Giver’s Guide: Local Charity & Volunteer Opportunities

Corvallis nonprofits are instrumental in making sure that local community members can enjoy what our area has to offer. Whether providing housing and food needs, enhancing social equity, improving the environment, preserving history, or connecting individuals across cultures, the Corvallis nonprofit circle is an integral part of everyone’s livelihoods in our city. Here is volume one of our local give guide.   

 

 

HOUSING AND FOOD NEEDS  

Benton Furniture Share  

The Benton Furniture Share has been serving the Corvallis community and surrounding areas since 1998. Their mission is essentially to “turn a house into a home” by providing local, healthy foods and redistributing furniture to struggling, under-served individuals and families. Not only does their mission help and comfort those in need, but it also helps the environment by diverting furniture from landfills into homes.   

Their three campaigns, BEDS for KIDS, Feeding Our Future, and Furniture for Individuals in Crisis, all meet different goals for different members of our community.   

BEDS for KIDS aims to provide beds for children so that they don’t have to sleep on the floor.  When kids sleep in beds and have better sleep, they are more likely to do better in school and feel more safe, warm, and comfortable in their homes. Feeding Our Future works to provide 5,000+ healthy food boxes annually for local families, filled with locally grown and healthy foods.   

In addition to providing food, they also use donations to provide dining room tables and chairs, recipes, and conversation starters to strengthen family bonds around cooking and meal time.   

Furniture for Individuals in Crisis focuses on giving community members furniture to make their homes and lives feel safer and more comfortable.   

To help Benton Furniture Share, you can donate funds as either a one-time donation or by becoming a monthly donor; you can donate goods including furniture, kitchen ware, and basic household items like sheets, blankets, and towels (all must pass an inspection process); or you can donate your time through volunteering.   

Linn Benton Food Share  

Linn Benton Food Share is considered a “central food hub” for a total of 68 nonprofit partners in the area. Food pantries, meal sites, gleaning groups, and supplemental agencies all use the Linn Benton Food Share to distribute food and other necessities to community members.   

Besides contributing food and other goods to local nonprofits for distribution, Linn Benton Food Share also has direct services it employs to further help the community. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides a once-a-month supplemental food box to seniors 60 years and older who are at or below 130 percent of the current federal poverty level. The SHARe Medical Food Box Program aims to provide immediate food for individuals being discharged from Albany and Lebanon Samaritan hospitals. The Fresh Alliance Program partners with local stores to collect dairy, produce, meat, and other products to distribute to nonprofit partners and out to the community. Lastly, the Food Rescue program collects “prepared but not served” food from the Oregon State University campus to distribute immediately to local meal site locations.   

To support the Linn Benton Food Share, donate here – for every dollar donated, an equivalent of six meals is provided to those in need. To help out, you can volunteer in local soup kitchens or food pantries, help Linn Benton Food Share directly with repackaging at their warehouse, or participate in food drives and fundraisers.   

It’s On Us Corvallis 

It’s On Us Corvallis (IOU Corvallis) is a new local nonprofit working to provide meal deliveries to any community members who need it. Here’s how it works:   

  1. The community donates funds for meals
  2. Local restaurants commit to serve a specific number of community meals on a set date
  3. IOU Corvallis pays the restaurant at full price for the meals from community donations
  4. IOU Corvallis and Dial-A-Bus deliver the meals
  5. The meals are enjoyed by any community member, no explanation or information required. 

IOU Corvallis seeks to help increase food security, improve the local economy, and provide nourishment and trust to local community members. An official project of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Food Action Team, this nonprofit was birthed out of the global pandemic, as its team members watched locals lose their jobs, single parents become unable to leave their kids to purchase meals, and essential workers lose out on mealtime.   

As of June 11, IOU Corvallis has paid $34,760 to local restaurants, given out 4,858 meals, delivered over 1,190 of these meals, and raised over $43,000 for the cause.   

To help out, donate and get the word out about this new and important organization.  

SOCIAL EQUITY  

NAACP Corvallis/Albany Branch  

The NAACP Corvallis/Albany Branch works to advance the mission of the national organization, which is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” The NAACP Corvallis/Albany hosts many local events for citizens to get involved in improving local and national racial inequity. Most recently, they held a Juneteenth celebration to commemorate the freeing of the last slaves in the United States in 1865.   

The NAACP’s work is vital to the Corvallis and Albany communities and necessary in fighting the racial injustice our area is faced with. To get involved or help out, become a member or make a donation  

Corvallis Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)  

The Corvallis chapter of SURJ seeks to “to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society.” Founded in January 2015, Corvallis SURJ accomplishes these goals via community mobilization and education. As their website states, “We live in a time of great hope and possibility, yet the potential for a just world for all of us is not possible when racism and oppression keep us divided.”  

To support SURJ and their efforts in the Corvallis community, become a member or make a donation. Corvallis SURJ asks anyone donating to make a matching donation to a social justice organization led by people of color; examples include NAACP Corvallis Branch and Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County.   

Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County   

Casa Latinos Unidos is a local organization which works to provide civic engagement and leadership, community cultural events, and basic needs to the Latino community. In operation since 2009, Casa Latinos Unidos has a vision of being “the leading organization in Benton and Linn County working towards strengthening the Latino community through collaboration and action.”  

Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County is currently not taking volunteers, but they are accepting donations, specifically, for a COVID-19 emergency fund for Latino families impacted by the pandemic who do not qualify for government assistance.  

The Arc of Benton County  

The Arc of Benton County is a local nonprofit that seeks to provide advocacy and programming for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Arc provides a plethora of programs and services for locals and their families, including housing assistance, family support, and various activities like art, movies, bowling, and theater for community members with disabilities and their loved ones to enjoy. The Arc also has two thrift stores, and sales made are contributed back into the nonprofit to better serve locals and their families.   

There are multiple ways you can help The Arc in their pursuit to help our community members with developmental disabilities and their families. You can make monetary donations, make used good donations to The Arc thrift stores, donate with your purchases through AmazonSmile or Fred Meyer Community Rewards, or donate your time by volunteering.   

Girls on the Run Willamette Valley  

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is an empowerment program nonprofit for young girls. GOTR is an international “research-based curriculum that creatively integrates running” to inspire and empower local girls to be more confident, intentional, joyful, and healthy. This organization seeks to combat the societal pressures and negative stereotypes that are associated with growing up as a girl, and to give girls opportunities to conquer obstacles, accomplish their goals, and strengthen as individuals  

GOTR Willamette Valley has been operating since 2007 as a supported program of the Corvallis Kid Spirit program and has now served over 600 local girls as a branch of GOTR International.   

To help GOTR Willamette Valley, you can donate funds on a one-time or monthly basis, give via your purchases through AmazonSmile or Fred Meyer Community Rewards, or volunteer by coaching a team or volunteering at the GOTR 5K.   

The Period Project  

The Period Project, created by mother-daughter duo Lena and Ava Spencer, seeks to end local period poverty by providing menstrual hygiene products to school age children. The Period Project mostly works with Linn and Benton school districts to make sure products are distributed at schools for free to prevent anyone from missing school due to menstruation. To learn more about The Period Project, check out this Advocate article.   

To help The Period Project, you can contact Lena Spencer via Facebook to discuss donating menstrual hygiene products.    

ENVIRONMENT  

Post Carbon Institute   

Founded in 2003, the local nonprofit Post Carbon Institute seeks to lead “the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.” Their focus areas include community resilience, energy transition, and limits to growth.   

Through the Community Resilience program, Post Carbon Institute employs an online course called Think Resilience which helps users understand systemic crises and solutions of the 21st century. They also support Resilience.org, a source of news for people seeking information on current issues – and Take Action, a guide to how individuals can take action against the major problems occurring in our current society.   

Their Energy Transition program uses The Energy Reality Campaign, a book, energy primer, essays, and photos and art to increase energy literacy. Our Renewable Future presents an analysis of the transition to a renewable energy future, while The Shale Bubble reports analyze shale gas and tight oil protection and the U.S. government’s role.   

Their Limits to Growth program works to support Post Carbon Fellows, who are experts on specific issues related to ecology, energy, economy, and equity. They also create research and publications focused on growth in society, and encourage storytelling, presentations, and essays that analyze current society’s addiction to growth.   

Essentially, the Post Carbon Institute works to educate the local community on society’s most pressing issues, specifically those that relate to the environment and equity. To support Post Carbon Institute, make one-time or monthly donations here.   

Greenbelt Land Trust  

The Greenbelt Land Trust, founded in 1989, is dedicated to protecting, restoring, and increasing enjoyment in the Willamette Valley, specifically its historically significant land. Working alongside Benton, Linn, Marion, and Polk counties, Greenbelt creates and executes innovative conservation options to preserve and enhance the Valley. Greenbelt accomplishes this by acquiring land via purchase, conservation easements, or donations. This organization permanently protects over 3,600 acres of important land and uses a stewardship and restoration program to enhance lands’ natural habitats.   

To help Greenbelt, donate funds, attend events or hikes with them, or volunteer.   

OTHER COMMUNITY INTERESTS  

Preservation WORKS  

Preservation WORKS was organized in 2004, and aims to identify and document historic, cultural, architectural, visual, and environmental heritage areas in the Benton County area. They also aim to facilitate the preservation of such buildings, land, and homes – and to educate the community about the importance of historic preservation. By preserving these historic locations and educating locals about them, these areas are better protected and enjoyed by the public.   

To support and learn more about Preservation WORKS, visit their Facebook page.   

Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center  

The Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center (CMLC) is a local organization that seeks to provide resources, education, and information to the community about various cultures as a means to improve the public’s multicultural literacy.   

The Center specifically has English as a Second Language books and workbooks, language dictionaries, books and magazines about different cultures, immigration and citizenship materials, cookbooks from around the world, musical instruments, an international textile collection, Culture Exploration Kits, a room for children with toys and books, and a fully equipped kitchen – all to be used for free by the community. The CMLC also has opportunities for English classes, conversation partners, English and Spanish conversation circles, citizenship training, language tutoring, connections for translating, referrals to other community resources, and cultural events.   

To support the CMLC, donate funds or volunteer as an English language conversant, for on-call purposes, or as a Dine Out Program volunteer to assist in connecting community organizations with local restaurants.  

Would you like to recommend something for our next rundown? Email editor@corvallisadvocate.com.  

By Cara Nixon