Getting and giving assistance this winter.

Winter in Portland brings short days, long nights, holiday celebrations, extra expenses, and So. Much. Rain. Here are some ways to take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors near and far.

Keep warm. Find out the latest information on cold weather shelters all over the Portland Metro area. If you need help paying your heating or electricity bills, check out this list of agencies currently offering energy assistance, maintained and updated by 211 Info, a nonprofit organization that connects people with resources.

Get holiday meals, food boxes, toys, and other support around the holidays. Holiday Assistance Programs from 211 Info can direct you to resources all over the Portland Metro area.

Help out your community. Many local organizations are in need of supplies, food and gifts this season. Bring blankets, socks and other cold weather essentials to one or more of these winter donation locations from 211 Info; Hands On Greater Portland has a holiday guide that includes a list of local organizations in immediate need of food, toys, warm clothes, housewares, and other in-kind donations.

The holidays are an excellent time to teach your children about giving back.  PBS Parents has some great tips for teaching your kids about charity. Hands On Greater Portland can connect you with local volunteer projects that are perfect for families with kids of all ages (or grownups of all ages).

Donate money. There is no shortage of organizations that could put your charity to good use, so how do you choose where to give? If you’re looking to give locally, Willamette Week puts together an annual Give Guide featuring more than a hundred Portland nonprofits. Consumer Reports has some tips for making sure your donation counts. Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance rate charities based on spending, transparency, and more.

If you have questions, ask a librarian and we will be happy to help!

Do you have other resources to suggest? Share them in the comments!

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