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Gifts That Give Twice

by Debbie Atwood

According to the National Retail Federation, American consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the holiday shopping season.

Between now and Christmas Day, Americans will spend an incredible amount of money on gifts for loved ones. While each year we remind ourselves and each other of the true meaning of the season, it’s easy to slip into shopping mode as the pace picks up and the big day

Consider supporting Maine’s incredible nonprofits by purchasing gifts that will delight your family and friends AND help your favorite nonprofit thrive.

Memberships: There are an awful lot of choices and here are just a few suggestions…Portland Trails, Friends of the Maine State MuseumBicycle Coalition of Maine, and the Island Institute all offer great member benefits that will keep giving year round.

Food and Agriculture: As we plan our holiday gatherings, we can remember that some of our fellow Mainers are hungry. These organizations help all Mainers have access to the nutrition they need. Mid Coast Hunger Prevention ProgramWayside Food Programs, Winthrop Food Pantry, and Good-Shepherd Food Bank are some of the groups in Maine working to end food insecurity.

Puppies! Kittens!: Cute baby animals (and the cute old ones, too) are always a hit. And by supporting these organizations, it comes without the hassle of emptying litter boxes or dealing with chewed shoes. Check out Peace Ridge SanctuaryAnimal Welfare SocietyCoastal Humane SocietyMaine Equine Welfare Alliance, or Silent Sidekicks to give a gift that the animal lover in your life would appreciate. (Warning: If you go to the animal adoption pages, we cannot be held responsible for your actions!) York Center for Wildlife has a very cool Medical Clinic Apprenticeship program to continue your work with rehabilitating wild animals.

The Great Outdoors: Conservation of our natural resources is something that all Mainers value and there are so many great organizations protecting and enhancing our environment. There’s the Maine Coast Heritage Trust  (which manages more than 100 preserves along the coast), Coastal Maine Botanical GardensFriends of Casco BayMaine Huts and TrailsThe Nature Conservancy – that’s just a few!

Something that can go in a box or a bag: Many nonprofits, like your local museum, historical society or nature center, have a gift store right on site. You can find a unique present, avoid the mall mayhem AND support a nonprofit all at the same time.

Wish lists: If you don’t see anything above that seems exactly right, search our member directory and you’re sure to find just the right fit. You can search by geographic region or by mission (or both!). Most organizations will have an easy way to donate or even a wish list of needed supplies.

So while you are making your list and checking it twice, don’t forget about all the extraordinary organizations that make Maine such a unique place. Your gift might not fit in a tidy box or bag, but it will continue giving throughout the year.

Did we miss a great organization or idea? Please comment.


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