Giving Back: GlobalGiving for Puerto Rico

The devastation across our country from natural disasters has been unimaginable. Right now, we at Inkblot are particularly concerned for our 3.4 million US brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, where the destruction is nearly absolute. They are without food, potable water, power, or the ability to communicate with the rest of the world.

Fortunately there are organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico ready to help. One of those is GlobalGiving, which connects donors with local nonprofits to provide relief. They have a nearly perfect score on Charity Navigator and a vetted fund for Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hurricane Relief, meaning all donations to this fund exclusively support relief and recovery efforts.

by NOAASatellites via Flickr

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we usually donate to a local organization, but this quarter, we haven’t been able to get the devastation in Puerto Rico out of our heads. Thus, we are donating to GlobalGiving. They do such important work, and we’re honored to be able to help their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give, consider GlobalGiving or the many other worthy organizations helping with disaster relief across the United States.

Giving Back: Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Around 3 pm, I usually eat a snack because when I get hungry, I get cranky. Imagine how hard concentrating would be if I hadn’t had a square meal in a while and no chance for one in the foreseeable future? That’s where Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a food pantry here in Bloomington, steps in for people of all ages. They “envision a community where everyone has equal access to nutritious food, waste is minimized, and all members are healthy, self-sufficient, and empowered to reach their full potential.”

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard believes that access to healthy food is a basic human right. In addition to housing a food pantry, they also offer two community gardens, nutrition education programs, and recipes. They constantly work to address the root causes of hunger and poverty in our community, including lunches where people can learn about building food self-reliance, registering to vote, and doubling SNAP benefits at our local farmer’s market. You can even rent gardening tools from them!

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we donate to a local organization, and this past quarter, we have chosen to thank Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give, consider Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard or the many other worthy organizations in your community.

Giving Back: Shalom Community Center

About two years ago, I met a man in Bloomington experiencing homelessness. He had moved here to take care of a sick relative and had fallen on hard times. He spoke to a group of us about the struggles he faces that many folks don’t even think about. For instance, when trying to get a job, he has to list an address. At many places, shelter addresses—all he has to list—are blacklisted, and people are turned away before they are even allowed to interview. Similarly, it is hard to receive mail if you don’t have a permanent address. Fortunately, we have a place here in town that not only provides shelter and food for folks like this man but also advocates on his behalf. 

Since 2000, Shalom Community Center has been an amazing resource for people in Bloomington, Indiana, who are experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty. As a low-barrier shelter, they ensure that “hospitality, dignity, empowerment, and hope define all that we do.”

According to Shalom, the organization

provides hunger relief, day and overnight shelter, housing, social services, financial support, life essentials (like laundry, showers, and mail), and other related health and human services to hundreds of people each day and thousands of people each year. Ninety-six percent of our guests have incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI), which is considered extreme poverty. Sixty percent of our guests are women and children. Eleven percent are veterans.

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we donate to a local organization, and this past quarter, we have chosen to thank Shalom Community Center. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give, consider Shalom Community Center or the many other worthy organizations in your community.

Giving Back: Middle Way House

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence,

  • Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • Women between the ages of 18–24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

These statistics are sobering.

In such a violent world, Bloomington is grateful to have Middle Way House, whose mission is to “end violence, both structural and interpersonal, in the lives of women and children.” This amazing organization provides a 24-hour crisis line, an emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, prevention education, and more to women and children who have had to endure domestic violence and sexual assault. In 2013, they provided emergency shelter to 246 women and children, 87% of whom were able to leave their abuser. That same year, they provided transitional housing to 50 women and over 100 children, 87% of whom now maintain permanent housing. Beyond the hands-on work of helping victims, they collaborate with other organizations and with local government to make real cultural change.

Middle Way HouseAs they write,

We at Middle Way House believe that acts of domestic violence and sexual assault, and our society’s tolerance of them, are expressions of deeply rooted sexism in our culture. Consequently, Middle Way House cannot hope to end violence against women without doing the hard work of changing the culture, addressing gaps in legislation and enforcement pertinent to crimes of violence against women, and demanding equity in our social and economic arrangements.

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we donate to a local organization, and this quarter, we have chosen to thank Middle Way House. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give, consider Middle Way House or the many other worthy organizations in your community.

Giving Back: My Sister’s Closet

My Sister's Closet
My Sister’s Closet

For many women in need, it is difficult to get the life skills and the wardrobe necessary to snag the desired job. Enter: My Sister’s Closet. This nonprofit, volunteer-run organization has been helping low-income and at-risk women with Success Institute training and workforce attire since 1998. In fact, the Success Institute trainings, which are free, help both men and women hone their interview skills, learn how to network, and master résumé writing.

My Sister’s Closet also has a storefront at 414 S. College Avenue in Bloomington, Indiana, that sells donated, gently used clothes. It is open to the public, and the proceeds from these sales go to support the wider organization.

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we donate to a local organization, and this quarter, we have chosen to give back to My Sister’s Closet. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give, consider My Sister’s Closet or the many other worthy organizations in your community.

Giving Back: Monroe County CASA

IMG_8644The holiday season is seen as a time of joy and hope—one where families grow tighter and appreciate the time spent together. Unfortunately, many children do not have this support or consistency. Instead, they are in foster care because their home is unsafe due to abuse or neglect. These children have not only been through trauma, but they are also forced into completely new situations because their families are unable or unwilling to take care of them.

In this chaos, one bedrock is Monroe County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a volunteer-powered program that provides these children representation in juvenile court. Per their website, CASA

recruits, screens, trains, and supervises adult community members who volunteer their time to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), with full legal authority set forth by the State of Indiana.

CASAs provide advocacy to child victims to ensure that they remain at the forefront of the court proceedings and find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.

When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Now that we’re closing out our first year, we’re finally able to do just that. This year we have chosen to give back to CASA. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.

If you find yourself in the position to give this holiday season, consider CASA or the many other worthy organizations in your community.