As the economy reflects the deep freeze and darkness of December, gift-giving goes beyond family and friends to give back to a hurting community. From the United Way’s Give 5 Now campaign to Second Harvest and foodshelves, there are many ways to give. Here are four smaller places where your dollar can make a big difference.
Heart of the Beast
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater closes temporarily on December 26, planning to re-open February 11. If you know Heart of the Beast only through the MayDay Parade, check out the HOTB website to learn about the many programs it provides in the community throughout the year.
“This is a sign of, ‘All hands on deck.’ You know, we’re taking on water,” executive director Kathee Foran told MPR. “If people value what we bring to the community, we need you up on deck helping us come up with some ideas to make sure we get through this, because no one knows if we’ve hit the bottom yet.”
On its website, HOTB explains, “The growing economic storm is having an immediate and significant impact on funding for arts organizations across the nation, including HOBT. Funding agencies, both public and private, are finding their ability to give dramatically reduced, meaning cuts in the number and size of grants.” Your donation will help HOTB to come back strong on February 11.
Art changes everything. That’s a key belief at Intermedia Arts, which says its mission is “to be a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art. We foster excellence in the creative process and product by presenting a multitude of perspectives, and we create a context in which those perspectives can be understood. By stimulating broader civic dialogue and giving voice to the issues and experiences of underrepresented communities, we contribute to a stronger, healthier society.”
The Big E picks up the story at the Minnesota Progressive Project:
“They realized last summer that they relied to heavily on major donors and major foundation gifts. They began planning how to expand their earned income and individual donor giving. Then the economy collapsed. Now they have no choice but to adapt.
“Intermedia Arts is probably going to survive in some form. But, you all can help ensure that it remains a vital incubator for new artists and new organizations.”
The Intermedia Arts website asks people to raise money for Intermedia Arts using the power of 10: donating $10 themselves and asking 10 others to do the same.
Neighborhood House took a hit this fall, forced to cut its budget from $6.58 million in 2008 to $5.35 million in 2009. The budget cut comes even as the multicultural, multilingual center’s low-income clients on St. Paul’s West Side suffer the last-hired, first-fired impact of the recession. Since its founding in 1897 by the women of Mount Zion Temple, Neighborhood House has served successive generations of immigrants from all over the world.
In his letter announcing the budget cuts, director Armando Camacho said: “We remain committed to the three core areas we serve–basic needs including the food shelf; education including English Language Learners; and our Youth Leadership program–but we will need your help. As demand increases our staff will be increasingly busy and welcome some assistance. Call us at 651.289.2503 and volunteer to work at the food shelf, teach an English class, pick up food at one of our partners. Whatever your interests and abilities, there is somewhere you can help!”
Besides volunteering, you can donate to Neighborhood House.
Postville was the scene of one of the largest immigration raids in the country’s history. Approximately 300 people were arrested on March 10th, 2008 as they worked at the Agriprocessors meat packing plant. Some of those arrested are still awaiting court dates and can’t work. Families were separated, leaving children or spouses without support. According to Paul Ouderkirk, the local priest in charge of the area food shelves, Postville has literally run out of food. Minnesota supporters will take a caravan with donations to Postville. leaving at 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 28.
Donations can be dropped off at Waite House community Center on December 24 from 10-4 p.m. (2529 13th Ave South Minneapolis) or at the Comite Salvadoreño on December 26 or 27 (301 E. Lake Street, Suite 203. Call 612-822-1114 for hours.
Most urgently needed donations include white rice and dry beans, canned corn and green beans, juices, Pampers sizes 4-6, medicines for children and adults (Tylenol, etc.), telephone calling cards for Guatemala and Mexico, copy paper and other office supplies.
To make financial contributions, send a check made out to St. Bridget’s Hispanic Ministry to St. Bridget’s Hispanic Fund, P.O. Box 369, Postville, IA 52162