WILLCOX- Local nonprofit entities give to the community all year long, what can the community do to give back?
On a Giving Tuesday, a day individuals donate their money to their favorite non-profit organizations, the Arizona Range News asked four local non-profit organizations what Willcox and the surrounding areas could do to give back. Gathering at the Range News conference room, directors of multiple nonprofit organizations took turns answering questions and sharing information.
FOOD FOR HUNGRY CHILDREN
Nell Worden, director of the Willcox Food Pantry, told the Range News that the after school backpack program for hungry students has grown over the past several years and could continue to grow. The program sends home 75 backpacks to the families of hungry students per week. Worden told the Range News that she believes the program should expand to 100 backpacks per week. The backpack program includes Bowie Schools. Monetary donations are appreciated since Worden can shop specifically for discounted food and in bulk. However, nutritious food and non-perishable food donations are always accepted at the food bank.
“The funding has always been a problem with us, and we’re getting more and more people interested in it so we’re really satisfied with the fact that people think about the children. We all know that children cannot learn if they’re hungry,” said Worden. “We have to feed their body before we can feed their minds and their souls. And we think that it’s a very important thing.”
The pantry gives out kid-friendly meals that children can cook themselves in the backpack program. Individuals who can lift food boxes are also welcome to volunteer at the pantry. However, volunteers would need to acquire a fingerprint and background check to volunteer at the pantry for insurance and safety reasons. Individuals may drop off donations at the pantry located at 200 W Downen Street in Willcox.
SUMMER TEACHERS WANTED
Willcox Against Substance Abuse holds summertime classes in the efforts to keep children in a drug-free and educational environment. Alicia Hernandez, who is the upcoming WASA director, told the Range News that anyone interested in volunteering with WASA is invited to teach summertime classes for WASA. Also, monetary donations to assist in programming is appreciated.
“If you have a hobby like sewing, crocheting or collecting anything. If you have any knowledge or history of the town or anything like that, and you want to share your information, we have different classes throughout the whole summer starting in June all the way until school starts,” said Hernandez. “We can get some kids together and share your knowledge.”
WASA also keeps drug testing kits, Naloxone, and prescription drug disposal bags available to the public at the WASA office. Individuals interested in donating money may do so by mailing a check to P.O. Box 741 in Willcox, or dropping the donation off at the WASA office at the Willcox high school.
VOLUNTEERS FOR BIRDING
The Wings Over Willcox (WOW) Birding and Nature Festival has officially been enveloped in the Willcox Nature Association 501 C3. The Willcox Nature Association nonprofit is a newly created entity and is moving forward to encompass local birding and wildlife area restoration as well as recreation. The upcoming WOW festival is on January 17-19, 2020, and will be the 27th annual Wings over Willcox event. One of the main changes to the festival is that this year the Willcox Nature Association is running the festival. Several of the needs of the Willcox Nature Association is monetary donations as well as the work of local volunteers. Homer Hansen, who is one of the leaders of the Wings Over Willcox planning committee explained that there is much work to be done before January.
“We have a lot of needs since we’re building up from ground zero. It’s a brand new nonprofit, money is always beneficial. There’s a lot of resources that we need to actually acquire. A lot of it goes into physical equipment, laptops, projectors, supplies for our field trips. The website, for example, hasn’t been updated in 5 years, and there’s a lot of things that need to happen with that and of course,” said Hansen. “We need a lot of people just helping out at the venue at the community center with just helping with registration. A lot of people come to town and they don’t know where to go. Simple things behind the registration desk, handling lunches, there’s a lot of space for volunteers to come and help out.”
A donation page WingsOverWillcox.com/donate is available for those interested in donating. Also, money may be mailed to the Willcox Nature Association by check to PO Box 1097. Individuals interested in volunteering may contact the association by calling 520-384-2874.
KEEP LOCAL HISTORY ALIVE
An organization run by volunteers and kept in operation by local donations, the Chiricahua Regional Museum Research Center has accomplished 20 years of operation. Kathy Klump told the Range News that there are several new displays of local history being added to the museum, including a safe and decor from the historical saloon. According to Klump, monetary donations assist the museum in preservation due to the fact that the museum has three buildings that it has to maintain. Anyone interested in supporting the museum may purchase a membership as well as volunteer and donate money at any time.
“We have many new displays that if you haven’t been in within the past 6 months, we have new things to show,” said Klump. “You don’t have to do anything (when buying a membership) but you know that you’re helping support us to collect and preserve the artifacts and the archives. It takes a lot of money to create the display, to have the cases and things to protect what we do have. So you know that you’re money is going to promote our mission which is to collect, preserve, and display to make available to the people. We have meetings, sometimes we have field trips where you can go see the town of Portal or visit a historic site.”
Available to the public in the museums and research centers are newspapers dating back to 1894, over 8,000 photographs, as well as a vast library of books on local history. The museum relies on memberships, donations, and the work of local volunteers. Volunteers are needed on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. To donate to the historical society a check may be sent to 127 East Maley Street, or individuals may drop off donations to the museums in operating hours. Museum memberships come in a variety of packages including lifelong memberships, junior memberships for children, and business memberships.