On the north end of Orlando, Florida, sits a nicely painted warehouse. You might notice consistent traffic in and out of the drive, but nothing that signals that behind the doors of One Heart for Women and Children you’ll find monumental work being done for families in transition, and a litany of ways you can give back.
One Heart for Women and Children opened in 2007, helping 12 women in their first month. By spring of 2020, the mostly volunteer organization had grown to support 3,000 people a month. More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, their numbers continue to grow.
“We’re helping 20,000 people a month,” said founder Stephanie Bowman.
That’s more than five times the number One Heart served before the pandemic. Like other organizations across the country, the mostly volunteer organization had to grow with the needs. There’s no age too young or too old to help.
“We’ve got some great creative ways that anybody, no matter what the age, can volunteer,” Bowman said. “We have 3-year-olds to 98-year-olds volunteering with us in different ways, and I would say it’s not all about money.”
Bowman’s 5 Ways to Give Back
1. One at a Time
“Go into your own home and grab six items that you can donate to a nonprofit,” Bowman said. It can be a can of non-perishable food, clean linens, books you’ve already finished, a pair of shoes, a pair of socks or even a single dollar. “You can find six items that you don’t use anymore and then that’s six items straight out of your house,” she said.
The next time your grocery store offers a buy one, get one deal, keep one item for yourself and donate the second to a community food pantry.
3. In Person
Bowman said most people avoid volunteering because they think they don’t have huge blocks of time to spare. She said, in actuality, just one hour a week can make a huge impact. “(Some volunteers) dedicate one hour a week where they’re helping unload a food truck. It’s one hour before work, after work, whatever that might be. It’s one hour that we really need,” she said.
Help spread the word about your favorite nonprofit. Share their posts about any specific needs on your social media channels or invite friends and family to donate as your birthday fundraiser.
5. Share Your Talents
Local charities need help outside of their day-to-day tasks as well. Are you skilled in marketing, graphic design, organization, office or clerical work, painting, public speaking or grant writing? Let your favorite charity know.
And if you’re not sure where to give, Bowman has advice for that as well.
“If you want to give up your time and you don’t know where, start just journaling, writing down what some of those things are,” Bowman said. “Is it working with children? Is it working with seniors? Is it advocating for animals?”
She said once you have your list, do some online research and you’ll quickly find your perfect nonprofit match.
“From giving blankets to an animal shelter, to reading to the elderly, to helping pack community food bags or delivering food to a family, there’s always something,” she said.