Looking to help others? Here’s a list of southwestern Illinois charities to consider

Generosity towards others is what the holiday spirit is all about. Whether it is volunteering or donating to a favorite charity, there are plenty of opportunities to help.

Each year the BND publishes brief profiles of local nonprofits that need help from people like you. The beginning of this year’s list is below.

These profiles are provided by the nonprofits. If you would like your tax-exempt, nonprofit organization included in the list and are willing to answer our q-and-a, please contact Jennifer Green at jgreen@bnd.com. We will update the list until Christmas.

Alton

Mid-Town Moms

What does your charity/organization do? Mid-Town Moms help underprivileged children and teens in our community with Christmas and birthday gifts. We help teens up to 17 years old.

How can people help? Anyone can help by donating an item for a teenager. Monetary gifts are also accepted and can be mailed to 304 E. 3rd St., Alton, IL 62002

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Many other organizations are unable to help teenagers. Ages are often limited to age 12 and under at most other organizations. Due to this we focus on the teens so that they may be blessed during the holidays as well as their younger siblings. Here at Mid-Town Moms we help children 17 and under.

Mailing address: 304 E. 3rd St., Alton, IL 62002

Phone number: 618-580-7291

Website: midtownmoms.com

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services

What does your charity/organization do? Riverbend Head Start and Family Services educate children, empower parents and strengthen families by connecting resources and developing positive skills to meet life’s challenges.

How can people help? Individuals and corporations can help by making an unrestricted donation to help fund the greatest area of need or by volunteering their time, services, and skills. Monthly donations are also encouraged in any dollar amount.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? When people give to Riverbend Head Start and Family Services, 85 cents or more from every dollar donated to the agency goes towards funding the greatest area of need in our programs which in turn strengthens families and improves the overall communities in Madison County, Illinois. Unrestricted gifts from individuals and corporations help us offer quality education to at-risk children, while helping their families develop life skills and provide the tools to access community resources that help reverse the effects of poverty. Individuals age 70.5 with an IRA account support the cause through their Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) which uses pre-tax dollars to maximize donation amounts that support the mission of Riverbend Head Start and Family Services and helps eliminate tax owed on an individual’s RMD and eliminates any uncertainty of accurate tax filing of qualified Charitable Distribution (QCDs).

To see the mission in action and learn first-hand how donations help the overall community, contact Jahara Davis at 618-463-8913 to schedule a tour.

Mailing address: 550 Landmarks Blvd., Alton, IL 62002

Phone number: 618-463-5946

Website: riverbendfamilies.org

Belleville

Belleville Area Humane Society

What does your charity/organization do? The Belleville Area Humane Society improves the lives of animals in our community through adoption, humane education and community outreach. In addition to our adoption and foster programs, we serve to keep pets in their loving homes through our community outreach efforts including hosting a pet food and supply pantry, providing funding for emergency pet bills and offering low cost spay/neuter/vaccine services to the community.

How can people help? Please consider volunteering your time, talent and treasure to the Belleville Area Humane Society. Please visit our website to learn about different ways to support. We are always looking for donations, volunteers and pet fosters. Call us today and we will connect you with an opportunity to give back to the people and pets in your community.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? BAHS is proud of serving our community and beyond for more than 60 years. We work hard to keep people and pets together. Thank you for considering supporting our mission. We believe it is a right of all people and pets to feel the love and compassion that these relationships create. We are proud to have served our community for over 60 years and we look forward to expanding our mission until all animals have forever homes and their families have the community outreach and humane education resources they need to succeed.

Mailing address: 1301 S. 11th Street Belleville, IL 62226

Phone number: 618-235-3712

Website: bahspets.org

Belleville Kiwanis Charities Foundation

What does your charity/organization do? The Belleville Kiwanis foundation believes in putting kids first. The list of projects that we support is lengthy. The pandemic has limited our projects, but the club is planning a number of events provided that COVID rates remain low. One project that we would like to get organized is a Go Baby Go build, a very rewarding program with volunteers custom modifying ride-on cars for children with mobility issues due to conditions such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and DiGeorge syndrome. We sponsor leadership programs known as Key Clubs for high school students. A scholarship at Southwestern Illinois College is funded annually by our group. The club has hosted two electronics recycling events this year that resulted in several large truckloads of items that were recycled and kept out of the landfill. The Belleville Kiwanis serves as a charter organization for a Cub Scout Pack, prepares dinner for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, is a sponsor for the Art on the Square high school competition, and much more.

How can people help? Our group welcomes volunteers – we are not by invitation only. Age, occupation, religion, political preferences are irrelevant with the Belleville Kiwanis. We do like people who like to have fun while helping the kids in our community.

Volunteers are welcome at any of our projects especially at our Christmas tree lot, recycling events, and Go Baby Go events. We know our volunteers and members can’t make every event or attend every meeting.

Donations are also accepted. Supporters can also come purchase a fresh wreath or Christmas tree.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? People should know that their donations benefit kids in the Greater Belleville area. Although our group was established in 1948, we understand that our community and the needs of the kids are changing. We welcome ideas, suggestions, and information about needs in our area that are not being addressed. Supporters are welcome to attend our meetings and to contact us with questions or concerns.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 153, Belleville, IL 62222

Website: belleville-il-kiwanis.org Facebook: Belleville, Illinois Kiwanis Club

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois

What does your charity/organization do? We are on a mission to ensure that every child in our community has access to mentorship placing them on a path to graduate high school with a plan for their future and a mentor for a lifetime.

