12/11/10 — Making donation in someone's name can be good Christmas gift

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Making donation in someone's name can be good Christmas gift

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on December 11, 2010 11:20 PM

Giving a charity donation can be a way to honor a friend or family member who is hard to shop for, or a way to keep alive the memory of a lost loved one, all while helping others in need.

Many organizations will offer a card sent to the person of your choice, informing them of your donation. Here are just a few of the charitable organizations that help others locally, nationally or internationally.

Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro/Wayne County

Giving a gift to Habitat for Humanity can help a deserving family come closer to owning their own safe, well-constructed home, Habitat development coordinator Elizabeth Rutland explained.

"People can donate money in someone's name as a gift or in memory of them. In return, we will send them a personalized card stating that money has been donated in their name, and by whom," she said.

Donors who give $75 or more also receive a T-shirt. The organization also gladly accepts donations of land, in-kind gifts and used items for the ReStore. The donations are tax deductible.

"Not only is it a great gift for a deserving family in Wayne County, but what a wonderful feeling to know that you have helped someone else with such a basic necessity like a roof over their head," Ms. Rutledge said.

And if people are looking for an activity to do together as a family while the children are out of school or home for the holidays, Habitat always has volunteer opportunities, she said.

"We love for families and church groups to volunteer at our building sites. Not only will it make you thankful for what you have at home, you're able to work side-by-side the homeowner of that house and affect their future," she said.

A gift of $25 buys a box of nails; $35 buys a smoke detector; $50 buys a bundle of shingles; $100 helps install windows in a Habitat home; $500 provides a front door for the home; $1,000 provides interior paint for a Habitat home. Other options are also available through Habitat for Humanity. Call 736-9592 for more information.

Additional local donation gift options:

*The United Way of Wayne County supports many local agencies with its yearly campaign drive. For example, a $1 donation will provide a special gift for an elderly or homebound Meals-on-Wheels recipient; $5 can purchase a guidebook for a teen getting a second chance in Teen Court; $25 can purchase crayons for 100 kids at the Boys and Girls Club; $30 can purchase an educational toy for a child at the Incredible Years, Partnership for Children. Contact:

*The Kitty Askins Hospice "Fund-a-Foot" project to construct the hospice's expansion. A book containing all the names of the Fund-A-Foot donors will remain on display in the SECU House at Kitty Askins, and each sponsor will be presented with a certificate of sponsorship. Contact: 735-1387, ext. 1023

*The Wayne County Humane Society's mission of helping animals includes finding homes for dogs and cats. Contact:

*The Steele Memorial Library project in Mount Olive seeks to renovate a larger building to provide the community with a regional library facility. Contact:

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross provides help in countless communities across the United States, including here in Wayne County. The aid agency accepts donations at any time of the year in honor or memory of a loved one, but recently started a new endeavor, too, director of development Samia Garner said.

"We have people who we absolutely don't know what to get for them, so you can do memorial or honor gifts," she said.

This year the Red Cross launched its "Gifts That Save The Day" campaign, offering pre-priced kits that help others in need.

The catalogue offers gift options such as the military comfort kit. For $50, the kit provides a phone calling card, a robe, shower shoes, toiletries, a calendar and an MP3 music gift card to a soldier recovering at a military or Veterans Affairs hospital. A $50 gift could also provide a full day of emergency shelter for a disaster victim.

The Red Cross provides cards to write a personalized note to that person, to let them know about the donation in their honor.

"For example, for $20 you could buy a clean-up kit for a family, a gift that saves the day, and you can do it in honor of someone. Even stuff like emergency water containers, we saw a lot of that in Haiti," Mrs. Garner said. "Do it in name of Aunt Sue, Uncle Bob, whoever you wanted to honor."

Gifters also have the option to go into the Red Cross office and specify where they want their gift to go, but it's also helpful to just donate without an earmark.

"That way, where ever the money's needed it can go. That way it doesn't sit around where it's not needed," Mrs. Garner said.

Another important thing to consider when giving to a charity for a gift is how much of the donation actually goes toward helping others, and is not eaten up in administrative or other costs. For the Red Cross, that number is very high, Mrs. Garner said.

"The donations, 91 percent go to humanitarian services, that's a really big deal, to be able to say out of every dollar, 91 cents goes to help other people," she said.

To donate, visit the Red Cross web site at www.redcross.org/gifts.

Additional national charitable efforts include:

*Toys for Tots or Toys for Teens, which donate Christmas gifts to needy children and teens across America. Drop boxes will be located throughout the community this holiday season.

*Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society, funding cancer research. www.relayforlife.org.

*The United Service Organizations, Inc. share a touch of home with soldiers serving their country abroad. The USO provides everything from free phone cards and care packages to entertainment tours and other support. Donations can be made online at www.uso.org.

International charitable efforts include:

*The International Rescue Committee is one organization that puts together aid kits with vital items to help refugees building better lives in war-torn and poverty-stricken regions worldwide. A gift of $18 provides mosquito nets for a family of three; $20 provides school supplies for a newly-settled refugee in the United States; $52 provides a year of school for an Afghan girl.

The International Rescue Committee's web site provides more information about donation gifts at www.fromharm tohome.org .

*Heifer International, donating a farm animal or a share of a farm animal to a family in need around the world. For $120, a family in need will receive a sheep, or donate a share for $10; a flock of geese, $20; a gift of chickens, $20; a dairy goat, $120 or a share for $10; a $500 donation provides a dairy heifer, or $50 provides a share of a heifer. Contact: www.heifer.org.

If none of these options seem just the right charitable gift, the web site www.just give.org serves as a clearinghouse for such donation gifts. To check up on a non-profit's status and to make sure the charity is legitimate, look it up at Better Business Bureau-run web site www.bbb.org/us/charity.