15 Little Ways to Give and Make Big Impacts

You don’t have to donate a lot of time and money to make a big impact, especially if you give a little every month. The holiday season isn’t the only time that donating time, money, or items to local organizations is important — but it is as good a time as any to start. Here are ways you can give back to the South Sound community, both now and throughout the rest of the year.


  1. Volunteer at Community Big Give

    This annual event in Bonney Lake and Sumner relies on volunteers to ensure that every family gets the opportunity to have a full Thanksgiving meal. Help distribute groceries to targeted families on Saturday, Nov. 17, between 9 and 10 a.m., communitybiggive.com

  2. Share your Home through Shared Housing Services

    If you have extra space in your home, consider providing it to a home seeker in need of affordable housing. Shared Housing Services helps pair both youth and adults in need with homeowners, who in turn receive monthly rent, companionship, and help around the house. sharedhousingservices.org

  3. Build with Habitat for Humanity

    No experience is needed to help with the construction of homes for people who do not have them. Some volunteers dedicate a few hours a month, and others choose to pitch in every day — whatever you can fit in your schedule helps. tpc-habitat.org

  4. Collect Food Items for Nourish Pierce County

    Planning a food drive is easy through Nourish Pierce County: It provides all the needed materials and arranges to pick up the food. Just organize your classmates, co-workers, and/or neighbors, and encourage people to donate cans and other food items.

  5. St. Leo Food Bank

    Every meal served at St. Leo Food Bank costs 28 cents — meaning a $20 donation can feed a family of four for almost a week, and a monthly donation of $100 will feed a family of four for an entire year. foodconnection.org

  6. Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest

    As a dues-paying member for AIDNW, you can provide food, clothing, and toiletries for immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. You also can choose to donate specifically to a program or project. Volunteer opportunities also are available. aidnw.org

  7. United Way of Pierce County

    Donations help to close the poverty gap and help people in Pierce County gain access to education, employment, and housing. uwpc.org

  8. SideWalk

    SideWalk’s mission is to end homelessness through rapid rehousing, which offers homeless people small subsidies and case management to assist them in finding stable housing quickly. It’s a method that is both effective and inexpensive: Homelessness can be ended for one person for $1,200. walkthurston.networkforgood.com

  9. Tacoma Adventist Community Services

    People with special diet restrictions due to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or allergies usually can’t find appropriate meals through regular food banks. TACS offers special diet food-bank services and needs donations of fresh produce, rice, beans, and low-sugar foods. tacoma-acs.org 

  10. NW Furniture Bank

    This nonprofit serves almost 100 families in the process of getting back on their feet every month by providing them with a full household of furniture. Donations of both money and gently used furniture make this process possible. Also consider buying furniture from Hope Furnishings: Every $100 you spend allows NW Furniture Bank to buy a twin bed for someone who needs one. nwfurniturebank.org

  11. YWCA Pierce County

    The holiday giving programs through YWCA support adults and children fleeing domestic violence. The week before Christmas, they open a Holiday Gift Center where people can “shop” for new items for their loved ones. The shop depends on generous donations of new items from community members. ywcapiercecounty.org

  12. Bikes for Kids

    With locations around the South Sound, this organization makes it easy for people to drop off bike donations for kids. A team of mechanics refurbishes the bikes — or, if doing so is not possible, uses their parts for other refurbishments — and gives them to hundreds of children locally and in Africa. Consider donating unused or broken bicycles to help make this possible. bikesforkids.us

  13. DIY Blessing Bags

    Gather small and helpful objects to put into bags that you can keep in your car and give directly to people who need them — or bring them to a homeless shelter to donate there. Include things like bandages, a toothbrush and toothpaste, hand warmers, baby wipes, a bag of quarters, and a bottle of water.

  14. Toy Rescue Mission

    Gently used toys can find a new home through the Toy Rescue Mission, which provides gifts to children, teens, and seniors in need. Especially needed are donations for teenagers — think art supplies, working watches, hair products, journals, and hand-held video games. toyrescuemission.org

  15. Toys for Tots

    The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new toys from October to December to provide holiday gifts to less-fortunate kids across the country. Myriad toy drop-off stations throughout the South Sound make donations easy and quick. toysfortots.org

is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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