How can people help? Donate at bbbsil.org and/or sign up to be a Big (mentor) at bbbsil.org/beabig.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? All children deserve the time and attention to help them achieve success in life. When you support Big Brothers Big Sisters, you’re not just giving money — you are making an investment in our community that will have ripple effects for generations to come.

Mailing address: 2900 Frank Scott Parkway West, #956, Belleville, IL 62223

Phone number: 618-398-3162

Website: bbbsil.org

Caritas Family Solutions

What does your charity/organization do? Caritas Family Solutions is a human services nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of individuals and families in order to create healthy relationships, loving homes and strong communities throughout the Metro-East and Southern Illinois. Services include adoption, pregnancy care, foster care, counseling, residential treatment for children healing from abuse and/or neglect, independent living for adults with developmental disabilities, and assisted living and employment assistance for low-income seniors.

How can people help? Caritas is currently serving more than 442 children in foster care throughout the Belleville region (1,765 overall), with children entering care every day of the year. While holiday gifts are appreciated, the needs are basic and exist year-round. Making a monetary donation provides the flexibility to meet these needs as they arise. Contributions can be made online at caritasfamilysolutions.org/donate or mailed to Caritas Family Solutions, 8601 W. Main St., Suite 200, Belleville, IL 62223. For more information, contact Ashlee Lambert at 618-213-8714 or Ashlee.Lambert@caritasfamily.org.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Social and emotional well-being is a critical component of healthy families and strong communities. Support for services provided by Caritas Family Solutions is an investment in strengthening our society by helping people of all ages to reach their full potential. Every day, our professional staff assists individuals, families, parents and caregivers in creating loving, stable environments that provide a solid foundation for those in need.

Mailing address: 8601 W. Main St., Suite 201, Belleville, IL 62223

Phone number: 618-213-8700

Website: caritasfamilysolutions.org

Community Interfaith Food Pantry

What does your charity/organization do? Our organization here at Community Interfaith Food Pantry, outreach to the community of Belleville and Scott AFB, is to feed the hungry, be they homeless, displaced, retired, low income, just released from incarceration, etc. We service 62220, 62221, 62222, 62223, 62225, 62226.

We believe going hungry in a country as rich as ours is a travesty. We feed approximately 425 families per month, or 825 individuals. These figures are down from pre-COVID two years ago by about 40%.

The average number of grocery bags given out per month is 2,700 bags, about 6.3 bags per family. We serve about 50 veterans per month and 55 homeless. Of the total 825 individuals served, 223 are children up to 18 years of age. Our hope is that nobody goes to bed hungry.

It takes about $1.1 million to feed these people who use just our pantry here in Belleville, and volunteer hours in a year total 13,521.

How can people help? The ways you could help is to make it more known to the community that food and cash donations are always needed, and that if you meet the guidelines on our website to please come in for some assistance.

Also check our website for hours to volunteer or donate or when to drop off donations and what is needed.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? The reason our community should give is that one day, it maybe you or a family member or friend who will need some assistance with food. Maybe it’s just the humane thing to do for one another. Or just maybe it is Christ saying, “Feed my sheep.”

Mailing address: 1218 W. Main St., Belleville, IL 62220

Phone number: 618-355-9199

Website: FeedBelleville.org

Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois

What does your charity/organization do? Since 1977, the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois has been providing a full spectrum of comprehensive services (such as residential facilities, monthly support groups, summer camp for children, comprehensive case management services, seizure first aid training, emergency medication assistance, etc.) for people whose lives have been affected by epilepsy.

How can people help? Monetary and/or in-kind donations of food, household supplies, gift cards are accepted and appreciated throughout the year. There are many volunteer opportunities such as office work, special events (annual walk) and summer camp counselors. All donations go directly toward helping individuals facing the struggles of living with epilepsy.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois has been serving southern Illinois since 1977. In fiscal year 2021 alone, 72,885 individuals received some form of epilepsy education, information and coordination services. All donations to the Epilepsy Foundation remain locally to help individuals living in your community.

Mailing address: 3515 North Belt West, Belleville, IL 62226

Phone number: 618-236-2181

Website: efgreatersil.org

Optimist Club of Belleville Foundation

What does your charity/organization do? The primary functions of the Optimist Club of Belleville Foundation is to help in the encouragement and development of youth and to develop optimism as a way of life.

How can people help? The Optimist Club is always looking for new members to help with our mission. We will graciously accept all donations. Our club donations and projects total over $50,000 annually. It is estimated that during our club’s existence over $2 million has been contributed and spent toward youth and community improvements. It would be an almost impossible task to evaluate the number of Optimist volunteer hours that have gone into making our club’s efforts successful.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? So many youth in our area are in need of support. As an organization we support many youth activities and community services including the following:

▪ Christmas food drive

▪ Santa’s House and Parade

▪ Childhood Cancer Campaign

▪ College scholarship fund

▪ Junior Optimist Golf Tournament

▪ Annual Oratorical, Essay and Poster Contests

Mailing address: P.O. Box 636, Belleville, IL 62222

Phone number: 618-806-5145

Website: facebook.com/Optimistclubbellevilleillinois

Project Compassion

What does your charity/organization do? PC-NFP has assisted over 80,000 homeless, disadvantaged, and low-income men, women, and children with food, shelter, seasonal supplies, hygiene items, life-skills workshops, and vocational training.

How can people help? Being a NFP we have several ways for people to help. We are always looking for regular volunteers to aid in every day NFP needs. Also, anyone looking to aid in the process of acquiring supplies for our clients can either refer to Project Compassion’s Amazon Wishlist or contact a staff member in office to gauge our current needs! Finally, anyone who would like to provide a monetary donation can do so through either Project Compassion’s Cash App $projectcompassion or through Project Compassion’s website under the donate tab.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? As an organization we pride ourselves on providing compassionate filled resources to each client that walks across our threshold. No client leaves without their immediate needs being addresses. Each year we service thousands of women and youth and look forward to doing so for years to come. Each donor of Project Compassion ensures we can continue fulfilling the mission.

