Monday, June 17, 2024

10-plus places to give locally this Giving Tuesday [Free Read]

After nonprofits lost funding this year, many are asking for monetary donations this Giving Tuesday. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — As the rollercoaster that is 2020 comes to an end, doing what you can to give back this holiday season is more important than ever. According to Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2020 First Quarter Report, nonprofits were on trend to lose $25 billion this year.

Giving Tuesday, a “global generosity movement,” is an opportunity to help circumvent some of those losses. It kicks off the season of giving the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, falling this year on Dec. 1.

Related: How to help feed a local family this Thanksgiving [Free read]

Before the big day, it may help to have a plan in place for where you intend to donate. Below are more than 10 nonprofits that are asking for support and have pledged to keep your dollars in the community, based on what’s important to you.

United Way of the Cape Fear Area

If someone added up all the dollars they spent on coffee in the last year, it would probably be a lot of unaccounted-for spending. But what if, instead of purchasing another forgettable cup of joe, that money went right back into the community?

United Way of the Cape Fear Area — which works with 42 nonprofits across New Hanover County and its three neighboring counties — is asking people to pledge one “cup of coffee” a week to help others. By texting “GIVEUPACUP” to “44-321,” donors can commit just five bucks weekly. That can quickly add up to $190, enough to feed a family for four to five months.

United Way has taken strides this past year to address the needs that have arisen out of Covid-19’s unexpected arrival. The organization rolled out a quarantine program with several partners to place discharged hospital patients in isolation with meals and health services. Plus, its “Healthy Hotels Initiative” moves vulnerable populations out of homeless shelters and takes in victims of domestic violences, cases of which have surged amid the pandemic.

Contributions can be made at

Foster Pantry

At the start of the pandemic, Foster Pantry noticed intakes of children entering foster care slowing.

However, that observation did not bring the nonprofit relief. Children were no longer in school nor in the public eye, meaning fewer reports were being made.

But, in the last few months, requests for assistance have ramped up, while incoming donations have come to a halt.

“Our caregivers have felt the stressors and financial strain of the pandemic,” said Stacy Pullen, president of the Foster Pantry, “and they need our support more than ever so that they can continue to say yes to children in need.”

The foster pantry relies on donations to make many placements possible. Someone may be willing to foster a newborn or accept a kinship placement, but may lack the resources or supplies to confidentially agree, Pullen explained. The support of the nonprofit helps them do so.

“We can provide these items so that the children can be placed with their family, or a foster family doesn’t have to say no to a placement due to lack of supplies,” Pullen said.

The needs right now include:

  • gift cards for ages 16 through 21 to shop for clothes
  • new tennis or athletic shoes of all sizes for toddlers through teenagers
  • new educational toys and sensory tools for toddler and elementary-aged kids
  • infant and toddler toiletries 
  • diapers in sizes three, four and five, newborn and preemie, and Pull-Ups of all sizes
  • wipes
  • new clothes
  • books
  • gently-used infant and toddler equipment

Foster Pantry also needs funds to assist with finding a new space in 2021. The nonprofit lost its location of three years in August when the landlord expanded offices to comply with social distancing.

Interested volunteers should be on the lookout for group opportunities in 2021.

For more information, or to schedule a pick up or drop off of donations, email, or call or text 910-707-4464.

Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc.

Demand for services at the Domestic Violence Shelter has drastically increased since mid-March.

Crisis line calls more than doubled from this time last year, and the number of shelter nights has risen 277%, according to Kim Boyce, director of operations and development at the agency.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been especially dangerous for those experiencing domestic violence,” Boyce said. “The implementation of stay-at-home orders, though necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, escalated risks for those living with an abuser. Many survivors were cut off from their support systems and abusers had an increased ability to isolate and control their partners.”

Although the agency hasn’t stopped its services, it did lose a dependable source of revenue for several months when its three Vintage Values resale shops were shuttered.

To help make up for it, folks can donate online or by mail to DVSS at PO Box 1555, Wilmington, NC, 28402.

Another way to support the agency is to shop at the resale stores or donate gently-used clothing, household items and other goods for them to sell for proceeds.

To drop off items, call ahead to one of the stores and schedule an appointment.

Volunteer opportunities are available at each store, as well.

StepUp Wilmington

With unemployment on the rise, StepUp Wilmington’s (SUW) mission to help people obtain jobs is essential, and it will continue to be for years to come as people regain their footing post-pandemic.

In 2020 40% of SUW graduates experienced economic hardship as a result of Covid-19, according to Executive Director Will Rikard.

Related: Virtual roundtable: Wilmington-area non-profits before, during, and after Covid-19 [Free]

“While the challenges posed by Covid-19 are significant, SUW has responded creatively to the emerging needs of people and businesses, implementing virtual trainings and customized job search plans for individual needs, removing unnecessary barriers during a pandemic,” Rikard said.

