Somerville Local First

sponsor: SLF FB

Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving: A Holiday Donation Guide

Dec 05 11:21 am

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By Kathleen Hornby

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11. Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit


I don’t know what it is about the holidays this year, but the idea of buying dozens of gifts makes me feel a little queasy. Maybe it’s a side effect of Occupy Boston, or shoppers using pepper spray on Black Friday (seriously?). All I know is, I’m out.

Unfortunately, that makes even the great Shift Your Shopping campaign a quandary. There must be a happy medium between Buy Nothing and Buy Local.

Turns out, there is: make a donation to a local nonprofit in your loved one’s name and everybody wins.  You’ll look good, your family and friends will be happy, and you won’t have to wrap a thing.

Keeping it local is easy – Somerville is chock full of do-gooders, and Somerville Local First has a list of nonprofit members to get you started. Here are a few of my personal favorites:


  • RESPOND, Inc. This is a good one for the ladies (and enlightened gentlemen) on your list. RESPOND is New England’s first domestic violence agency and the second oldest in the nation. It was also just named Nonprofit of the Year by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce.

More importantly, RESPOND provides emergency shelter and community services to domestic violence victims and survivors of all ages, genders, races and religions. The online donation form makes it easy to give a gift of any amount in honor of anyone you choose.


  • Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC). Also known as the people who brought you the Somerville 5k Road Race. SHC does it all: food pantries, emergency shelter, case management and affordable housing.

Like RESPOND, SHC has a handy dandy online donation form that lets you decide how much to give, and on whose behalf. Plus, if you’re engaged, you can register with SHC instead of Williams-Sonoma.


  • Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). This is for the environmentalist in your life. Full disclosure: I’m a kayaker. Rivers are my playgrounds. That being said, it’s hard not to be concerned about threats like sewage contamination and localized flooding – especially if you’re among the half million residents in the watershed’s 22 communities.

In addition to supporting MyRWA’s work, a donation of at least $16 will get you a spiral-bound 2012 Mystic River calendar if you add “calendar” to the notes section of the online donation form. Keep it for yourself, or give it to the donation’s honoree.

A Word from SLF: We here at SLF appreciate all the great work our nonprofit members contribute to the community. But as a nonprofit organization ourselves, we can’t do our work to support their efforts without your support. We hope you’ll consider us when planning your holiday donations this year. Or for the locavore on your gift list, pay for their SLF community membership, with varying levels of support and perks!

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