Mailing address: 6609 W Main St. Belleville, IL 62223

Phone number: 618-397-1790

Website: projectcompassionnfp.org

Senior Companion Program

What does your charity/organization do? Senior Companions are older adults who provide companionship and assistance to their peers who are homebound or socially isolated. Senior Companions also assist with daily tasks and provide a much needed break to full-time caregivers.

This program brings seniors together with other seniors. The companions provide supportive, individualized services to help clients maintain their dignity and independence. The goal is to keep clients independent and in their own homes.

Senior Companions come a minimum of four hours per day. There is no cost to the family or the client. The days are arranged to meet the needs of the family and client. Although they might begin as strangers, these seniors quickly become friends.

How can people help? A financial donation goes a long way in supporting the program, which in turn could possibly be supporting your neighbor needing some extra assistance. The federal and state funding has diminished over the years , and we are only able to support the number of volunteers with what is in the budget. An increase in our community’s financial support would allow for additional volunteers to be trained and sent out.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? AmeriCorps Seniors knows that service works, which is why they are committed to improving lives, strengthening communities and fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering. Volunteering spreads smiles to both the Senior Companion and those in need of assistance. Being of service has a multitude of benefits for wellbeing and provides goodwill to the individuals in the communities served. New data from the first year of the AmeriCorps Seniors impact study shows Senior Companion volunteers report improved health after just one year of service. Volunteers reported decreased anxiety and depression, decreased loneliness and social isolation, enhanced physical capacity and higher life satisfaction. Help others in your community who want to stay in their homes by giving financially to the Senior Companion Program. Donations made will help with the Companions’ mileage, meals and time of service. A monetary gift will show you care about our older adults and their dignity to stay active for as long as possible.

Mailing address: 201 N. Church St., Belleville, IL 62220

Phone number: 618-234-4410 ext. 7040 or ext. 7036

Website: swic.edu/community/senior-programs/psop/programs

Soup & Raisins Program

What does your charity/organization do? The Soup & Raisins Program provides basic meals to students at Southwestern Illinois College who are struggling. Free ramen noodles, raisins and crackers are available through the SWIC Success Center for students in need. An average of 250 meals are given out each week.

How can people help? While SWIC employees can donate through payroll deduction, monetary donations are graciously accepted through the SWIC Foundation. Please designate in the memo line that the donation is for the Soup & Raisins Program. Donations of ramen noodles (in cups), raisins and crackers are appreciated as well.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? SWIC students are often on their own after having a safety net in high school — free or reduced lunches are no longer provided. Child care issues, unreliable transportation, unexpected illness and underemployment plague many of our students. Some students end up homeless or living in their car just trying to get through the semester. Other students find themselves in a financial crisis with a choice between paying for a textbook or paying their rent. We are trying to eliminate hunger from their list of concerns.

Mailing address: SWIC Foundation, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221

Phone number: 618-235-2700, ext. 5174 or 618-301-6721

St. Clair TNR & Rescue

What does your charity/organization do? St. Clair TNR & Rescue is a local nonprofit organization run by volunteers (located in Belleville, serving St. Clair County) who help the community by performing TNR (trap, neuter and return) on feral and community cats throughout the county at little to no charge to the residents. Cats then live longer, healthier lives while the nuisance behaviors are long gone. We also help community members find low cost spay/neuter options for owned pets.

St. Clair TNR & Rescue also rescues animals from TNR locations and pulls animals from St. Clair County Animal Control. We do not discriminate. We take in ill animals, injured animals, FIV+ cats, pregnant mamas, litters of kittens, etc. We have a physical shelter and several foster homes. Cats and dogs are available for adoption year-round. Many animals ready for adoption are listed on petfinder.com, and some cats are able to be viewed at the O’Fallon PetSmart kitty condos.

In the past, we would answer after hours and weekend calls from local police and fire departments in need of assistance with injured animals. This year the number of calls to which we have responded has quadrupled. We have responded to calls for animals being hit by cars, sick animals wandering the streets, aggressive animals scaring local residents, lost animals needing to be scanned for a microchip and housed for the night, etc. Thankfully, many times the animals are reunited with their owners. However, sometimes they are not. This area of rescue can add up quite quickly with the number of trips to the emergency clinic after hours and on the weekends.

We are currently hosting pet pictures with Santa at Rural King in Swansea two Saturdays in December (11th and 18th) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How can people help? There are several ways people can help St. Clair TNR & Rescue and the animals in our care. We are always looking for volunteers to transport animals to and from vet clinics, volunteers to help with TNR services and volunteers to foster cats and/or dogs. Please call 314-339-7481 if you’re able to help. Please consider choosing St. Clair TNR & Rescue as your Amazon Smile charity of choice. We have a wishlist on Amazon as well. https://a.co/cy5efrR And we are always thankful for donations. You can donate on our page at stclairtnrandrescue.vistaprintdigital.com by clicking on the donate button, by PayPal.me/tnrandrescue, by Venmo @TNRandRescue, or by mail by sending donations to 3067 Plum Hill School Road, Belleville, IL 62221. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/maggiesmuttmission to learn more.

