Giving Back in OKC: Individuals Without Homes
Philanthropy Opportunities in OKC
Oklahoma City is overflowing with generous groups—too many to list them all. However, we have highlighted a few local gems below, along with their greatest needs. We hope you discover a nonprofit that inspires you to do a little good this season, and, perhaps, recruit a few friends to do a little more.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
— Anne Frank.
- Curbside Enterprises – The Curbside Chronicle supplies more than upbeat, local stories. It gives employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness, enlisting them as vendors to sell the “street paper” at busy intersections. It provides them with a source of income. It removes the barriers that often stand in the way of succeeding in traditional employment, as vendors develop valuable time management, money management, and social skills. A year ago, the Homeless Alliance launched another enterprise: Curbside Flowers. This full-service flower shop employs people making the transition out of homelessness, bringing beauty to OKC in more ways than one.
Greatest need: financial donations year-round to support the Homeless Alliance’s employment, housing, and food programs. During winter, it also collects men’s coats, blankets, gloves, hats, hand warmers, and lip balm.
- Sharing Tree – Sharing Tree looks like any other retail store; clothing, household goods, and basic necessities are organized and displayed where customers can make selections based on their unique needs. However, this isn’t a regular retail operation, as no money is exchanged. Sharing Tree gives low-income families a dignified, no-cost shopping experience. From putting presents under the tree Christmas morning to rebuilding households after a disaster, this organization serves 5,000 Oklahomans each year through its four programs: Christmas Connection, Crisis Connection, Community Connection, and Classroom Connection.
Greatest need: volunteers to process and sort donations, help with events, and assist shoppers. In December, it needs hats, underwear, gloves, socks, and toys for its largest program, Christmas Connection.
- Positive Tomorrows – Oklahoma has the seventh highest number of homeless children in the U.S., with 7,500 children located in central Oklahoma alone. When families struggle to provide food and adequate transportation, children struggle to succeed in school. Positive Tomorrows removes barriers that get in the way of a child’s learning, providing food, transportation, and basic necessities. In addition, it provides robust, intensive, and individualized education to kids who often fall behind, and empowers families experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient and gain stability. The nonprofit sees education as the key to ending homelessness and poverty. Positive Tomorrows allows children to learn, grow, and thrive.
Greatest need: financial support. Consider that $25 buys a winter coat for a child; $50 fills a backpack full with a semester’s worth of school supplies; $75 funds a week of after-school snacks for every student at Positive Tomorrows; and $250 provides one week of emergency shelter for a family.
- City Care – City Care helps those in our community who are hurting find food, relief, restoration, and a way forward. It provides Oklahoma City’s only low-barrier night shelter for men, women, families, and pets, and has 115 units of supportive and permanent housing to help people making the transition out of homelessness. Realizing the lasting impact of mentorship, City Care has pulled together local nonprofits, schools, and churches to create Whiz Kids. This program serves more than 800 students weekly with one-on-one character and literacy-focused sessions. City Care provides those in need with a strong, supportive community and opportunities for healing.
Greatest need: donors. Though in-kind donations are appreciated, City Care can really stretch a dollar through strategic partnerships and discounted supplies. Volunteers are also needed to serve coffee in the morning or check in pets in the evening at the Night Shelter; or to assist Whiz Kids students through one-on-one literacy tutoring every week.