By Hannah Van Sickle & Allie Steers
During the holidays, it’s an especially nice time to make a difference in the lives of others by supporting our local non-profit organizations. Now more than ever, the non-profits in Litchfield County need our help. The following list includes just a handful of organizations that are supporting people and animals every day. Of course, there are numerous food pantries, land trusts, schools, arts organizations, pet shelters, and libraries that are always in need of donations. Too many to list here.
ASAP! founded in 1999, is a social profit organization. Reaching families of diverse backgrounds from over 100 different towns, their mission is to foster creative, hands-on learning through the arts. They are guided by principles that support creativity, learning by doing, endless possibilities, collaboration, community, and constantly evolving and growing. ASAP! provides the home to support creativity and protect it until it gains confidence to do it on its own. Their programs provide opportunities for children and adults from all walks of life, allowing everyone to explore possibilities for new experiences. Through honoring children’s imaginations and creativity, they will become the compassionate adults the world needs.
Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition
Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition is a 501c3 organization that was founded in 1999 in response to the increasing threats to local water resources. They have evolved into a nationally recognized model for scientific investigation, municipal assistance, stakeholder collaboration, community education, and volunteer engagement. Their mission is to promote the use of science and education to maintain and ensure the availability of high quality water in the Pomperaug Watershed communities. They share knowledge and expertise with others committed to the protection of water resources. They develop water management tools for the use of municipalities and offer an online resource center for residents and others stakeholders.
Helping Hands for Wildlife
Helping Hands for Wildlife is a fully certified and state licensed non-profit organization committed to the care of Connecticut’s orphaned and injured wildlife. They are licensed wildlife rehabilitators through the state of Connecticut that devote their time, energy, and hearts to give native wildlife a second chance after they are injured or orphaned. Helping Hands is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing healthy animals back into the wild in their natural habitat when they are ready for a second chance at life. They also focus on raising public awareness of the role we all play in nature.
Clover Ridge Animal Sanctuary
Creating a safe haven that heals and nurtures animals has been the mission of Clover Ridge Animal Sanctuary since its inception in 2016. Despite a global pandemic, sanctuary life goes on as usual: the barn still needs to be mucked, senior dogs rely on life-saving medications, and dozens of semi-feral cats await neutering. Consider doing your part by adopting—not shopping—this holiday season. Can’t take a pet home with you? A tax-deductible donation to this nonprofit supports the sanctuary’s lucky residents and allows for the gift of shelter to even more animals in the New Year.
Women’s Support Services
Domestic violence knows no boundaries: It affects individuals from all socioeconomic, cultural, educational, and religious backgrounds; it is experienced across sexual identities and gender expressions; and it occurs in every age group, from teens to the elderly. The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention, and education. Donations to this nonprofit go towards staffing the 24-hour hotline; providing emergency shelter, counseling, and safety planning; offering support groups and legal advocacy; as well as teaching Violence Prevention Education for students in preschool through grade 12.
Food Rescue US/NWCT
When it comes to food, bridging the gap between excess and access isn’t just possible—it’s simple. Since 2011, 50 million pounds of fresh, usable food has been rescued from waste and put to use. The nonprofit’s mission—to fill plates, not landfills—is alive and well in the Northwest corner. A trio of moving parts—including 39 donors, 130 volunteers and 28 food pantries—are working together to feed the 20,000 people in Litchfield County who are currently food insecure. They are accepting donations to support holiday meals for approximately 1,700 local families.
Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House
‘Feed the hungry, empower the weak, nourish the soul’ has been the inspiration behind New Milford’s Loaves and Fishes for more than three decades. The non-profit has been open for a daily meal—every day of every year—since 1984 thanks to a team of dedicated and faithful volunteers. After years of planning, The Danny Straub Community Outreach Center is currently under construction. This new home will allow Loaves and Fishes to expand beyond the kitchen and provide guests with the compassion and dignity they deserve—from laundry and shower facilities to community educational programs aimed at addressing social justice issues.
Susan B. Anthony Project
Providing crisis and support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—is the mission of the SBAP. Give the gift of safety, healing, and growth this holiday season by supporting the Torrington-based nonprofit’s efforts on behalf of all survivors. Interested in adopting an individual or family for the holidays? This year the agency is collecting gift cards, in $25 increments, to local grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations; Visa gift cards will also be accepted, as will monetary donations.