We also have Rescue Me 2022 calendars for sale. Each year we team up with local police and fire departments to create a calendar of adorable adoptables and first responders. This year the Belleville Fire Department, the East St. Louis Fire Department, the Smithton Fire Department, and the Smithton Police Department gave their time and snuggled some pups for our calendar. We appreciate their support! Calendars can be purchased for $20 (local pickup) and $25 (with shipping). They can be ordered by sending $20/$25 through Venmo and adding a note of “calendar.”

Our silent auction and trivia night will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Swansea Improvement Association at 7 p.m. Text or call 314-339-7481 to reserve your table today. $20/person. All tables reserved by Jan. 1, 2022, will receive FREE mulligans.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? St. Clair TNR & Rescue is committed to helping the county continue to be a no kill community by providing TNR services to as many community members and their feral cat colonies as possible. We also provide food, shelter and medical care for those we rescue from the streets and from St. Clair County Animal Control. Some cats and dogs stay in our care for quite some time since their medical needs are so great.

Mailing address: 3067 Plum Hill School Road, Belleville, IL 62221

Phone number: 314-339-7481

Website: stclairtnrandrescue.vistaprintdigital.com

Breese

Community Link

What does your charity/organization do? Community Link offers opportunities for growth and independence for individuals with developmental disabilities. We accomplish this through a person-centered approach, providing participants with a place to live, education, independent living skills, and employment that enriches their lives and empowers them to advocate for themselves.

How can people help? Monetary gifts are Community Link’s greatest need at this time. We are also hiring more Direct Support Professionals to join our team!

Why should people give to your charity/organization? In 2022 we will be celebrating 50 years of providing work opportunities, comfortable homes, and community inclusion for thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities. With the generosity of our supporters, we continue to create a community where everyone is valued for their presence and contributions.

Mailing address: 1665 N. Fourth St., P.O. Box 157, Breese, IL 62230

Phone number: 618-526-8800

Website: commlink.org

Collinsville

Children’s Dyslexia Center – Southern Illinois

What does your charity/organization do? Dyslexia is estimated to affect over 2 million children in the U.S. These children typically have average or above average intelligence. However, if their dyslexia causes academic problems, it can lead to emotional and self-esteem issues throughout their lives. Since 2002, the Southern Illinois Center has been providing tutoring to children by highly educated tutors free of charge. Specialized training in the Orton-Gillingham method has also been provided free of charge. Learn more about how the Children’s Dyslexia Center – Southern Illinois has impacted the lives of children in your community by visiting readwithdyslexia.com.

How can people help? You can:

  • Attend, volunteer, or join our board of governors to help us create and host fundraising events. Our fundraisers are most successful with your help.

  • Donate center supplies: particularly copy paper, red expo markers, paper towels, toilet paper, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, paper masks.

  • Give the gift of reading. What do you give to someone who has everything? You can give the gift of reading by making a donation to the center. Visit readwithdyslexia.com/sponsor_a_child to donate online and to find out how to make donations by mail.

Over 90% of sponsorship income goes directly to providing tutoring-related services for children with dyslexia. You can be confident your commitment is going where it should go — to the children who need it most.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Donations to support the Children’s Dyslexia Center – Southern Illinois are greatly needed and appreciated. The free one-to-one individualized tutoring for each child is estimated to cost our center about $5,000 per child per year. We also train, free of charge, community members who have a bachelor’s degree or higher and who love to work with children one-on-one. This is at an estimated cost of $6,000 per trainee. These trainees become certified as Dyslexia Practitioner 1. Your donation to our 501c3 nonprofit center will be acknowledged with a letter of appreciation for your tax records. We generally have numerous fundraisers throughout the year, but that has now been severely limited by COVID. However, our yearlong calendar of events for 2021-2022 is located at readwithdyslexia.com/calendar. We hope to continue to plan and execute fun, family friendly events so the community at large can support children who want to learn to read but are struggling to do so.

Mailing address: 417 W. Main St., Suite 3, Collinsville, IL 62234

Phone number: 618-223-1308

Website: readwithdyslexia.com

Collinsville Food Pantry

What does your charity/organization do? Due to the pandemic crisis, the Collinsville Food Pantry offers curbside pick-up only for their clients two times per month instead of their normal client-choice shopping experience on Tuesdays 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., and Fridays 9-11 a.m. The Pantry also offers curbside services for emergency food boxes, senior commodity boxes and care packages for the homeless. Their SOS soup kitchen program provides hot meals curbside on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. They have also partnered with the Society of St. Vincent De Paul to include delivery services to the Collinsville homebound residents. They still offer their Tote Me Home program, a weekend meal package for students in the Collinsville Unit 10 School District, which is now well over 200 students per week. Virtual utility assistance and housing rental assistance, other resources for health care, dental, nutrition, employment services and food stamp application services are now offered through informational pamphlets placed in the curbside bags.

How can people help? The services are provided through generous donations from local businesses, organizations, churches and individuals giving to the Collinsville Food Pantry. You can make a difference in the community by partaking in giving opportunities with us. Call 618-346-1861.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? The Collinsville Food Pantry needs community support to continually provide quality services to those that are struggling and in need of assistance.

Mailing address: 201 E. Church St., Collinsville, IL 62234

Phone number: 618-346-1861

Website: collinsvillefoodpantry.org

Making a Difference

What does your charity/organization do? We feed, clothe and minister to EVERYONE. From time to time everyone of us needs help whether you are living check to check or homeless on the street, we will do what we can to help. We don’t have any income or ZIP code requirements so If you are looking for clothing, food or hygiene let us know and if we don’t currently have it in stock we can point you to resources to help you out.

