A non-consumer holiday season

by Patty Templeton

Put down the ugly tie. Your sister does not want an irritating-to-clean chocolate fountain. No, your bestie doesn’t need a fleece blanket with your face on it.

Santa Clause is coming to town, but that doesn’t mean he has to bring a stack of useless shit with him. There is such thing as a gift that won’t get shoved into a forgotten closet or ditched at the dump near immediately. This year, use some of your seasonal spending bucks on some do-gooding. Here’s a starter list of folks that could use your help more than your ma could use that hideous beer stein with your birth date laser-etched into it (Note: This list isn’t exhaustive. It’s a *few* of the basic needs, educational, health, LGBTQ, animal-centric, environmental, housing, arts and culture, Native American, and housing nonprofits in or near Durango that could put your Christmas cash to a good cause. Consider this list a good place to start.):

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

Charles Dickens

Basic needsManna soup kitchenHell yes, you can help Manna continue to serve 60,000 meals a year to those in need. Bonus: Manna has expanded its service to include job-skills training in food industry careers.

La Plata Electric bill payHelp someone stay warm this winter by visiting the LPEA in-office Power of Giving Trees. You can donate in $5 to $100 increments and your contribution will be applied to the bill of an economically challenged LPEA member.

Durango Food BankThe pantries of over 30 organizations are stocked by the Durango Food Bank. Local folks can also request assistance, wherein they can receive two weeks worth of food in a 30-day time period.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

EducationBig Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest ColoradoBig Brothers Big Sisters pairs a caring, adult role model with a child for direct mentorship. Kids who have these direct role models are 52 percent less likely to skip school and show more confidence in their schoolwork. Help make a brighter, smarter future by making sure a child has at least one supportive adult in their life.

Durango Education FundFor over 30 years, the Durango Education Fund has helped with grants, scholarships, and monetary assistance to students and teachers. Give the gift of critical thought, library enrichment, and educational software.

Fort Lewis College FoundationWhen you give to the FLC Foundation, your donation goes to scholarships, programs, and the facilities.

Durango Adult Education CenterThe DAEC helps students step out of poverty through education. Over 300 students a year attend the DAEC for GED, ESL, and general enrichment courses with flexible child care onsite.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

Francis of Assisi

HealthPlanned ParenthoodFor over 100 years, Planned Parenthood has assisted individuals and families with health care. Your gift can either be directed to Durango’s own PP or the national organization.

Second Wind FundEach year, 44,193 Americans commit suicide. Help at-risk youth access a licensed therapist for treatment through the Second Wind Fund.

Alternative HorizonsGive a helping hand to domestic violence survivors and their families by donating to Alternative Horizons.

Adaptive Sports AssociationHelp provide outdoor, sports, and recreational activities for folks with every type of disability through supporting the Adaptive Sports Association.

Sexual Assault Services OrganizationSASO provides advocacy to victims of sexual assault while working toward increasing public awareness and education about sexual violence.

Women’s Resource CenterThe Women’s Resource Center assists over 1,600 women and their families a year, helping them access food, (mental) health care, crisis stabilizing services, entrepreneurship support, and more.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

LGBTQFour Corners Alliance for DiversityThe Four Corners Alliance for Diversity supports an all-ages LGBTQ community through outreach initiatives, educational programs, and social events.

The Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center 4C works to guide and provide LGBTQ youth with educational and recreational activities in a safe space.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank

AnimalsAnnie’s OrphansThis no-kill shelter has been finding homes for pups for over 30 years.

La Plata County Humane SocietyNearly 2,000 animals a year are adopted from the LPCHS. Give a hand to the care and keeping of puppers, kittens, and more.

Blackhat Humane Society The Blackhat Humane Society is a 501c3 dedicated to finding homes for animals on the Navajo Reservation.

Spring Creek Horse RescueFor 40 years, Spring Creek Horse Rescue has been a no-kill rescue and rehabilitation center for abused and neglected equines.

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”

Abraham Lincoln

Housing Habitat for Humanity of La Plata CountyOver two million volunteers a year help Habitat for Humanity build homes and support positive growth in communities.

Durango Community Shelter through Volunteers of AmericaThe VOA Community Shelter has 24/7 residential services for those looking for basic needs, such as a meal, a shower, laundry, and a place to stay.

Housing Solutions for the SouthwestSince 1981, Housing Solutions for the Southwest has helped folks with rental assistance, transitional living, emergency homeless prevention, and other housing needs.

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

Maya Angelou

VeteransSouthwest Rides through the Southwest Center for Independence In addition to assisting the elderly and communities with disabilities, Southwest Center for Independence houses Southwest Rides, an organization which strives to provide free transportation to veterans (and others) in need.

Veterans Affairs Clinic, 1970 East 3rd Ave.There is a giving tree located at the Durango VA Clinic. To adopt a veteran, stop by or call the clinic at 970-247-2214, ext. 2807.

“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Kurt Vonnegut

EnvironmentDurango Botanical SocietyGive the gift of public gardens by supporting the Durango Botanical Society. For an example of their gorgeous work, look no further than the Durango Public Library’s riverfront landscaping.

San Juan Citizens AllianceAdvocates for clean water, pure air, and healthy lands, the San Juan Citizens Alliance has been protecting the San Juan Basin since 1986.

Durango Nature StudiesFor over 20 years, Durango Nature Studies has brought hands-on nature education to the Four Corners.

La Plata Open Space Conservancy The LPOSC is a 501c3 that’s protected over 30,000 acres of land and looks to continue assisting landowners and communities in the preservation of open and agricultural space, wildlife habitats, and spaces with historical, recreational, or archaeological significance.

Trails 2000Get connected to the outdoors with Trails 2000. They strive to build and maintain trails while educating the public on their use and upkeep.

“The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.”

Dorothy Day

Durango cultureAnimas MuseumOwned and operated by the La Plata County Historical Society, the Animas Museum connects the public to Durango’s vibrant past.

Durango Arts CenterYe gods, what doesn’t DAC do? From art festivals to the constant display and promotion of art through its gallery space, the Durango Arts Center is one of Durango’s most vibrant nonprofits.

Durango Public Library“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,” said Jorge Luis Borges. The Durango Public Library is a community center that strengthens Durango not only through the free lending of books and movies, but through access to internet and computer usage. Consider making a book or monetary donation to the Friends of the Library.

KSUTGet ahead of the curve. Don’t wait till the fund drive to donate to public radio. You can donate any time of the year on KSUT’s website.

KDURKDUR has the best darn variety of music of any local radio station. They’re dedicated to diversity of musical content and news/cultural programming. Donate any time of year at their website.

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

Albert Einstein

Native American issuesNative American Rights FundFor over 45 years, the NARF has provided Native tribes, individuals, and organizations with legal assistance.

Navajo Relief FundThe Navajo Nation covers 16 million recourse-poor acres. The Navajo Relief fund helps through disaster relief, healthy living programs, pantry packages, holiday food, and home repair.

“Oh! If the good hearts had the fat purses, how much better everything would go!”

Victor Hugo

Making ChristmasLa Plata County Project Merry ChristmasSince 1985, Project Merry Christmas, an all-volunteer org, has helped fill the food, clothing, and other needs of families, seniors, and the disabled in the Durango area.

Patty Templeton


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