The most common resolutions made for the year often involve fitness goals and health, achieving new levels of prosperity, and, for many, finding peace of mind and making a happy home. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that many of the organizations who have been profiled in this column share similar themes with their 2014 plans.
Some of our most basic needs are food and shelter, and the Harry Chapin Food Bank is one organization which battles food poverty in Collier County. Miriam Pereira, the Director of Development, shared this organization’s ‘ultimate goal of ending hunger in Collier County’: In 2014 as in prior years, “ We take a step closer to that goal each year, thanks to the support of dedicated volunteers, generous donors, an involved Board of Directors and a hard-working staff. Because of their help, children, working-poor families and seniors who would otherwise go hungry in Collier received 2.4 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food–or the equivalent of two million meals—in fiscal year 2012-2013. We hope to increase that amount by at least 240,000 pounds of food, or 200,000 more meals. It’s a daunting goal, but we can do it with the help of supporters like you, who believe that no one in our community should go hungry.”
Another critical need is to shelter those without homes. Habitat for Humanity, which will be profiled in these pages next month, told me (through Jenn Pash, Donor Relations) that this organization resolves to work in partnership with deserving families, dedicated volunteers and faithful donors until the day when every child in Collier County has at least a simple, decent place to live. Thus far, this group has built more than 1,600 homes during the course of its 35 year history in Naples.
In 2014, the Foundation for Developmentally Disabled (FDD) also will build on the successful launch of a new housing program this past year for adults with developmental disabilities. FDD resolves to expand its housing program, focusing on those residents who need in-home support. Last year also saw the start of an adult baseball league, adding another social and physical fitness component to their gatherings, which also includes a bowling league (sponsors are always welcome!).
The First Tee Naples/Collier ties youth golf instruction to lessons to carry children and teens through life. Trustee (and life coach) Terri Fisher shared the following: “Wow! Another year has quickly slipped by and over 1400 children in Collier County have participated in the many programs offered by The First Tee Naples/Collier. We have held 216 tournaments for the kids and have set up an after school program in Immokolee. Our mission for 2014 is to more significantly impact the lives of young people by providing educational and fun programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. We all share the wish to positively affect the lives of 2000+ local kids in the coming year.”
Just as golf and team sports like baseball can further the mindbody- community connection, several groups strive to nurture the love of books and spirit of learning. Joanne Wyse, a Board member/ supporter of First Book-Collier County stated: “In 2014, we resolve to keep putting wonderful, brand-new books into the hands of disadvantaged young children in our community – books that will engage their minds, ignite their imaginations, and help them develop the reading skills they need for a successful future.” (Do you remember your first book? Just $25 will put 10 books into the hands – mind – heart of a needy child.)
If you also appreciate the gift of reading and can participate in a more hands-on approach, know that the Literacy Volunteers of Collier County resolves “to find new and creative ways to attract new tutors to our program. We still need tutors for one-to-one adult tutoring, small classroom tutoring and now the need for tutors to participate in our Family Literacy PACT (Parents and Children Together) program is more urgent than ever!”
If ‘health is the real wealth,’ the Neighborhood Health Clinic’s ongoing mission and resolution is to continue providing quality medical and dental care for the less fortunate in our community. True to its name, this organization wants to be a good neighbor and collaborate with other charities in creating a circle of caring in 2014. They also believe in initiatives to offer more patient-centered education to help teach their patients to make healthy choices.
Some say the ultimate gift is not what we receive, but that which we give. All of the organizations highlighted here have been profiled in this column (or will be, as in the case of Habitat for Humanity) and there are numerous ways to help those in need and for the betterment of life in Naples. Please feel free to email me at NaplesKCC@gmail.com for a reprint of prior articles (containing contact information for each organization), a list of prior columns, or to suggest an organization for future coverage here. Here’s to a wonderful New Year!