"Would you like to give someone a dinner at the Rescue Mission? Two dollars," she said. I dipped into my purse.
The timing was at least interesting because Darlene Pavlock, the administrator of Home Savings and Loan's charitable contributions, had just said to me, "Diane, for your annual Christmas column, you should tell people to make small donations, in groups."
Interesting, I thought. Dragging two bucks from my pocket was easy. But my co-worker, Shannon, ultimately sent $70 to the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, P.O. Box 298, Youngstown 44501. With the actual cost of a dinner at $1.79, she gave them enough money for about 39 dinners.
Help out: If you got everyone in your immediate family, office or classroom to chip in a couple of dollars, you might make a difference in one of several local charities or schools. Think dog food for a dog shelter, the December water bill for a women's shelter, a book for the school library, or enough money to buy paper products for Second Harvest Food Bank.
Pavlock urges us to "stay home" with our contributions. "Call your churches or schools. Find out exactly what the organization needs or how much it costs to run a month -- phone $30, water $50 ..."
Some possibilities include:
Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown is a place for "kids to be kids," according to executive director Richard Allen. "We provide after-school services to include vocational, recreational, health and [physical education] development services for children 6 to 18." Part of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the local chapter is located at 2105 Oak Hill Ave., Youngstown 44507 and can be reached at (330) 782-2714.
Riding program: The Camelot Center of Therapeutic Riding Program has an arena and stables in Vienna. I visited last year as a young lady with Down syndrome and an autistic boy rode horses. The nonprofit Camelot provides equine-assisted therapeutic services to physically, mentally or emotionally disabled, learning disabled and underprivileged children. Money contributed to Camelot may be used for hay and grain, helmets, snow shovels or office supplies. Camelot can be reached at P.O. Box 20, Vienna 44473 or (330) 898-5036.
Angels for Animals is constantly fund raising in an effort to place homeless animals and provide spay and neutering services. Angels is at 6081 Greenvalley Drive, Greenford 44422 and can be reached at (330) 533-5577.
ACLD ("All Children Learn Differently") learning center is a nonprofit center devoted to children and adults with learning problems. According to ACLD bookkeeper, Dorothy Brown, after 29 years in the First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue, the center needs to expand to larger quarters. "Most of our adults are YSU kids," Brown said. "We also provide after-school tutoring to children from private and public schools."
During the day, 40 students who "have fallen through the cracks at the public schools" come for a full day of school at ACLD, Brown said. Contributions will fund a new building. Send "any size contribution" to ACLD Learning Center, 201 Wick Ave., Youngstown 44503. For more information, call (330) 746-0604.
Initiative center: I spoke to Edna Pincham while doing a column on people who immigrated to the Mahoning Valley. It was then that I learned Pincham and her family sponsor the Pincham Initiative Resource Center. Accepting no government funds, the center helps area students pass their proficiencies, instilling in them a desire to succeed.
"I didn't want government funding because I wanted the freedom to teach in the way we thought best," Pincham said.
"And I wanted to show these children, some of whom have been dependent on government assistance, that there were other ways to accomplish things." The Center is located at 46 N. Phelps St., Youngstown 44503 and can reached at (330) 744-4888.
This is just the beginning. Nursing homes, battered women's shelters, youth organizations, school clubs ... even Scrooge should be inspired!