Eight Creative Ways to Give Back in the Madison Community

By Shelby Rowe Moyer | Photo by Richard Hurd via Creative Commons

Now more than ever, we’ve learned how tightly integrated we are as a community — not only economically, but also in how we show up for one another in times of need. If you’re looking for ways to give back in response to the coronavirus or just want to get more involved in the community, here are a few local organizations doubling down and adapting to support Madisonians.

Urban League of Greater Madison

With the Dane County unemployment rate reaching 11.3%, the Urban League of Greater Madison is responding to COVID-19 by connecting job-seekers and employers with work opportunities. The league’s overall mission is to empower, educate, and help find employment for African Americans and other community members. Want to help? Volunteer opportunities are available and there are several options for donations.

Porchlight

In the wake of the coronavirus, the organization whose mission is to reduce homelessness in Dane County, has created an adapted approach to services for people experiencing homelessness in the area. Porchlight is currently accepting cloth mask donations for shelter guests and residents, as well as financial and item donations.

Madison Reading Project

Ten thousand books have been donated to the Madison Reading Project since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And not only that, but the organization is close to reaching its $20,000 goal for its coronavirus emergency book and supply fund. The organization aims to put books in the homes of children living in low-income households, because books at home “are the single biggest indicator of academic success,” according the Madison Reading Project. If you have books to spare, check out the guidelines here, or give a financial donation.

Dane County Diaper Bank

One in three families in the U.S. struggle to afford diapers, according to the Dane County Diaper Bank, and the organization is asking for your help to ensure local families have enough diapers to keep their babies clean and dry. It offers a number of ways to get involved, from diaper drives and donations to online contributions.

REACH Dane

Though REACH Dane, which provides early childhood services to over 1,000 underserved Dane County kids ages 0-5, has closed its centers and office, the agency is still providing support services, virtual learning and meals to young children in need. Donations help REACH Dane offer help to more children in the area, and its website offers resource information for those struggling during the pandemic. Donations can be made here.

United Way of Dane County

The office of the United Way of Dane County is currently closed due to the coronavirus, but staff are still working remotely, and all services are still being provided. In March, the organization collected $1.4 million in donations for the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund. United Way is still seeking volunteers for programs that have been deemed safe and essential and is also seeking financial donations.

Second Harvest Food Bank

During these unprecedented times, Second Harvest Food Bank is doing everything it can to ensure anyone who comes to its mobile food bank receives a box of food, and has created a new online donation designation specifically for COVID-19 Response Support. Would you rather give in another way? Here’s information on how to donate food items or volunteer your time.

Bleed Shamelessly

In times of need, organizations offering basic needs such as housing, food and clothing are at the forefront of peoples’ minds, but items such as menstrual products are sometimes forgotten. Bleed Shamelessly — a Madison-based organization that aims to educate the public about menstruation and period poverty and lobbies in favor of free menstrual products for students and community members in need — is running a virtual COVID-19 educational campaign and is also distributing period kits for those who are unable to access or afford items during the pandemic. To help achieve this goal, the organization is fundraising $10,000 and has raised more than $6,000.

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