the commonwealth’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations database. Also check out the national equivalent,

“There’s nothing better than an informed donor.”

Woods said that although the holidays are a great time to give to local charities, it’s not the time of year when local organizations are most in need.

“February and March are when area charities struggle the most,” she said, after the spirit of the holidays fade.

Her suggestion? Start a donation drive in your office off-season to drive engagement.

“It’s great to get your own business to mobilize. It’s an easy way to get a lot of people to mobilize,” said Woods.

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Find this article in the December 23 print issue of 

Posted in: Crawford County

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