How can people help? Visit our website at becausetheymatter.com or check us out on Facebook at Facebook.com/becausetheymatter for more info. We are always looking to partner up with churches, businesses and other organizations.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Our charity is run on 100% donations; we have no paid staff on hand as we are all volunteers. Check out our website or Facebook to see how we are Making A Difference in our community!

Mailing address: 3303 VFW Lane, Collinsville, IL 62234

Phone number: 618-514-4393

Website: becausetheymatter.com

St. John’s Community Care

What does your charity/organization do? Care compassionately for aging and disabled people, supporting their independence and their family caregivers.

How can people help? Donations help us to maintain a professional and compassionate level of care for each of our clients. Monetary gifts also allow us to offer the medical loan closet, support groups and caregiver training without charge.

People or groups interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Stacey Rhodes at 618-344-5008. Volunteer opportunities include helping maintain our courtyard plants, playing games with participants and singing or musical performances for our participants in the Adult Day Program.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? St. John’s Community Care is committed to serving those who are challenged with aging issues with love, dignity, and respect. We know that it’s not easy to grow old. That’s why every day at St. John’s we give hope to each person we serve. Showing them that they have a purpose and that they still have a choice in how they live their best possible lives.

We viewed our care for the aging and disabled through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality caregiving options for families who are caring for aging loved ones. But it takes a lot of hard work, time and money to do what we do.

Mailing address: 222 Goethe Ave., Collinsville, IL 62234

Phone number: 618-344-5008

Website: stjohnscc.org

East St. Louis

Gateway Pet Guardians (GPG)

What does your charity/organization do? GPG provides affordable, accessible, quality pet resources and champions a thriving pet welfare community to the over 55,000 people who live in the East Side Pet District – East St. Louis, Cahokia Heights, Washington Park and Fairmont City.

How can people help? Adopt, foster, volunteer and donate.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? GPG’s mission is to keep families together and prevent owned pets from entering an already crowded shelter system by reimagining what animal rescue really means. Our organization believes everyone deserves the love of a pet, regardless of ZIP code, income, employment-status or housing-type. We go above and beyond rescue to ensure equitable access to resources so that no one in our community has to make the impossible choice to give up their beloved pet.

Mailing address: 725 N. 15th St., East St. Louis, IL 62205

Phone number: 618-687-8007

Website: gatewaypets.org

Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, Inc.

What does your charity/organization do? Neighborhood House is a community center providing a wide range of programs and services to the East St. Louis community including a Food Pantry, recreational and education assistance for youth, job development and training and AmeriCorps.

How can people help? People can donate toys, household goods or canned goods to help those in our community during the holiday season.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Neighborhood House has a long history of serving the East St. Louis community. The holiday season is a good time to remember our neighbors throughout the metro east area with charity and kindness.

Mailing address: 1200 N. 13th St., East St. Louis, IL 62205

Phone number: 618-874-0777

Website: lessiebatesdavis.org

Our Brothers’ Keepers of Southern Illinois

What does your charity/organization do? Our mission is to assist returning citizens coming out of prisons/jails to reenter society as responsible citizens returning to their families and community. This reintegration process allows our clients to begin INTAKE that includes assessment of needs and development of both short and long term goals. Then the process begins for reading Literacy assessment and start of Life Skill and Job Skill classes that are essential for men and women who have been isolated in prisons/jails for many years with limited life and job skill development.

How can people help? Financial donations help us to purchase bus passes and meal cards when clients are attending classes. This financial help also helps pay for cleaning the work areas to meet CDC guidelines and keep the staff safe. Volunteers are needed to teach reading, writing and social skills. This includes teaching basic computer skills and on-line searching for job opportunities. Mentoring returning citizens and finding affordable housing in St. Clair and Madison counties is a great need. Providing items for hygiene kits helps our returning citizens since they have little money to buy these necessities. Volunteers are also needed to support staff by developing contact data bases, working with GATA and SAM for federal and state grants and exploring various fund raising venues.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Men and women coming out of prisons/jails have no concept of what life is like today after being in a prison for 10-15+ years. Just imagine if you had lost contact with the outside world for that span of time and on day one of release had to negotiate a ride on a bus or train, call someone without a pay phone, find a place to live or half-way house, find a job without skills and many times not able to read above the fifth grade level. This is the impossible situation that a majority of our men and women experience as they try to reintegrate back into society. A society that does not want them, will not hire them and would rather they be locked up forever. Of course, 96% of all inmates will be released and could be your neighbor. OBK has a mission to assist these returning citizens as a not-for-profit corporation to the extent that our funding allows.

Mailing Address: 614 N. 7th St., East St. Louis, IL 62201

Phone Number: 618-271-7821

Website: www.obkministry.org

Edwardsville

Glen-Ed Pantry

What does your charity/organization do? Glen-Ed Pantry provides food and assistance to low-income families and individuals residing in the Edwardsville School District.

Programs include:

  • Food shopping every 30 days

  • Children’s Christmas Gift Shopping

  • Pantry To You – Home delivery for those who are unable to come to the Pantry

  • SNAP and IHEAP application site

How can people help? Food, personal hygiene and cleaning product donations are always needed and appreciated. Your financial donations allow us to purchase much needed items at a reduced cost.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? No one should go hungry. A contribution to Glen-Ed Pantry will help us to continue to feed the hungry in our community.

Mailing address: 125 5th Ave., Edwardsville, IL 62025

Phone number: 618-656-7506

Website: glenedpantry.org

Fairview Heights

The Illinois Center for Autism

What does your charity/organization do? We provide education and services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.