Still, in the coming year the number of people seeking employment is expected to surge. SUW is asking for financial support from the community to meet the rising demand.

To find out how to get involved, visit their website.

Cape Fear Literacy Council

More than 60,000 citizens have limited literacy skills in the Cape Fear region, but they also have a source of free and personalized education right from their home.

Because of the pandemic, Cape Fear Literacy Council had to reinvent the way it provides services, but the Covid-forced push to get things done remotely has been beneficial in many ways.

“The transition to the online format has broken down barriers caused by transportation, work schedule and childcare issues for many tutors and students,” according to Alesha Westbrook, communications and development coordinator, and Erin Payne, director of fund development. “The option to learn remotely has allowed students the exciting new opportunity to engage in the classes, and while there was definitely a learning curve, students and tutors are still bonding and creating meaningful educational experiences through digital platforms.”

Students are able to attend tutoring and group classes virtually, and the tutors themselves are learning to use Zoom and other platforms to continue teaching.

Anyone who wants to support the work of the nonprofit should make a donation to the Cape Fear Literacy Council online or by mailing a check – payable to Cape Fear Literacy Council – to 1012 S. 17th Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.

The nonprofit also accepts gently and unused books. Donate them to the nonprofit’s online bookshop. Call 910-251-0911 or email to schedule a drop-off time.

Communities in Schools

When schools closed, it became even more difficult, yet more important than ever, for Communities in Schools of Cape Fear to motivate students to stay in school.

Communities in Schools places staff members in high-need public schools and works directly with more than 1,000 vulnerable students at high risk of dropping out.

Related: New Hanover County schools strive to be ‘trauma-informed,’ help kids cope with adversity

The nonprofit ramped up and revamped its efforts to reach kids remotely, from checking in weekly with families to delivering basic needs such as food and diapers.

“‘In Schools and Beyond’ became our new motto,” Louise Hicks, executive director, said.

Meanwhile, fundraising events were canceled, and the nonprofit is bracing itself for lessened individual and corporate support, as well as government funding in coming years. Its hope is to engage enough willing community members to make up for anticipated losses.

“We understand you are being asked by a number of other groups, but we hope you will consider a gift to Communities In Schools as an investment in our community, an investment in our youth and an investment in our future,” Hicks said.

Hicks breaks down how your dollars could help: $50 is enough to gift school supplies to a student in need; $100 will buy healthy snacks; $250 could prepare third graders for the end of grade tests; $500 could sponsor an after-school or remote learning lab student; $1,000 could fund a student support specialist.

Donations are accepted online or by check to CIS Cape Fear, PO Box 398, Wilmington, NC 28402.

Vigilant Hope

Vigilant Hope, a faith-based nonprofit, is noticing an increase in the community needing support.

Throughout the pandemic, it has continued offering hot meals and showers through its shower trailer to those in poverty, while also supplying groceries to those with scarce access to food.

It also roasts its own coffee, which is carried in local establishments and can be purchased online.

At this time, the nonprofit is asking for monetary donations and physical items for its meal distributions. Needs include:

  • shampoo
  • travel-sized hand sanitizers
  • hand or foot warmers
  • long johns
  • hats, gloves, coats in all sizes
  • small packers of tissues
  • backpacks
  • Lysol wipes
  • men’s underwear
  • women’s deodorant
  • bug spray
  • 12 ounce hot drink cups
  • napkins
  • salt and pepper packets
  • sugar packets
  • creamer packets
  • Ziplock bags
  • mayonnaise packets
  • can openers
  • toothpaste
  • paper towels
  • toilet paper

People can drop off items at Vigilant Hope, located at 1626 Lake Branch Dr. in Wilmington, on Mondays and Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m. The nonprofit also has an Amazon wishlist that can ship items directly to the nonprofit.

Related: Deep Dive: Riverwalk renovations highlight need to address downtown unsheltered population 

Leading Into New Communities, Inc.

Re-entering society after prison is not easy, but when you add pandemic to the list of obstacles, the challenge is unparalleled.

That’s when organizations like Leading Into New Communities, Inc. can help. The nonprofit guides men and women returning from prison through their transition.

For a while, the organization was on lockdown, and so were its residents in the 90-day re-entry program; the goal of which is to shelter residents while they search for and secure stable jobs, then transition into housing.

“That couldn’t happen if they were not allowed to seek employment,” said Vincent Burgess, resident manager. “We made it through, and now we are seeing residents progressing and fulfilling their goals.”

LINC is seeking support of agencies and individuals for mentorship, sponsorship, volunteers, monetary and physical donations, and advocating for re-entry programs.

