This holiday season, MODE Magazine urges readers to Give Local. Just as patronizing local businesses helps keep a greater portion of resources in the area, giving to local charities ensures your donations produce tangible results in your own community. The following guide is a brief look at some of the organizations in the Harrisburg area in need of your support. We have tried to include a broad cross-section of Central PA charities, including groups that preserve our region’s history, care for the area’s homeless, maintain Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and provide children with life-changing educational opportunities. These are only a handful of the hundreds of local groups that work to make the Capital Region a better place to live. If there is a locally-based charity you’d like to see highlighted, please visit HarrisburgPA.com and complete our form to add it to our online Give Local directory, where we will continue to add and feature more ways to Give Local throughout the year. We encourage each of our readers to make a donation to or volunteer your time with at least one local charity this month, and wish you all happy holidays.
Central PA Animal Alliance
1802 Silver Pine Circle, Mechanicsburg
The Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance (CPAA) is a volunteer non-profit organization bringing together local animal rescues and individuals. “The mission of the CPAA is to save animals’ lives through aggressive spay/neuter programs, adoptions, and public outreach and education,” said Founder and Director Zella Smith Anderson, Esq. “MODE readers can help by volunteering to help with fundraising events, or at clinics. Most importantly, we need folks to serve as foster homes for animals while they are awaiting their forever homes.”
Offering a foster home means providing a safe, loving, indoor home to an animal until he or she is adopted. The rescue pays for all expenses including food, supplies, and vet care. The CPAA also gives back to the community by offering free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations for petss, and operating programs such as Hounds of Prison Education (HOPE), which helps rehabilitate both rescued animals and inmates.
The CPAA will hold numerous events throughout December, including a Home for the Holidays Dinner & Concert on Thursday December 6 at the Radisson in Camp Hill, and an Adoption Event on Sunday, December 16 at Country Comfort Kennels & Camp for Pets in Shrewsbury. For more information, visit the CPAA online at:
PAWS of PA
Throughout Central PA
717 957.8122 Ext. 5
Since 1979, PAWS of PA has worked to combat pet overpopulation in Pennsylvania. “PAWS saves lives and prevents suffering by implementing the no-kill philosophy through aggressive spay/neuter programs for owned and unowned animals, rescuing, fostering, and seeking permanent homes for endangered dogs and cats, and by raising awareness of the plight of homeless animals,” said PAWS of PA President Kathy Fitzkee. “We provide over 2,500 reduced-fee spay/neuter vouchers and free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for over 3,000 feral and free-roaming cats and kittens each year, and adopt over 400 cats and kittens into loving homes.”
Readers can aid PAWS of PA in a number of ways this season, including volunteering at one of their adoption centers, sponsoring a foster animal or making monetary or supply donations. During December PAWS will be holding numerous events at PetSmarts throughout Central PA, including food drives, photos with Santa Claus and a Home for the Holidays adoption promotion. To become a member or learn more for information about PAWS, visit:
PO Box 1421, Harrisburg
Castaway Critters, the James A. Hueholt Memorial Foundation for Animals, is a rescue and foster network dedicated to saving lost, sick and abandoned companion animals. Since 2001, Castaway Critters has found homes for over 9,000 animals in the Harrisburg area, and has helped thousands of animals receive vaccinations, microchips and spay/neuter treatments.
In addition to donations of money and supplies, animal-lovers can support Castaway Critters by taking a pet into foster care. Foster owners provide temporary homes while Castaway Critters offers medical assistance and finds permanent homes for the displaced animals. To view Castaway Critters’ database of pets available for adoption, find information on upcoming events or make a donation, visit:
Arts & Culture
Citizens for the Arts in PA
100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg
Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and advocating for the arts. Pennsylvania’s only statewide multi-disciplinary arts organization, Citizens for the Arts communicates the value and impact of the arts to decision makers in media, government, corporate, and philanthropic sectors and takes a stand on legislation and public policy that affect the arts, particularly the annual appropriation for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
MODE readers can become members for as little as $10, and sign up to receive advocacy alerts, newsletters and other information from Citizens for the Arts. Citizens’ website also links to advocacy resources and links to contact PA legislators.
Greater Harrisburg Arts Council
100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg
The Greater Harrisburg Arts Council is a non-profit community arts organization that helps produce many of the city’s biggest art events, including the Patriot-News Artsfest, the PSECU Kipona Artsfest and Art of the State. The GHAC promotes the arts through involvement in festivals, music education and performances, dance promotion, visual and performing arts, film, workshops, juried exhibitions and scholarships. Readers interested in donating or volunteering are advised to call the GHAC directly, or contact them through their website:
100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg
Jump Street is dedicated to developing educational and economic opportunities with the arts for all age groups. Jump Street provides arts education programs in a safe and encouraging atmosphere where students from diverse backgrounds have what is very often their first experience with various art forms and cultures. Programs include community projects such as the Urban Terrace and the PA Hallowed Ground Project, youth programs including and Magazine and the Designit! Workforce development program, and adult fitness and art classes.
