While we hope the holidays will bring out the best in everyone, sadly sometimes people use the holidays to take advantage of others.
Last week I mentioned scams that are common during the holidays and ways to protect yourself. This week I thought I should mention holiday giving.
Each year during the holidays, many charitable organizations ask for donations. Most people who ask represent deserving charities, but some do not. Instead, they are scammers pretending to represent a charity, using the holiday season to take advantage of our generous nature.
Online at www.ukiahpolice.com, we have posted links you can use to reach a searchable online California Attorney General database of registered charities and registered professional fundraisers.
To help protect you from donation scams, the Attorney General recommends these tips:
- Be an informed giver. Ask questions before you give.
- Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities won't rush you to donate.
- Ask for written information. A legitimate charity will be willing to send you information.
- Call the charity back and 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 being a volunteer. Giving your time can be as valuable as giving your money to nonprofit organizations.
- Learn about a charitable organization, its activities and its fundraising practices, before you give.
Locally, many deserving charities need our support. If you are thinking about donating this season, please consider a local donation. Giving locally really makes a difference our community.
One worthy organization that needs donations this time of year is the Ukiah Christmas Effort. They are in the midst of collecting toys, food and funding, so they can help local families in need with toys and a nutritious holiday meal this Christmas. The Christmas Effort hopes to serve 350 families this Christmas season. But to do this, they need your help – and your donations.
You can 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.
The Christmas Effort will be located at 276 E. Clay Street in Ukiah, and you can contact President Sheryl Graves at (707) 272-9627 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I also hope that everyone noticed that the Ukiah Daily Journal kicked off its annual Food Bank Fund Drive. This drive is CRUCIAL to delivering 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. The Ford Street Organization pays for all overhead and administrative costs for the Food Bank.
Jacque 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 so 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 590 S. School 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.