Where to help right now | CLT Blog

Where to help right now

Posted on 22 Jun 2009 by Crystal Dempsey


Local non-profits face huge challenges. Budgets soon will be slashed — some by half, others by a third — because of the recession and due to controversy around the United Way’s leadership. Some agencies will close their doors.

CLT Blog has joined Charlotte Mission Possible, a media alliance that will spotlight community needs.

Besides money, several groups need volunteers to help cope with the growing numbers of those in need.

An acquaintance who was recently laid off asked where he could go to help right now. He doesn’t have money but he has time. Here is the list that I gave him:

1. Hands on Charlotte:  Call it Volunteer HQ — this group provides a directory of opportunities and ongoing service projects.

2. Crisis Assistance Ministries: This agency offers financial assistance for those facing evictions or loss of utilities. They also provide  clothing and household goods. They’re always looking for volunteers or advocates.

3. Second Harvest Food Bank: They always need help with sorting the food donations. An hour of your time saves the agency around $20 an hour in labor costs. Also, try to take a bag or two of food (peanut butter is an excellent choice).

4. Habitat for Humanity: While shopping at the Habitat ReStore is all well and good, you don’t get the full Habitat experience unless you help build a house. And if you can, shake hands with the family who will be living there.

5. Urban Ministries: This center sees anyone who needs help as their neighbor. Services range from a soup kitchen to counseling to gardening. Don’t miss opportunities to help with the CommunityWorks 945 programming.


  1. Harry 23 Jun 2009 at 10:03 AM

    How about Trips for Kids — Charlotte ?? Our Bicycle Re-Cyclery was featured on this blog a couple of months ago. We’re always looking for volunteers to help restore under-used bikes to get them back onto the streets. Our Ride program is also looking for volunteers to help out with our Saturday morning mountain bike rides with the kids.


  2. Avatar of James Willamor
    James Willamor 23 Jun 2009 at 10:45 AM

    Harry, thanks for mentioning that charity. I’m glad we had a chance to check out the Re-Cyclery a couple of months ago. Check out our original post and go support Trips for Kids: http://cltblog.com/2523

  3. Donna 23 Jun 2009 at 11:48 AM

    Thank you so so much for this great blog and listing these very assistance worthy non-profits — however, if you feel appropriate, possibly mention, in a later blog, the smaller non-profits that rely on United Way donations that are struggling severly. Those that have budgets no where near many other non-profits in the area. These are the ones whose doors will close if not helping during this terrible economy.

  4. Crystal Dempsey 23 Jun 2009 at 1:56 PM

    Donna, you are absolutely right. Many smaller non-profits are just as worthy.
    Please feel free to list the ones that you would recommend.

    My list was a start point. The groups I listed require little training; ie, volunteers can jump in and help right away. Some programs rightfully require orientation and more intensive training.

    CLT Blog plans to offer more coverage as part of the Mission Possible media alliance.

    Harry and James, thanks for adding Trips for Kids/The Re-Cyclery!

  5. Amy Hutchison 2 Jul 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Also, at Second Harvest Food Bank, your hours go towards credits for nonprofits that use their services (like Bethlehem Center *cough cough*). So, your volunteering also provides up to $100 of food to a nonprofit in need. Pretty good deal!

  6. Tovi Martin 6 Jul 2009 at 8:06 PM

    Another great place to start is Jacob’s Ladder Job Center, Inc. — a local non-profit dedicated to helping the unemployed and underemployed find and keep living wage jobs for the past 10 years. Volunteers can help in a number of ways, and at a number of times — there are even work-from-home options.

  7. Jill 20 Sep 2009 at 10:54 PM

    What charities do you recommend for parents and their children to provide service hours. Specifically, I am interested in exposing my 7 and 8 year old to charity work that goes beyond dropping off unwrapped gifts or bags of food. I’d like them to actually serve meals or participate in building houses, or whatever. It seems there are restrictions for children and I was curious if there is a web site or some kind of resource to find a listing of charities that welcome young volunteers. Thanks!

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