Carmen George

50-plus ways to give back on Giving Tuesday (or any day)

Marianne LeCompte, a volunteer with Wings Advocacy Fresno, helps Phillip Black, who was homeless in February, apply for an identification card at the DMV.
Marianne LeCompte, a volunteer with Wings Advocacy Fresno, helps Phillip Black, who was homeless in February, apply for an identification card at the DMV.

It’s been a busy week of buying, and now it’s time to spend even more … in the name of peace on Earth, goodwill toward men (and women and children).

Somebody came up with a great idea to help: Giving Tuesday – a campaign to encourage do-gooding on the selfless, goodhearted Tuesday to follow Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday and Black Friday.

To help extend the reach of your generosity on Tuesday, or any other day, here’s a handy list. It’s mostly a compilation of groups I’ve learned about while writing Heart in the San Joaquin columns and suggestions from readers. (Let’s be Facebook and Twitter friends, or email friendly tips to

There are so many more, but here’s a sample of some great groups in the central San Joaquin Valley and Sierra. Learn more by visiting the websites for the organizations and reading my past columns.

(P.S. Once you’re done donating, check this list, and this other list, with 104 suggestions from editor Kathy Mahan of fun things to do in or near Fresno. You’ve earned it.)


1. Animal Compassion Team of California operates a pet adoption center and has Pet Pals volunteers and pet foster parents.

2. Doc’s Dogs for Vets in eastern Madera County trains service dogs for wounded veterans, founded in honor of a fallen soldier.

3. Fresno Bully Rescue operates a no-kill shelter that rescues bully breed dogs.

4. Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Service rescues and rehabilitates injured or orphaned wildlife, and educates the public about animals.

5. Halo Cafe is a free pet food pantry for those in need.

6. Labrador Retriever Rescue of Fresno rescues labs and finds them homes.

7. The Cat House on the Kings is a large no-kill shelter for cats. (A Canadian couple also recently got married here.)


8. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) looks out for foster children.

9. Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Sanctuary Youth Shelter is a haven for runaway exploited and homeless children.

10. Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is powered by mothers working to help African American children grow up to become community leaders.

11. A popular ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, sends shoeboxes filled with toys and hygienic items to children in need overseas. Another shoe-box-inspired charity: ShoeBox Sharing in Fresno, which makes blankets and collects supplies for children in need.

12. Reading Heart is run by a generous Fresno girl and her family who collect books for children in need.

13. Sacred Rok provides Yosemite field trips for at-risk youths, including foster children and incarcerated teens in Merced.

14. Scouting – for boys and girls – encourages kids to grow up to be people that help others.

15. Tech Connect is an after-school program in Orosi where children learn computer repair and do community service projects.

16. Toys For Tots or the Angel Tree program collect Christmas presents for children in need.

17. My LGBT Plus is hosting a toy drive for Syrian refugee families.

18. Valley Teen Ranch helps children who were formerly in juvenile hall.


19. San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust helps restore the San Joaquin River through conservation, education and recreation.

20. Sierra Foothill Conservancy works to protect “grasslands, foothills and forests” between Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

21. Yosemite Conservancy supports projects in Yosemite National Park.

Homeless and hungry:

22. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fresno helps those in need through a variety of projects.

23. Community Food Bank serves 280,000 people each month by providing food to more than 200 agencies.

24. Fresno Rescue Mission is a Christian shelter that helps people in need.

25. Manna House provides free food and household items for those in need in eastern Madera County.

26. Poverello House feeds and shelters homeless in Fresno.

27. Wings Advocacy Fresno helps former homeless by giving them furniture and helping them apply for identification cards.


28. AMOR (American Medical Overseas Relief) is a philanthropy project through Granville Homes.

29. Central California Blood Center sponsors blood drives.

30. Ronald McDonald House provides free lodging for families with hospitalized children.

31. Smile for a Lifetime provides free orthodontic care for children in need.

32. The nonprofit Valley Children’s Hospital offers a wide array of services, including a child abuse prevention and treatment center.

33. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are helping curb addiction. Check this story for links to seven supported by Fresno County.

Women and girls in need:

34. Breaking the Chains in Fresno helps human trafficking victims.

35. Evangel Home in Fresno serves homeless women and children.

36. Marjaree Mason Center in Fresno aids victims of domestic abuse.

37. Mollie’s House helps girls who were victims of human trafficking.

38. Naomi’s House cares for formerly homeless women in Fresno.

39. St. Francis Homeless Project helps former homeless women recovering from substance abuse through a “Dog’s Dig ’Em” ministry where women make dog biscuits.

40. The Light-House Recovery Program, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for women, operates Cornerstone Coffee downtown. Proceeds from the shop help women.


41. Preserve mountain history via the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum at Shaver Lake which helps educate the public through exhibits, as does Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park in Oakhurst.

42. Central Valley Community Foundation, formerly the Fresno Regional Foundation, has been working with donors and nonprofits to address social and environmental needs in the Valley for half a century.

43. Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch serves children with disabilities or illness and veterans. They are working to renovate a home to temporarily house veterans. Heart of the Horse was selected as the 8th Senate District nonprofit of the year this summer.

44. Fresno Arts Council supports the arts and arts education.

45. Next Generation Philanthropy is mobilizing the “next generation” to get more involved in helping their community.

46. Salvation Army helps families in need through a number of programs.

47. United Way has a number of programs aimed at improving “education, income and health.”

48. Valley Dream Center in Fresno works to “rescue, restore and release” people back into the workforce. The center has 14 partners, including Gangland Redemption Ministries.

49. West Fresno Family Resource Center helps families through a number of different programs.

50. And – there’s so many service clubs out there, such as Elks, Freemasons, Kiwanis, Lions, Moose, Sanger Women’s Club, Rotary, Ladies of the Lakes, and Veterans of Foreign Wars whose members meet regularly and think up creative, caring ways to help people. Some clubs also have a high-school equivalent, so kids can take a leadership role in giving, too!

Happy Merry Everything!

Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge