Give the gift of giving this holiday season
Our view: Contributions to local, helping organizations seed new hopeArizona Daily Star – Published: 12.03.2008

As the holiday season unfolds, our thoughts naturally turn to giving. Instead of or in addition to buying a bauble for someone you love this year, consider making a gift to a helping organization in their name.

Some international and national aid groups package gift programs — you can buy a goat and two chickens for a family in Africa, or immunizations for a child in Mississippi. There are many wonderful programs worth looking into, but we hope you’ll choose to give to groups providing help in Southern Arizona.

At our StarNet “Three Wishes” Web site, about 70 nonprofits have listed their top needs this holiday season. Some ask for office space or digital cameras. Others are asking for items that will help their clients directly.

If you don’t want to shop, wrap and deliver, that’s OK: They accept monetary donations, too. Either way, your cost will be tax-deductible and friends and family in whose name you give will probably be delighted.

To ignite your imagination and fire up your desire to give, here’s a sampling of groups and their wishes:

● The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona needs diapers in sizes 4-6, adult incontinence briefs in large and extra large and 6- to 8-foot tables. Donate Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, at 4500 E. Speedway, No. 75. There is more information at online.

● Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, a shelter in Southern Arizona, needs twin-size sheets and new pillows, diapers in sizes 4-6 and new underwear and socks for children, teens and adult women. You can donate at 2545 E. Adams St., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Get more information at online.

● CODAC Behavioral Health Services Inc., which helps families as well as their addicted or mentally ill members, needs clothing for all ages, nonperishable food and toys. Donate Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at 127 S. Fifth Ave. Learn more at online.

● Our Family Services, which provides counseling, education and housing for homeless young people and help for people in crisis, asks for grocery store gift cards, diapers for babies and toddlers and incontinence briefs for seniors. Drop your gift at 3830 E. Bellevue St., 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays. Investigate at online.

● The Pima Council on Aging asks for used cell phones that will be used to raise funds; safety items for homebound elderly people, such as batteries, light bulbs, first-aid kits, smoke alarms, night lights and whistles; hygiene items like cotton swabs, dental floss, hand sanitizers, incontinence supplies, skin lotions, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Deliver your package to 8467 E. Broadway any weekday from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m. More information is at online.

● The UMC Foundation Pediatric Oncology Fund, which supports families with a child being treated for cancer at University Medical Center, asks for grocery, gas, restaurant, Wal-Mart, Target or other gift cards, gifts for patients and their siblings who are at the center during the holidays and snack foods. Take your gift to 1501 N. Campbell Ave., third floor, pediatric oncology outpatient clinic, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

● Youth On Their Own helps homeless youths finish high school and wishes for gift cards to grocery stores and gas stations, non-perishable food and household supplies and disposable diapers. Make your gift at 1443 W. Prince Road, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Get more detailed lists at online.

You could change lives by making a gift of giving. We hope you will.