by Dorothy Puch Lillig

Only a few days left to shop for Christmas gifts, and only a few more days after that to make a tax-deductible donation to charity before the end of the year. Why not take care of both at once by supporting a nonprofit in the Spring Branch District?

Here are a few ways to give:

Newspring

Newspring is a faith-based nonprofit dedicated to making positive social and economic impact in the Spring Branch area. Newspring Visual Arts programs support academic achievement and career opportunities for high school and college students from Spring Branch, and Newspring’s Business Plan Competition supports social entrepreneurship and economic development in the Spring Branch area.

Need a holiday gift for someone special? Student and local artists have created beautiful desktop butterflies for sale, with proceeds going to the Newspring Visual Arts Program, which provides art instruction with STEM curriculum at the main studio and seven satellite locations.

At $250, the butterflies are a gift for someone extra special. Need a smaller gift that is still unique and supports local artists? Check out Newspring’s notecards featuring the works of art from students and alumni. At $10 for 10 cards, they are an inexpensive gift and a beautiful way to send a holiday greeting or mark any special occasion all year long.

Check out the Newspring cards and butterflies here: https://newspringcenter.org/newspring-shop/

Another way to — literally — display your support for local student artists is to purchase artwork from Newspring’s Define The Future Art Sale. Define the Future helps provide an outlet for Newspring artists to sell their art and to receive 100 percent of the proceeds. The annual sale supports Newspring’s mission to create economic opportunities for students and residents of Spring Branch.

Artwork that was not sold at the sale is now featured online at a lower price. If you are interested in purchasing any of the artwork, contact Newspring directly. To view the art, visit: https://newspringcenter.org/define-the-future-art-sale/

Don’t need a physical gift? Dedicate a donation to Newspring to someone special:

https://newspringcenter.org/donations/newspring-center-donation/

Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM)

During the 1980s, a sudden local economic downturn resulted in the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in the Houston area. At that time, houses of worship were faced with unprecedented requests for food, rent, utility assistance and clothing. The congregations decided to pool their resources and create centralized service centers and, in 1983, Memorial Assistance Ministries opened its doors.

In addition to a resale shop open to the public located at 1625 Blalock Road, MAM offers a variety of services to area families in need.

The annual MAM Christmas Share Program spreads the joy of the holidays by providing toys, gift cards, and warm blankets to hundreds of children in the area. This year MAM hopes to serve 650 children.

You can still donate new toys and blankets or gather toys from friends and family to be used in toy bags. While the Christmas Share donation deadline is Wednesday, Dec. 12, it’s still possible to deliver gifts or monetary donations to: Memorial Assistance Ministries, Attn: Christmas Share, 1625 Blalock Road, Houston, Texas 77080.

Not sure what to buy? Shop from their Amazon wish list and have gifts delivered directly to MAM: http://tiny.cc/mamchristmas

Or, you can make an online donation right now: https://maministries.ejoinme.org/MyPages/ChristmasShare/tabid/485805/Default.aspx

If you miss the Christmas Share deadline, the MAM Home Care Cupboard is ongoing. These are items typically not covered by nutrition assistance programs. (See image for items needed.)

To donate, drop off items at the MAM Services desk or at the Resale Donation door.  Please prominently mark your bag/box with “MAM Cupboard.”

MAM Resale has daily arrivals of clothing, furniture, electronics, home goods, toys, books jewelry and more. A gift certificate is a great gift for the bargain hunter in your life. Drop off your donation and pick up a gift certificate to maximize your support!

To contact MAM, call 713-491-4330 or e-mail donations@maministries.org or visit https://www.maministries.org/donate.

Urban Outreach

Urban Outreach, Inc., invests in the growth and development of at-risk youth and their families by providing quality after-school and summer enrichment programs in a Christian environment.

Through its Apartment Ministry, Urban Outreach operates after-school Kids Clubs in 22 apartment communities across the Greater Houston area.

Kids Clubs leaders incorporate fun crafts and activities, and they are always in need of supplies. To view the list, visit http://urbanoutreachinc.org/supplies-needed/

Donate money and supplies at 1425 Blalock, Ste. 201 Houston, TX 77055 or online at http://urbanoutreachinc.org/donating/

Spring Branch Family Development Center

Serving more than 12,000 Houstonians each year, the Spring Branch Family Development Center (SBFDC) exists to enhance the well-being and development of the families of Spring Branch through a multi-agency collaboration that provides educational, recreational, health and social services in English and Spanish.

Read about their 2018 Health Fair, which reached thousands in our community: https://sbmd.org/spring-branch-health-fair-reaches-thousands/

By making a gift to SBFDC, you enable families to access resources that change lives. You can easily give a tribute gift in the name of someone special this holiday season: https://sbfdc.org/donate/

Spring Branch Education Foundation

The Spring Branch Education Foundation is committed to supporting students and educators. They partner with Spring Branch ISD and the community to fund programs that enhance education and prepare students for the future.

SBEF raises funds only for SBISD. Last year, the Foundation donated more than $1 million to the district, reaching students on every campus through grants and scholarships.

You can give a gift to SBEF in honor or in memory of someone and/or you can designate it for a specific purpose here: https://sbef.ejoinme.org/mosb.