We’ve all heard, “Buy Local,” but sometimes people wonder if it really makes a difference. The answer is YES, it does! Spending our dollars with local businesses helps keep our friends and neighbors employed. As the holidays approach, now is the perfect time to buy fantastic gifts right here in Ukiah.
Shopping locally is a good start, but have you considered giving locally? Giving locally is one of the mainstays that truly keeps our community great.
Each year during the holidays, many charitable organizations ask for donations. Although most of the people who ask for donations represent deserving charities, some of these people use the holiday season to take advantage of our generous nature by representing bogus charities.
If you decide to give during the holidays, remember these tips:
Be an informed giver. Ask questions before you give.
Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities won't rush you.
Ask for written information. A legitimate charity is always willing to send information.
Look up the phone number independently and call the charity back to verify before you give.
Watch out for similar sounding names. Scam artists use names that look like respected charities, but aren’t.
Don't send cash. Make your donation by check.
Consider volunteering. Giving your time can be as valuable as giving your money.
Before you give, learn about the organization: its activities and its fundraising practices.
As I mentioned, giving locally really is essential to create a great community. If you are thinking about donating this season, please consider our local non-profits; they really need our help and your dollars will make a difference right here in our community.
One worthy organization that needs donations this time of year is the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. They are in the midst of collecting toys, food, and funding to help local families by providing toys and a nutritious holiday meal to those in need this Christmas. Before they can help hundreds of families, they need your help–they need your donations.
Send donations to the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort at P.O. Box 801, Ukiah, CA 95482, or drop them by the Christmas Effort during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Learn more on the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort’s Facebook page or by contacting President Sheryl Graves at (707) 272-9627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great place to donate locally is to the Ukiah Food Bank. The Ukiah Daily Journal will kick off its annual Food Bank Fund Drive on Thanksgiving weekend to ensure our local food bank has the resources it needs to deliver food to those who would otherwise go hungry in our community.
Jacque Williams, the Executive Director of the Ukiah Community Center and Ford Street Project, told me that when people give to the Ukiah Food Bank, their dollars stay local. She said, “When people give, they’re giving back to their own community.”
Each month, the Food Bank serves an average of more than 1,500 residents in inland Mendocino County: 51 percent are families with children, 21 percent are seniors, and 28 percent are individual households.
Jacque said that every dollar of Food Bank Fund Drive donations go directly to providing food at the Food Bank. She encourages community members to donate. Even if they can’t afford monetary donations, the Food Bank is always in need of canned goods and non-perishable food staples.
“The Ukiah community is so generous. During the last two years, we have been so lucky to raise over $100,000 each year. It is really nice that people in our town take the time to help us. I feel like the whole community cares!” she said.
Donations can be made by dropping off a check at the Ukiah Daily Journal Office at 617 S. State Street, or at the Food Bank at 888 N. State Street.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.