Interested readers can donate, volunteer and even teach classes for Jump Street. On Thursday, December 13, Jump Street will host a Holiday Open House at 4 PM featuring art by Virginia Thomas and music by Lenny Tepsich. To RSVP for the event, make a donation or sign up to volunteer, visit:
3303 N. 6th Street, Harrisburg
Powered by a passionate group of volunteers, Caitlin’s Smiles encourages children with serious health challenges to explore their uniquely creative talents by taking part in arts and crafts activities. “Every month we provide arts and craft supplies to children in local hospitals and specialty pediatric clinics,” explained founder Cheryl Hornung.
Since 2004, Caitlin’s Smiles has donated over 51,000 Bags of Smiles filled with crayons, coloring books, journals, PlayDoh, cards, books and craft kits to children at Penn State Children’s Hospital, Lancaster General, Harrisburg, York, Lebanon Good Samaritan and Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. MODE readers are encouraged to make a donation of an arts and craft supply over the holidays to help make a child in the hospital smile.
On Monday, December 10, Caitlin’s Smiles will hold a Holiday Open House with Channels Food Rescue from 4 to 7 PM, in hopes of collecting 15,000 cans of PlayDoh for next year’s Bags of Smiles. Find more information on upcoming events and how you can contribute to Caitlin’s Smiles at:
PA Council of Children, Youth & Family Services
2040 Linglestown Road, Suite 109, Harrisburg
The Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth & Family Services (PCCYFS) is a statewide organization of private agencies that provide the programs and supports needed to achieve and maintain permanency and safety for children and youth and stability for families. The PCCYFS is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Pennsylvania’s children, youth, and families who are at risk by fostering an accessible service delivery system within our communities. Donors can contact the Council through their website:
PA Partnerships for Children
116 Pine St. Ste. 430, Harrisburg
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) is an effective and trusted voice on improving the health, education and well-being of children and youth in the Commonwealth. PPC focuses on child welfare, health, early learning, public education and afterschool and youth development programs, in the aim of making Pennsylvania a top 10 state to raise a child.
PPC offers a number of ways concerned citizens can get involved in improving children’s wellbeing in the state. Registering with the PPC gives access to the latest news about the issues that affect parents and children, and directs citizens to communicate their concerns with state lawmakers. Donations can be made to PA Partnerships in a variety of ways, including online gifts, corporate matching opportunities and appreciated stocks. For more information, visit:
Drug Free Pennsylvania
Drug Free Pennsylvania is a statewide non-profit that provides businesses with cost-effective workplace programs such as drug testing, training and policies. The group also delivers innovative anti-drug media campaigns to raise awareness, change behaviors, and inspire action to prevent substance abuse.
In addition to providing monetary donations, volunteers can contribute to Drug Free Pennsylvania in many ways, ranging from advocacy to administrative support. Writers, graphic designers and media spokespeople looking to donate their time towards a good cause are encouraged to contact Drug Free Pennsylvania to help combat substance abuse.
Community Action Commission
1514 Derry Street, Harrisburg
Operating under the motto of “Responsive. Resourceful. Results!”, the Community Action Commission creates and maximizes the resources necessary for individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency. The Commission works primarily with and on behalf of low-income individuals and families in Pennsylvania’s capital city region.
Central PA families may benefit from a number of the CAC’s programs including the 24/7 DAD Fatherhood Program, the Growing Center child care center, housing assistance, counseling and community economic development classes. Interested readers can volunteer to assist with any of the CAC’s programs, or make a donation to help continue the commission’s work. For more information visit:
4801 Lindle Rd., Harrisburg
One of Central PA’s most important cultural institutions, WITF is responsible for PBS affiliate WITF TV, radio stations WITF 89.5 and 93.3, the RadioPA Network, Central PA Magazine and a number of other programs and educational services. “WITF’s mission is to strengthen our communities by connecting us to each other and to opportunities for lifelong learning,” explained President and CEO Kathleen Pavelko. “We provide quality non-commercial television and radio programs that inspire curiosity and enrich lives, from the early childhood through elder maturity.”
This holiday season, WITF and Wegmans partnered to donate 20,000 pounds of food to the Central PA Food Bank, as well as Thanksgiving food baskets to the Salvation Army. WITF will air holiday programming throughout the month of December, including Chanukah in Story and Song on WITF 89.5 on December 9, and A Bucknell Candlelight Christmas on WITF-TV on Christmas Eve. To learn how you can contribute to WITF and view a full calendar of their holiday programming, visit:
Harrisburg River Rescue
PO Box 284, Harrisburg
Harrisburg River Rescue & Emergency Services have provided boating and water safety education, high quality cost-effective water rescue and emergency services for over 50 years. “Harrisburg River Rescue & Emergency Services is a self-sufficient non-profit, 100% volunteer organization,” said HRRES Public Information Officer Joe Ketterer. “Our organization’s mission is to promote safety on the water through education.”
