By: Kelly Smith

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to visit a few local organizations that serve at-risk, homeless, and/or low-income kids and families in our community. What blew my mind was the dedication and commitment the people who work and volunteer for these non-profits have for the people they serve. Despite the constant need for additional resources, they give their time and their hearts to serve others on a daily and sometimes nightly basis.

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving to those in need and to remind us that while we may spend hundreds or thousands on Christmas gifts, decor, and travel this year, there are many (including kids) who live in our Billings community who go without basic needs met every day.

Since the true reason for the season is giving to others, I’m going to spend the next 4 weeks sharing with you more about how some local organizations make a HUGE IMPACT on our community day in and day out. My hope is that the mission of one of these deserving places tugs on your heart strings this season or in the new year to give your time, your expertise, or your financial help. From pre-schoolers to homeless teens and from single dads to cash-strapped parents, these programs, employees, and volunteers offer hope where it might otherwise be hard to find.

Here’s a glance at the community organizations I’ll be highlighting each Wednesday through the end of the year. Click on their links to find out more about them directly and to learn how you can help this holiday season and beyond.

  • Tumbleweed— a day and night center available for homeless, at-risk, or runaway youth open 24/7
  • Explorer’s Academy (a Head Start program with 4 locations in Yellowstone County)—an early education program for low-income families
  • Boys & Girls Club— an affordable after-school and summer program in 5 locations for kids K-12
  • Family Promise— helping end end homelessness for families of all kinds in Yellowstone County

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, and you’ve likely gotten gifts for friends and family, why not consider those in deepest need in our community? If you’re out shopping, throw in your cart an extra pair of socks, set of underwear, a warm hat or mittens, a winter coat, gift cards, diapers, or personal hygiene products. These are always needed at many of our local shelters and the above mentioned too.

You can bring any donations directly to our office at 1536 Mullowney Lane Ste. 100 if that’s easier than taking them to the organizations above. We’ll make sure they get to the right places! Thanks for #givingtuesday!

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