Here are a few great ways to give meaningful gifts this holiday season.
Give A Gift Card
TisBest Charity Gift Cards
TisBest Philanthropy has partnered with 250+ national and local charities (including Transition Projects) to create this gift that gives back in a big way.
TisBest Charity Gift Cards allow your gift recipient to give to a charity they are passionate about. You pick the amount of the donation, customize the card's image, and receive the tax-deduction. Your gift recipient chooses to direct that donation to any of the charities on their website.
To sweeten the deal, if you buy your charity gift cards either by following this link or remember to use the partner code homeforall when prompted during checkout, TisBest will automatically donate $2 of the card to Transition Projects. Even better, your recipient will see a brief message about us that encourages them to spend part of their gift card to support us.
Shop and Earn
Join us this holiday season in an exciting way to support Transition Projects! We now have a way for you to help us every time you shop this holiday. If you've tried CafeGive.com, then you are familiar with our request. If not - rest assured...it's simple for both of us, and great for our organization and community.
Here's how it works:
1. Connect to CafeGive.com and choose us as your cause.
2. Shop at over 300 stores, at no extra cost to you.
3. A portion of your purchase comes back to us!
Easy as 1-2-3! It's a great way to help us out and to spread even more holiday cheer. Cafegive.com is ready for you - loads of stores you know and trust, and a new section on deals and coupons too.
Season of Sharing
Transition Projects was chosen to be featured in this year's Seaon of Sharing Wishbook. You can read their wonderful article here, and a happy update to the story - featured on the front page of this Sunday's Oregonian - here. You can donate to Transition Projects directly through their site. We've already received $5,000 from this wonderful holiday giving feature, and there is still time to donate and help Transition Projects' holiday wishes come true.
How West Coast Bank representatives are helping homeless individuals start saving for a new home
For people who have had financial troubles in their past, it can be difficult to get back on track. Starting a bank account is an important step in preparing to transition into housing, but there can be barriers in the way of starting that account - not having two forms of identification, not meeting the minimum deposit requirements, etc. Thanks to a partnership with West Coast Bank, it has become a lot easier for people working to overcome their homelessness to start saving money for a new home.
Representatives from two different West Coast Bank branches, in the Pearl and on Airport Way, connected with Transition Projects around the same time to offer banking assistance to clients - a fortuitous coincidence.
Jamie Clark began visiting the Clark Center in the summer of 2009, and has since come in twice monthly to work with shelter residents on their finances.
"My first few months working with the bank, I noticed we had quite a few clients from Transition Projects," says Clark. "I did some research about the company and thought it was a great program and I wanted to be a part of it. Moving from homelessness to housing is a big step and knowing your finances is crucial in being successful."
Chrystle Nordin, of the 122nd and Airport Way West Coast Bank, volunteers at Jean's Place to offer banking assistance. Nordin had actually begun volunteering at Jean's Place in the computer room some months before, and it was there that she realized that she could bring her work expertise to the table as well to further benefit the women.
"When I was volunteering in the computer lab, a few women were asking me advice about banking products," says Nordin. "I started helping a few people and realized there was a huge need for residents needing bank accounts and financial advice. I started helping out by answering questions and then got my branch on board."
Clark and Nordin discuss banking options with clients, educate about financial tools to save money and budget, and answer financial questions during their visits. One of the most valuable services that they are able to offer is working to help clients who might otherwise not be able to open a bank account.
"The bank has certain identification requirements, as well as a minimum opening deposit we ask for," explains Clark. "Working with the clients of Transition Projects, we realized a lot of people would not meet these requirements. In order to help, we are able to work with clients on the second ID, even using the TPI client letter, and we've lowered the minimum opening deposit in order to assist clients in getting a new account. Also, in most cases we are able to work with clients who have previously had problems with other banks for charge-off and overdraft reasons. This is huge because not a lot of other banks will even look to open accounts if there have been previous banking issues."
"It's very rewarding to help those who least expect a second chance from a bank," adds Nordin.
Through their combined efforts, over four hundred residents have been able to open bank accounts, and start saving for their next step. Both agree that the best part of their work is getting to see clients succeed in their goals.
"The best part is when I see a client succeed," says Clark. "It could be getting a new job, moving to their own place, having money to start a savings account, even just making the first deposit to their account. Every step in the right direction is a success in my opinion, no matter how small."
"Several women I've worked with have moved up and out of Jean's Place," Nordin says. "They now have jobs, cars, and one of the ladies even got married this summer! I feel a certain pride in being a part of this development, and very fortunate to be in a place that I can offer this aide. The small part I play in this makes me feel like I can make a difference in someone's life - even if it isn't huge, it's a stepping stone."
Jake's Celebration of Sharing
Each year on the day before Thanksgiving, there's a special treat in store for nearly 200 Transition Projects clients: a free Thanksgiving feast at Jake's Famous Crawfish. For Jake's, this is a great chance to give back to their community, and, jokes John Underhill, the general manager at Jake's, a great chance for the kitchen to have a "dry run" before serving nearly a thousand thanksgiving meals the following day! For the guests that day, though, it means a great deal more. For many, this day is a welcome return to normalcy, a chance to join friends and family at a nice restaurant, enjoy wonderful food and service, and celebrate the holiday.
Underhill started this tradition over twenty years ago, while working at a different restaurant, and has kept it up through each job since. For the past ten years, he has been coordinating the Celebration of Sharing through Jake's, and partnering with Transition Projects.
"This year was another really great year," says Underhill. "It was different from previous years in that there were more individuals than families coming in. I think that was pretty great, as these are folks who might have been alone otherwise, but instead had this chance to come together for a nice meal."
"We just love doing this," he said. "Whatever you can do and however you can do it - any help is cherished. The guests are so happy to be here, and that joy radiates to the staff and makes it a great day for everyone."