“MODE readers can help us by making a donation to our Building Fund so we can raise enough money to buy a building or a large enough lot to build a facility in the city of Harrisburg,” continued Ketterer. “The building would house all of our equipment, offices and a banquet facility so we can hold fundraisers, which is our main source of income.” Readers can send their donations to Harrisburg River Rescue Building Fund, P. O. Box 284, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0284.
Harrisburg River Rescue is also participating in Colonial Park Mall’s Magical Season of Giving, where customers use their receipts to vote on charitable donations through December 15. On January 1, 2013 the group will provide support for the Humane Society’s Annual Penguin Plunge, followed by the Special Olympics PA’s Harrisburg Polar Bear Plunge on February 2. For more information on all of HHRES’s events and services, visit:
Center for Independent Living of Central PA
207 House Ave. Ste 107, Camp Hill
The Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania (CILCP) is dedicated to eliminating barriers that people with disabilities experience by providing ongoing advocacy and offering innovative programs and services. Among their most notable programs is Living Well With A Disability, a free service that provides services and opportunities to disabled individuals with plans tailored to meet their specific needs.
The CILCP also hosts the annual Living Well With a Disability Awards, which recognize community members who go above and beyond to help themselves and others live well. To apply for services, volunteer to assist, make a donation or nominate an individual who inspires you, visit:
Learning Disabilities Association of PA
4751 Lindle Rd, Ste. 114,
Learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia are neurological disorders that present lifelong challenges to those afflicted, but through support, intervention and educational strategies, they can be proactively addressed. The Learning Disabilities Association of Pennsylvania (LDAPA) provides information, support, and resources to help children who may have a learning disability, assist the student in the classroom and prepare for how a learning disability may affect their adult lives.
Find out how you may positively affect the lives of children with learning disabilities by beginning an LDAPA affiliate or local support group for families of children with learning disabilities, or by donating to the LDAPA through their website:
Employment Skills Center
29 S. Hanover Street, Carlisle
Offering “Your Key to Opening the Doors of Opportunity,” the Employment Skills Center has been helping individuals become more employable, productive, and self-sufficient community members through education and training for the last 44 years.
Programs include GED, literacy and ESL courses, as well as practical training in nursing, computer skills and more. Readers interested in becoming involved can do so through tutoring courses, joining the ESC fundraising committee or providing administrative assistance. Orientation and training are provided. For more information visit:
Capital Area School for the Arts
303 Walnut St., Harrisburg
The Capital Area School for the Arts (CASA) was founded in 2001 through a partnership between the Capital Area Intermediate Unit and Open Stage of Harrisburg. CASA offers intensive instruction in visual art, dance, music, theatre, and film and video to qualified high school students from 24 local districts.
Those interested in donating or volunteering with the Capital Area School of the Arts can contact Principal Cheryl Giles-Rudawski through their website. CASA is also involved in Giant Foods’ A+ School Rewards Program, in which shoppers can defer their Bonuscard rewards to be donated towards CASA. For more information, visit CASA online at:
Hospice of Central PA
1320 Linglestown Road,
Hospice is a special kind of care that is designed to offer comfort and support to individuals who are facing any type of incurable illness. The Hospice of Central PA, founded in 1979, is an independent non-profit organization that offers the only stand-alone hospice residential facility in the region and support for patients and families throughout the midstate.
The Hospice of Central PA accepts donations and memorial gifts in many forms, all of which go into caring for patients and families coping with a life-limiting illness. These include monetary donations, memorial tributes and inclusion in December’s Tree of Light program. For more information visit:
Susquehanna River Trail Association
PO Box 62023, Harrisburg
Donors looking to preserve Central PA’s unique river ecosystem will want to consider contributing to the Susquehanna River Trail Association. The SRTA works toward the continued stewardship and sustainable use of the Susquehanna River and surrounding watershed. This includes maintaining 23 free, unreserved campsites on 21 state-owned islands between Sunbury and Harrisburg. All contributions to the Susquehanna River Trail Association are applied toward campsite maintenance and river environment awareness training.
