Nonprofits ask last-minute shoppers to consider giving to them during holidays; how to help

Nonprofits in Rock County are asking shoppers to consider giving to them during the holiday season.

Groups like the YWCA of Rock County and ECHO in Janesville say while the holidays are a time where many choose to give, it is also a time when their needs grow.

“The holiday season gets a little tricky,” said Jen Draz, of the YWCA of Rock County. “Right now, we have 48 kids between our domestic violence shelter and our transitional living apartments. Christmastime is a little tough.”

The YWCA of Rock County serves victims of domestic violence through shelter, advocacy, and child care. Draz said while the group is always in need of monetary donations, this winter season, it is in need of basic hygiene products.

“When people come to us in the shelter, they oftentimes come with very little to nothing. Things like hairbrushes, deodorant and toothpaste are a really big need,” Draz said.

ECHO, which helps to serve the homeless and low-income populations in Janesville, said its biggest needs are bus tokens and gas cards, which allow the homeless to get to work and look for work.

“For every dollar donated to ECHO, 98 cents goes directly to client services,” said Associate Director Jessica Locher. “The clients we serve are the homeless and low-income population here. Most of them are single parents with kids, and over 60% of them are working, it’s just not a sustainable wage.”

Locher said while the group has basic donation needs like warm clothes and nonperishable food, she said if the group was to ask for anything, it would be new computers and donated vehicles.

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