Those interested in helping should call 910-332-1132 and ask for Burgess or leave a message. You can also email.

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

In a safe and curbside manner, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard has continued distributing groceries to people struggling with food insecurity in the Wilmington area.

The nonprofit is looking for willing volunteers who are 65 and younger and in good health. Anyone interested should fill out a form on their website.

To easily donate, the pantry accepts financial contributions online and by mail to PO Box 76, Wilmington, NC 28402.

To help restock the pantry, the following non-perishable items are needed:

  • healthy soup
  • cereal
  • fruit
  • canned meat
  • dried beans
  • canned black or white beans
  • macaroni and cheese
  • individual drinks
  • juice boxes
  • spaghetti
  • personal hygiene items (shampoo, soap, feminine products, razors, etc.)

Donations should be brought to the side door of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, 315 Redcross St., between 2 and 3 p.m., any day of the week except Thursday and Sunday.

Frank Harr Foundation

The Frank Harr Foundation, an education and outreach organization working for the LGBTQIA community, provides safe spaces for gender and sexual minorities, and encourages other organizations to create the same environment through programming.

This year has been strenuous as the organization has lost the opportunity to host several major annual fundraising events.

“In spite of these limitations, the board of directors has been hard at work raising funds to help us grow and expand our programming as a vibrant LGBTQ Center serving southeastern North Carolina,” chairperson Virginia Hager said.

Donors are encouraged to visit and click on the “Donate Now” to make a contribution. Checks can be mailed to at 1624 Princess St., Wilmington, NC 28401.

From the site, visitors may also express interest in volunteerism. The Frank Harr Foundation offers a range of opportunities, from working a shift at event booths to joining a fundraising committee.

Hope Abounds Cancer Network

Hope Abounds Cancer Network (HACN) is striving to continue supporting more than 700 cancer patients each year, but since March it has lost eight charitable giving events.

A financial gift during this time would help HACN sustain its programs and support gifts. The nonprofit provides free services to people of all ages who are diagnosed with any type of cancer and offers patient advocacy, treatment navigation and educational programming.

“Many things stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, but cancer did not stop,” Elizabeth Barnes, co-founder and executive director, said. “We continued to do all that we could to help those who needed our support.”

When the pandemic started, the organization filled a need to provide research and educational material to cancer patients about the risks of Covid-19, Barnes said.

“Someone experiencing cancer has a weakened immune system, and this was not addressed publicly as it related to pandemic mandates or guidelines,” she added. “To say the least, these individuals that were enduring cancer treatment or being diagnosed with cancer during this time were extremely affected; that caused additional panic and stress.”

Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity

On top of a pandemic-driven lumber shortage, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity is also dealing with limited volunteer opportunities and dwindling funding while trying to fulfill its mission to build affordable homes for families in need.

“So many people are affected in so many different ways that monetary donations have slipped,” said Lynne Wooten, director of development and communications.

In an effort to keep up with the demand for affordable housing, Habitat has contracted some of its work while gathering restrictions are in place. This inevitably adds extra costs to the projects.

Consider making a donation on their website. The site also includes information on volunteering, land gifts and ReStore donations.

“There is something about being able to help others during the holidays that makes the season the best it can be for everyone,” Wooten said.

Good Shepherd Center

Audi Cape Fear is matching up to $5,000 of Giving Tuesday gifts to Good Shepherd Center.

Donations can be made online.

The nonprofit is aiming to reach a $15,000 goal to rehouse five families for the holidays. On average, the center needs $3,000 per rehousing.

In the midst of the pandemic and with winter ahead, the center is focusing its efforts on preventing evictions and rapidly rehousing those experiencing homelessness.

In addition to its homeless shelter, Good Shepherd Center also runs a soup kitchen and clinic and provides bridge housing and case management to homeless veterans and men with disabilities. Most recently, it completed the SECU Lakeside Reserve, a community of 40 affordable permanent supportive apartments for chronically homeless adults with disabilities.

Coach Bill Dooley Education Foundation

The Coach Bill Dooley Education Foundation, a newer organization that raises money annually to award scholarships, is now in need of the community’s help due to Covid-19 restrictions hindering fundraising.

The foundation was established in memory of Bill Dooley, a football coach who mentored thousands of student athletes at the college and national level and passed away in 2016.

Contributions will help fund educational scholarships to award students who demonstrate outstanding character and excel both academically and athletically. Donations should be sent to the Coach Bill Dooley Education Foundation, Tom Hackler, Treasurer, 6205 Ingleside Drive, Wilmington, NC 28409.

Have a nonprofit you want to add to the list? Email Alex Sands at Please, include how Covid-19 has impacted your organization and how the community can help.

Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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