Giving can mean more than opening your wallet | Editorial

Tuesday, as many people learned when they opened their email and saw several funding appeals, was GiveBig. On that day, any donation made to a charity through the Seattle Foundation’s website was matched in part by the foundation, with greater matches going to charities that raised the most. Many Vashon nonprofits used GiveBig as a fundraising incentive, encouraging donors to give at a time when their dollars would stretch a little farther. The Vashon Senior Center hoped to help round out its kitchen project that day. The local heritage association put forward a push in its effort to purchase a historic building. Vashon Youth & Family Services put out an appeal, as did the Vashon Schools Foundation, which last year was one of the top earners in GiveBig.

There’s no doubt these causes are good ones. We frequently cover island fundraisers in our paper, and we’ve encouraged readers to give to organizations that do good in our community. With the government funding less and less, families still struggling from the down economy and needs in many areas rising, it seems our local nonprofits are more stretched than ever.

However, covering the recent folding of the Vashon Kiwanis chapter, we’re reminded that there’s more than one way to give. For decades, Kiwanis built their club on financial donations as well as donations of their time. Every Christmas members put on a toy drive that made hundreds of children’s holidays better and also served a big meal to seniors. For many years of the club’s history here, it was perhaps best known for holding the well-loved pancake breakfasts during the Strawberry Festival.

Monetary donations sustain many of the organizations and services our island has grown to depend on. But many of these groups also rely on bodies and on acts of service. Volunteerism can also be meaningful for everyone involved, and it puts donating in reach of many on the island, not just those with expendable funds. We’ve heard from some nonprofits that between Vashon’s aging population and the growing number of islanders working full-time, they struggle to find volunteers.

In honor of Kiwanis, do something to give this month that’s more than making a financial donation. Give time instead of money to your favorite charity, volunteer in your children’s classroom or club, or simply take time to help an elderly person or someone you know. Don’t have much time? This issue has two ideas for ways to start volunteering right at home. Pulling invasive plants benefits your backyard, but also helps make the island a healthier place ecologically. And this Saturday, make sure the food bank’s largest food drive of the year stays that way by putting a bag of food by your mailbox.

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