10 organizations to donate to this December

Over my years as a journalist here in North County, I have learned that there are a few certainties in our community. Sleeves are optional; that’s number one. There are no instances or occasions where you will find yourself in a place that it is socially unacceptable to not have sleeves on your shirt. We also love any reason to come together and share some beverages, especially in parks with live music. 

However, all jokes aside, one thing I have come to realize is how incredibly, ridiculously, selflessly, generous this community is toward those in need. Since becoming a news correspondent at the beginning of the pandemic, I have covered numerous fundraising events. All of them were forced virtual, and nearly every organizer told me the same thing. 

Due to the pandemic and all the hardship it has caused everyone, they assumed fundraising would take a dip in 2020. However, knowing that whatever they can raise would go to those in need, they got creative with their virtual fundraising options, and the community responded. Even amid what seemed like the eternal darkness in 2020, every fundraiser exceeded their fundraising goal, most by a record amount. 

It is the season of giving. Since I know that our community takes care of their own, I have created a list of my favorite nonprofit organizations in the county, in no particular order, to donate to this December if someone feels so inclined. 

Many of these organizations have gone above and beyond this year, providing services for people in need, and any money donated can go a long way in bringing joy to one of your neighbors.

El Camino Homeless Organization

ECHO is a well-known organization in North County that takes care of our unhoused neighbors and helps them get back on their feet. In 2020, ECHO has taken on some expansion projects, absorbing the Atascadero emergency warming shelter and the new big project in Paso Robles. 

To donate to ECHO, visit https://www.echoshelter.org/donate

Center For Family Strengthening

The Center For Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. CFS also manages primary prevention programs for families that provide parent education, community outreach, and healing services for child abuse victims.

To donate to CFS, visit https://cfsslo.org/

The Link Family Resource center provides numerous services and aid to families with children in the county. The Link also employs family advocates into the community that is a tremendous resource to families by coordinating services and assisting in the process of removing barriers that interfere with the families’ success.

To donate to The Link, visit https://linkslo.wordpress.com/how-you-can-help/donate/

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a foundation that has worked in partnership with Atascadero Unified School District and the Greyhound Foundation since 2012 and is dedicated to overcoming addiction through awareness, prevention, intervention and education.

To donate to Lighthouse, visit https://www.lighthouseatascadero.org/store/c3/Donations_%26_Sponsorships.html

North County Womenade

​North County Womenade is a coalition of human service agencies, faith communities, and big-hearted people and takes requests for goods and cash assistance of all kinds from helping professionals. Social workers, teachers, and clergy then deliver these gifts to their clients, students, and community members. They do not judge anyone; they trust the professionals serving those in their care.

To donate to North County Womenade visit https://donorbox.org/north-county-womenade

SLO County UndocuSupport

SLO County UndocuSupport was started by a coalition of local organizations in a collaborative effort to support immigrant community members who lack the safety net that many of us share during this pandemic.

To donate to SLO County UndocuSupport, visit https://sloundocusupport.org/donate

Woods Humane Society

For those of you who love animals, Woods Humane Society, which is dedicated to the humane care of homeless dogs and cats in San Luis Obispo, could not hold its big fundraiser this year and is funded exclusively by donations.

To donate to Woods, visit https://www.woodshumanesociety.org/donate/

Friends of the Atascadero Lake

The Friends of the Atascadero Lake watch over the jewel of the city and have been significant contributors to its upkeep and improvements over the years, including the well and pump. The Friends of the Atascadero Lake are looking to put up some new informational signs around the lake and are currently looking for donors.

To donate to the Friends of the Atascadero Lake, visit https://www.friendsofatascaderolake.com/donors

CAPSLO

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo is one of the more well-known organizations in the county and helps families through various programs and in collaboration with other community service agencies. These programs focus on high-quality early education, accessible and affordable childcare, addressing barriers to safe and affordable housing, health services, and resource connection. 

To donate, visit https://capslo.org/about-capslo/

RISE

RISE (Respect. Inspire. Support. Empower) is an organization that serves both victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault-abuse and their loved ones. RISE provides comprehensive programs, services, and resources to the community. Due to COVID-19, RISE has experienced 50% more calls to its 24-hour crisis line, 40% more unmet requests for emergency shelter, and two times more crisis support hours have been provided. 

To donate, visit https://riseslo.z2systems.com/np/clients/riseslo/campaign.jsp?campaign=51&&test=true

These are just 10 close to my heart, but many more organizations in the county are doing important work in the community. For those who want to help but might not be in a financial situation that allows them to, there are also many ways to donate your time over the holiday season. I recommend ringing the Salvation Army bell. I did it every year of my childhood and can confirm; it builds character. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero