Happy Thanksgiving! This space usually is focused on the problems facing Fresno, the state or the nation. But this Thanksgiving readers are encouraged to count their blessings, then consider making a donation to one of Fresno’s many nonprofit assistance agencies that help our less-fortunate neighbors.
There is no shortage of need and no limit on how you can help. The Bee offers the following programs for consideration; they provide valuable assistance to residents in need, and can use your support:
Marjaree Mason Center: Fresno’s home for domestic-violence victims, Marjaree Mason operates two safe houses that help 350 women and children daily. Besides emergency and longer-term housing, the center has a variety of support services available. To donate, go online to https://mmcenter.org/parter-with-us/donate.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Fresno County: The organization is one of the largest youth service programs locally, helping nearly 7,000 youth in 2017 at its 19 locations. It strives to develop character and leadership, health and life skills, and also focuses on education, career development, arts, and sports/recreation. To donate, go online to https://www.bgcfresno.org/donate-now.
The Salvation Army: Helping people who are hungry, dealing with poverty or substance abuse or surviving disasters is what The Salvation Army does. While a national organization, donations can be made to its outreach in Fresno. Go online to https://give-gs.salvationarmy.org/give.
Catholic Charities: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno operates its Catholic Charities program from 149 N. Fulton St. in downtown. It provides a food pantry, clothing and thrift store, and a career and education center. Other programs include PG&E Care, which helps qualified residents get discounts for their utility use; assistance with managing Social Security, pension and veterans benefits; and the Cal-Fresh and SNAP-Ed food programs. To donate, go online to https://ccdof.networkforgood.com/projects/39521-catholic-charities-of-the-diocese-of-fresno.
Terry’s House: This nonprofit provides housing for relatives whose loved ones are being treated at Community Regional Medical Center. So far this year Terry’s House has helped 1,000 families. The program, in its eighth year, is supported completely by donations. To give, go online to www.communitymedical.org/holidaygift
Central Valley Against Human Trafficking: This outreach is a part of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission and focuses on rescuing victims of human trafficking and returning them to a safe, healthy life. The Valley is one of the state’s worst places for human trafficking. The EOC serves six counties in the central San Joaquin Valley, including Fresno. To donate to the EOC, go online to https://squareup.com/store/fresno-eoc/.
Exceptional Parents Unlimited: This organization provides education and support services to parents of a child born with a disability, born prematurely, facing chronic illness or struggling with family stress. To donate, go online to https://www.epuchildren.org/
Fresno Boys and Men of Color: This program in the Youth Leadership Institute takes up the plight of young African American and Hispanic men. In Fresno this population has the area’s highest unemployment rate, lowest English proficiency, and highest proportion of students who said they are in a gang. One goal is to advocate for such young people at the city and county level to get investment for things like safe parks and health insurance. To donate, contact Building Healthy Communities at http://www.fresnobhc.org/contact-us/.
West Fresno Family Resource Center: Founded in 2001, this organization seeks to improve the overall health of people living in west Fresno, an area that has high poverty and pollution. Among the assistance offered is school readiness and after-school programs for children; parenting classes and economic self-sufficiency training for adults; and substance and mental health help. To donate, go to the center’s website, http://www.wfresnofrc.org/.
Donations can be made anytime. One specific date is next Tuesday, Nov. 27, which is known as Giving Tuesday, an effort started in 2012 in New York City. In social media it carries the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Its purpose is to focus Americans on giving the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both major shopping days.
Whatever date is chosen, know that contributions to the groups mentioned, and any others locally, will be put to good use. Needs in Fresno are great; the generosity of Fresnans can be greater.