How can people help? There are several possible opportunities to help the Illinois Center for Autism (ICA). The holidays always present unique challenges to families who have children with special needs. Many struggle financially on a daily basis. We are also asking for financial assistance to help prepare our adults with life and job skills to continue their quest towards independence and becoming contributing members of society. To help please contact us at 618-398-7500 or go to www.illinoiscenterforautism.org.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Why should people give to your charity? We have nearly 45 years of developing programs for children and adults with ASD and developmental disabilities. We have a management team with more than 100 years of experience combined, and we are serving the most vulnerable individuals in our society. One in 54 people is diagnosed. The diagnosis has been said to be greater than the combined diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Down Syndrome.

Mailing address: 548 S. Ruby Lane, Fairview Heights, IL 62208

Phone number: 618-398-7500

Website: illinoiscenterforautism.org

National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

What does your charity/organization do? The mission of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) is to empower and connect people touched by ectodermal dysplasias through education, support and research. In 1981, Mary Kaye Richter and 12 other families affected by ectodermal dysplasias organized and founded the NFED in Mascoutah, Illinois. Mary Kaye’s toddler, Charley, had been diagnosed with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, and she was looking for answers on how to best take care of him.

How can people help? The NFED has many ways that people can help:

▪ Donate cash, check, credit card, stock and/or in-kind items.

▪ Host a fundraising or awareness event.

▪ Advocate to mandate medical insurance coverage for dental treatments.

▪ Volunteer at our office to help with mailings.

▪ Help raise awareness on social media.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? The NFED is the only organization in the U.S. whose sole mission is to empower those with ectodermal dysplasias. We are committed to the ectodermal dysplasias community. Ectodermal dysplasias are inherited disorders that involve defects in the hair, nails, sweat glands and teeth. When a person has at least two types of abnormal ectodermal features — for example, malformed teeth and extremely sparse hair — the individual is identified as being affected by ectodermal dysplasia.

The NFED has grown considerably since the early 1980s, a time when little was known about the rare conditions and the medical literature cited only a half dozen affected individuals in the United States. Today, we serve more than 9,200 families worldwide.

When you are missing some or all of your teeth, smiling, eating and talking are not easy. Here at the NFED, we believe every person deserves a smile. We work with families to help them understand treatment options, to increase their access to care and to find financial assistance for that care. We have a network of Dental Treatment Centers, offer a donated implant program with the help of Straumann, educate care providers through symposia and have provided clients with more than $1.5 million in assistance for needed care.

Perhaps our greatest success comes from providing individuals and families affected by ectodermal dysplasia with a place to turn for reliable information, support and hope. We publish high-quality information to empower families with knowledge that their doctors often cannot give. We stand with open arms to welcome the family who has just been diagnosed, to answer their questions, and to allay their fears. The foundation educates families that anything is possible for the person who is affected by ectodermal dysplasia. The conditions come with challenges, but with support and encouragement, families can expect a bright future.

The NFED is also dedicated to finding a cure. We have funded more than $2.5 million in research at more than 40 centers around the world and sponsored numerous scientific conferences for specific syndromes and classification. NFED-funded research projects have identified genes for numerous ectodermal dysplasias, established treatment protocols and characterized many of the syndromes.

Mary Kaye retired as executive director in 2010. Today, Mary Fete leads the NFED and carries out the vision that the first dozen families had back in 1981: to be a resource for the ectodermal dysplasias community and to assure its families that they are never alone.

Mailing address: 6 Executive Drive, Suite 2, Fairview Heights, IL 62208

Phone number: 618-566-2020

Website: nfed.org

Freeburg

Fire Truck O’ Toys

What does your charity/organization do? Our mission is to make sure every hospitalized child and family receives that joy in the form of the simplest of gifts at Christmas — a toy.

How can people help? Visit www.firetruckotoys.org for a list of our sponsors hosting toy collection sites. At any of these locations, you can drop off new, unwrapped toys. Or, you can make monetary donations on the site and Santa’s helpers will use these donations to purchase toys for our local hospitalized children.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? To date, we’ve collected almost 45,000 toys and have distributed to six St. Louis hospitals, including SSM Cardinal Glennon, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, Mercy Hospital for Children, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital and Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. Our ongoing outreach is expanding every year as more organizations have come to support the program. Administration and support costs are managed by our sponsorship partners, allowing us to focus 100% of donations for the purchase of toys and gifts for the children in our local hospitals.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 209, Freeburg, IL 62243

Phone number: 618-578-8384

Website: firetruckotoys.org

Highland

Leaps of Love, Inc.

What does your charity/organization do? LOL embraces families affected by childhood brain tumors, late-effects of childhood cancer, and predisposition syndrome by providing hope, strength and encouragement to endure the challenges everyone in the family faces. Family retreats, social events, outings, workshops, and more can help give these families the opportunity to strengthen their lives with support, wisdom, and encouragement of others who have experienced similar scenarios to theirs.

How can people help? As things are slowly opening up, we are currently looking for gift cards to help families with gas, groceries, restaurants, and clothing as they stay safe. This gives them a chance to still receive their essentials and other needs while limiting their time outside the home.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Many people do not realize that even though the children may be surviving longer, their chances of health problems, due to their treatments, increase. Late effects of childhood cancer treatment are common in survivors, and approximately two-thirds are moderate to severe. Once diagnosed with childhood cancer, it is a life-long sentence, not only for the child but the entire family.

Mailing address: 1005 B Broadway, Highland, IL 62249

Phone number: 618-410-7212

Website: leapsoflove.org

Maryville

Got Your Six Support Dogs

What does your charity/organization do? Got Your Six Support Dogs supports veterans and first-responders who have risked their lives to serve our country. To help those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as sexual trauma, Got Your Six Support Dogs’ goal is to place trained PTSD service dogs with veterans and first-responders at no cost to help them heal from the psychological stress of war and duty through the compassion and healing power of their loyal four-legged companions.