MODE readers looking to volunteer can do so in a variety of ways, including island maintenance, activity support or public relations contributions, and anyone who spends time on the Susquehanna can help by following the SRTA’s guidelines to responsible river stewardship. “When visiting an island, leave it in good condition for the next user,” said an SRTA representative. “Share the river and treat it and its other users with respect.” To learn more about the SRTA’s activities or to contact them, visit:
Historical Society of Dauphin County
219 S. Front Street, Harrisburg
The Harris-Cameron Mansion, a National Historic Landmark and one of Harrisburg’s most recognizable pieces of architecture, is maintained by the Historical Society of Dauphin County along with the Friends of the Harris-Cameron Mansion. “The Historical Society preserves and promotes interest in the history of Dauphin County for the benefit of the public,” said PR Chair John Robinson. “They provide public programs and exhibits on a wide variety of topics related to both the early and more recent history of Dauphin County and its people, maintain the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion and provide public and school tours,” said Robinson. “The library and archives also provide materials and assistance for historic and genealogical research.”
Individuals interested in preserving the history of Dauphin County can contribute in many ways, such as becoming members of the Society and Friends, volunteering as tour guides, assisting with events or making purchases from their online sales catalog. The group also seeks donations of Dauphin County school yearbooks, historical photos, documents or artifacts that represent life in Dauphin County.
On Sunday, December 9, the Harris-Cameron Mansion will be open for guided tours decorated for the holidays in high Victorian splendor. Tours are free to Society members and half price for the general public. Regular tours will be available throughout the season. For more information visit:
PA Museums is dedicated to creating a thriving museum community in Pennsylvania “by sharing information, providing professional development opportunities, presenting annual museum awards, and advocating for stronger state support of state owned and non-state owned museums and cultural resources,” explained Executive Director Rusty Baker. “In Central PA, we definitely help to create a positive buzz about museums and what they are up to. Most museums are less effective at marketing than they are at preserving objects or telling stories in their galleries. Our newsletter and social media presence amplifies what is happening in museums here in our community.”
PA Museums works with museums of all types and sizes, from large institutions such as the Whitaker Center and the National Civil War Museum to intimate museums such as Doylestown’s James A Michener Art Museum. PA Museums is not a state agency, and is instead funded through grants and memberships. MODE readers can help PA Museums by becoming members or simply demonstrating their interest in Pennsylvania’s museums and their history. “It’s easy to follow our social media. Readers can join as individual members or business members,” said Baker. “We need and accept charitable gifts, too.” To become a member, make a donation or learn more about upcoming events at Pennsylvania’s museums, visit:
Mechanicsburg Museum Association
2 Strawberry Alley, Mechanicsburg
The Mechanicsburg Museum Association (MMA) was founded in 1975 in a community effort to preserve the Stationmaster’s House, a historic Mechanicsburg landmark, from destruction. Since its founding, the Association has preserved and promoted Mechanicsburg’s unique history with educational programs, gallery exhibits, and by acquiring four more historic buildings in the area. The MMA’s work now includes researching and preserving Mechanicsburg’s history through oral history interviews with residents, and a Research Room at the Freight Station on W. Allen St. to help residents study their family histories.
History buffs can contribute to the MMA by becoming members at rates starting at $35 a year, or by purchasing one of the Museum Association’s handmade holiday wreaths. The Association is also looking for volunteers to assist with activities including cataloging artifacts, interviewing residents, hosting tours and writing newsletter articles. Celebrate the holidays with the Mechanicsburg Museum Association at the Freight Station, who hosts a Christmas Memories – Trains, Trees and Toys exhibit through January 12.
Downtown Daily Bread
234 South Street, Harrisburg
Downtown Daily Bread (DDB) is a soup kitchen located in the Boyd Building of the Pine St. Presbyterian Church in downtown Harrisburg. It provides hot, nutritious meals for the needy and the homeless of the city. They have become renowned for their Lunch Plus program, which offers phone, mail, shower and locker services in addition to food. Daily Bread also provides counseling and mental health outreach services to help individuals get back on their feet and reintegrate back into the community.
Those interested in volunteering to serve at the Lunch Plus program can apply through the DDB website or by contacting Director Elaine Strokoff. Downtown Daily Bread accepts monetary donations, as well as canned foods, winter clothing and other personal care items. For more information, including DDB’s full wish list, visit:
Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area
900 S. Arlington Ave., Suite 131A, Harrisburg
Harrisburg’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical housing ministry with the goal of eliminating poverty housing. Habitat for Humanity builds, repairs and rehabilitates homes for families living without adequate shelter throughout Harrisburg. Habitat creates a joint venture with families who benefit from the housing contribute their labor in the form of 350 “sweat equity hours” to the successful completion of the home.
All donations to Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area stay in the Central PA community. Habitat accepts various forms of donations, including used vehicles, and has a number of volunteering opportunities. Construction volunteers will be extensively trained to help make their experience as safe and enriching as possible. On December 4 at 7 PM, the Eaken Trio will present the 23rd Annual Holiday Show for Habitat at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg.