Just like giving homemade gifts can be more meaningful (and affordable) than giving store-bought ones, giving back to the community in ways other than monetary donations can be particularly rewarding this holiday season. Here are five local nonprofits that, in addition to accepting donations, also need material goods and volunteer help.
With two locations in Park Hill and Mariposa, this local nonprofit claims the title as the state’s largest bike recycler (they’ve refurbished more than 6,500 bikes and have given away more than 3,500 to date.) But in order to maintain this title, the shop relies on continued community support. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can keep the volunteer-based shop running. Whether your kid no longer needs their training wheels or you’ve chosen to switch to a mountain bike after too many close calls downtown, the shop accepts both used bikes and bike parts. If you’re not ready to give up your precious pedals, however, you can also help out by donating your time as a volunteer by fixing up bikes, working events, or organizing their boundless collection of bicycle spokes. But if you just want to show your support with a quick cash donation, the shop is happy to accept. Park Hill location: 2825 Fairfax St.; Mariposa location: 1060 Osage St.
This animal welfare nonprofit focuses on pet hunger and has opportunities for all animal lovers to lend a hand. The organization hosts pet food pantries where you can drop off your extra pet meals and snacks to temporarily assist local families who may be struggling (there are more than 90 drop-off locations in 23 Colorado cities). Donations of leashes, collars, and toys are also encouraged. Volunteer opportunities include helping out in one of their brick-and-mortar pantries, warehouses, or at events like the South Pearl Street Pet Adoption Fair in September. And before buying Fido a new dog dish for the holidays, make sure to check out the Colorado Pet Pantry website for a list of products for sale that support pets in need.
By supporting this Denver-based center for young artists, you can get something in return. The organization’s mission to offer arts education to underserved students results in music you can listen to on Spotify or purchase on iTunes, including three full-length collaborative mixtapes written and produced by program participants. You can also listen to their podcast, become a donor, or purchase swag from their online merchandise store. To make a more personalized donation, they have a wishlist online, including everything from recording equipment to instruments and more. 1301 W. 10th Ave.
Denver is home to parks and neighborhoods that look picturesque year-round, whether they’re bursting with color in the fall, coated with snow in the winter, or full of frisbee tossers in spring and summer. This beauty is due in part to the Park People, an organization that runs improvement programs and projects that help keep the city green and shady. One such program is Denver Digs Trees, which has resulted in planting more than 50,000 trees for low or no cost to Denver residents. They also have a Community Forester program, through which participants not only get the chance to improve neighborhoods, but also can become their community’s very own amateur arborist. The organization needs volunteers with all kinds of backgrounds, so don’t feel hesitant to check out their list of needs, available on their website. 1510 S. Grant St.
Based in the Art District on Santa Fe, ReCreative Denver is an eco-friendly store, workshop, classroom, and event space in one. The establishment’s objective is to keep art materials out of the landfill and into curious hands, making art both more accessible and sustainable. They accept financial donations as well as materials in all mediums, including paper, marbles, costumes, tiles, and more. Currently, they are in search of artists looking to use their expertise to host workshops and classes, in addition to anyone willing to organize their extensive collection of supplies and materials. Remember, if you decide to donate, organize your provisions beforehand! 765 Santa Fe Dr.