How can people help? At Got Your Six Support Dogs, we are always accepting monetary donations, as well as supply donations. People can help by donating, planned giving, purchasing items from our Amazon wish list, sponsoring a service dog, hosting fundraisers, and shopping through Amazon Smile.

In addition to donations, we are always looking for volunteers to assist in events and fundraising.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? On average, it costs $25,000 to train a PTSD service dog to certification. This cost is due to the expenses of care and countless hours of specialty training as well as a two week intensive trauma-resiliency program each recipient receives. Your generous donation allows our organization to offer highly skilled service dogs and life-changing programs at no cost to the recipient.

Mailing address: 6 Schiber Court, Maryville, IL 62062

Phone number: 618-206-5015

Website: gotyoursixsupportdogs.org

Mascoutah

Leu Civic Center Inc.

What does your charity/organization do? The Leu Civic Center plans and organizes a variety of recreational, cultural, social and civic programs for the youth and families of Mascoutah, Scott Air Force Base, Lebanon, New Baden, Freeburg and the surrounding communities. The center has been providing a variety of programs for over 40 years.

We offer programs for children and their families to encourage physical fitness, teamwork and respect for themselves and others around them. Financial assistance is provided to families in need and any military family with a deployed family member.

On school days, we provide a late afternoon meal for any child who needs one, no questions asked.

How can people help? Individuals and corporations can help by making a donation to help us keep providing the services we offer and/or by volunteering their time, services and skills.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? We are one of the most affordable recreational/sports centers in the bi-state area. We only charge a family $40 per year for membership and all of our classes. Any family that needs financial assistance is provided with a scholarship. We also provide all military families with a deployed family member full scholarships.

Mailing address: 213 N. Market St., Mascoutah, IL 62258

Phone number: 618-566-2175

Website: leuciviccenter.com

Millstadt

Equus Rescue and Therapy

What does your charity/organization do? Equus Rescue is a 501c3 nonprofit that began in 2008 after its founder, Margo Sutter, learned the shocking fate of many racehorses that can no longer race — many between 2 and 5 years old. She realized that having the potential to live another 25-30 years gave ample time to retrain these magnificent, intuitive animals for a second career as therapy animals. Horses have an amazing ability to connect non-verbally with humans in a highly therapeutic manner, and in some cases, have even surpassed traditional methods. It was a win-win opportunity.

While Equus Rescue focuses mainly on rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and re-homing thoroughbred racehorses, it is not breed exclusive when need prevails. To date, Equus Rescue has re-homed, fostered or transitioned over 400 horses into safe or permanent environments.

Now that we have obtained more room at our farm, including a huge indoor arena, we are ready to launch in-house programs focused on youths at risk, our country’s military veterans, crime victim groups and other populations who may find greater comfort in a non-verbal therapeutic environment. However, it remains a huge financial commitment to support and retrain them to serve in new therapeutic roles. Currently, Equus Rescue supports 54 horses, including descendants of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and even Man o’ War.

How can people help? We always welcome volunteers who love horses. It’s not just mucking stalls. Horse-handling skills are always very helpful, but not required. Bring your talents and we will put them to good use. We also can use donated items such as pine shavings, bags of feed, grooming supplies, lots and lots of hay, and monetary gifts — for all of which we will happily provide a donation receipt. Please ask your employer or philanthropic group to consider sponsoring a horse for a year.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Currently, we are 100% donation funded and 100% volunteer staffed, meaning that the donations we receive pay for hay, grain, veterinary expenses, rent and utilities. It costs about $100 per day for hay alone. With your help, we can achieve our goal to become self-sustaining through our therapy programs, clinics and private rental of our new indoor arena, which is suitable for a wide variety of events from horse clinics, shows, riding lessons, training and even horse-themed parties and wedding receptions.

Mailing address: 8743 LePere School Road, Millstadt, IL 62260

Website: equusrescue.org

New Baden

New Baden Giving Tree

What does your charity/organization do? The Giving Tree provides food and clothing to residents of New Baden and New Memphis on a regular and dependable basis. During the summer, children in the area are provided lunch Monday-Friday through our Summer Lunch Program. The Giving Tree also provides backpacks with school supplies for children in New Baden before they go back to school. Around the holidays, the Giving Tree provides Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts for the children in the area.

How can people help? Monetary contributions can be made at any time, as well as donations of clothing and nonperishable food items. Feel free to call the church at 618-588-4135 if you are interested in volunteering or to find out how you can contribute in another way.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? It is our mission to be a community of God’s people who care for one another by translating our faith into action and being responsive to the social, emotional, intellectual and possible spiritual needs of those around us in our community.

Mailing address: 414 W. Hanover St., New Baden, IL 62265

Phone number: 618-588-4135

Website: zionuccnb.net

O’Fallon

Hearts In Faith

What does your charity/organization do? We empower single moms, single fathers and youth by promoting healthy relationships, as well as emotional, mental and spiritual strength.

How can people help? This year we are in need of a school supplies to support the needs of youth in St. Clair and Madison County. We are also in need of hygiene products to distribute to single-parent families in need.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Supporting single moms, single fathers and youth will ultimately strengthen our communities and enhance the lives of these families.

Mailing address: 7 Eagle Center, Suite B1, O’Fallon, IL 62269

Phone number: 314-529-0214

Website: heartsinfaith.org

Swansea

LINC, Inc. (Living Independently Now Center)

What does your charity/organization do? LINC provides independent living services to people with all types of disabilities and all ages, including but not limited to advocacy; peer support; independent living skills training; information and referral; and both youth and nursing home transition. Our services are holistic in nature, ensuring that all needs are addressed. And 51 percent or more of our board and staff positions are filled by people with disabilities.

How can people help? Donations are gratefully accepted at our office, on our website or by mail. Gifts of both money and time are truly valued. We are currently seeking volunteers for several projects, and we are also seeking mission-minded individuals to serve on our board of directors. Give us a call for more information.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Giving is a win-win situation. You get to feel good about donating to support quality local services that help people with varying disability-related needs. LINC’s support groups, equipment loan program, and community programs are funded by your donations. And our state or federally funded programs, restricted by requirements, are enhanced by your generosity. People with disabilities in our community live better through receiving assistive devices or equipment and/or support from others who have been there. LINC’s consumers are able to live more independently, creating stronger individuals and a more inclusive community.

Mailing address: 15 Emerald Terrace, Swansea, IL 62226

Phone number: 618-235-9988

Website: lincinc.org

Troy

Equipping the Called Foster & Crisis Closet

What does your charity/organization do? Equipping the Called is a nonprofit, which exists to assist children in crisis, kinship placements, safe family program participants and “at risk” families identified by the Department Children and Family Services or law enforcement in Southwestern Illinois. At times, foster families receive children in crisis with little or no notice. Children are often placed into foster care with no personal items. In many cases, they come into care with only the clothes on their backs. Equipping the Called provides foster families the opportunity to shop at our foster closet boutique for clothing, backpacks, formula, diapers, shoes, socks and underwear, all at no cost to the family. All items provided to children by Equipping the Called are either in new or “like new” condition. Families are given one-hour, private appointments so they can select items without the normal distractions of public shopping.

How can people help? Equipping The Called receives more and more calls every week from families in need. We need donations of new clothing (including socks and underwear), money to purchase new shoes and diapers and store gift cards. Volunteers are needed to organize new clothing and diaper drives, assist with day-to-day running of the foster closet, assist families when shopping and sort donations.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Foster care is not seasonal. More and more children are coming into care due to the opioid crisis. With your help, Equipping The Called will be able to help more families in need.

We can’t solve the crisis of children being removed from families, but we can assist in helping them transition into a family with self-esteem and dignity.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 171, Troy, IL 62294

Phone number: 618-205-3112

Website: equippingthecalled.org

Waterloo

Human Support Services

What does your charity/organization do? When you donate to Human Support Services’ Invest in People campaign 2021, you are giving young people in Monroe County the opportunity to pursue their greatest potential.

The HSS Building Futures program is a step toward endless possibilities: a meaningful job in the community; a college education; or the chance to start her own business.

Building Futures offers youth ages 14 to 30 a bridge from special education services to opportunities beyond a traditional setting. These “transition supports” are typically offered to youth with a learning disability, an intellectual or developmental disability or a mental illness.

With an end of grant funding from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, HSS must now rely on generous donors like you to continue to provide this program to our clients.

HSS also offers outpatient counseling services, 24-hour crisis support, substance use services, housing for individuals with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness, and on-site job training programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Our programs and services are as diverse as the needs of those who rely on us.

How can people help? As a 501c3 nonprofit, Human Support Services (HSS) relies on the support of our community to provide our services and programs. With your help, we impact more than 1,300 local lives every year. Donations can be made online at hss1.org or by mail to Human Support Services, 988 N. Illinois Route 3, P.O. Box 146, Waterloo, IL 62298-0146.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? We know a community is only as strong as each of its members, and we are here for each and every one.

Thanks to generous supporters like you, HSS is able to offer counseling, housing assistance, employment training programs and much more to all people, regardless of their ability to pay.

When you give to HSS, your donation stays right here, supporting programs for local individuals and families.

Donations are tax deductible and allow us to continue to help change lives in your community.

Mailing address: 988 N. Illinois 3, P.O. Box 146, Waterloo, IL 62298-0146

Phone number: 618-939-4444

Website: hss1.org

Monroe County House of Neighborly Service

What does your charity/organization do? The House of Neighborly Service is a group of churches, agencies, schools, civic groups and organizations who have the common mission to empower families and individuals in their lives.

How can people help? We are an agency of volunteers who provide food, clothing and other assistance to individuals and families in Monroe County. We welcome any donations relating to those needs, as well as individuals who wish to volunteer.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? House of Neighborly Service is a non-profit, community-based organization that is all about neighbors helping neighbors. We are not a government funded agency, and we work with individuals and families one-on-one to meet their specific needs.

Mailing address: 1331 Jamie Lane, Waterloo, IL 62298

Phone number: 618-939-8900

Website: mocohouseofneighborlyservice.weebly.com

St. Louis, Missouri

The National Children’s Cancer Society

What does your charity/organization do? The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) tirelessly and compassionately supports families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 46,000 children, NCCS has become a master navigator of this world, helping families get where they need to be — physically, financially and emotionally — to give them hope and to give their children the best possible shot at survival. Distributing over $69 million to families over its lifetime with the help of compassionate donors, NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach, creating a clear path through the challenges of childhood cancer and survivorship to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together.

How can people help? People can help families battling childhood cancer by making a donation on our website (thenccs.org/donate), hosting their own fundraiser to benefit NCCS and/or creating a Facebook fundraiser to share with their personal network, Facebook.com/thenccs.

Why should people give to your charity/organization? Because no family should go through childhood cancer aloneTM.

Mailing address: 500 N. Broadway, Suite 1850, St. Louis, MO 63102

Phone number: 314-241-1600

Website: thenccs.org

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting